If one peeks at the lore, we discover that the superhero Blue Beetle was personified by three different characters; the first was back in 1939. All three characters qualified as meta-human due to the ancient, alien technology as the root cause. The personification most recognized, of course, is the most modern version, but I knew the Silver Age persona in my youthful days of reading comic books in the ‘60s. My enjoyment of those pages was long past when the Jamie Reyes character came around in 2006. But that version of the character is what makes it a Warner Bros. movie today.
BLUE BEETLE is a 2023 superhero film based on the DC character. The film was directed by Ángel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) and written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer and stars Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle. It saw its U. S. theatrical release on August 18 of this year by Warner Bros. Pictures. Truth be told though – the picture was considered a box office bomb. It had a $129 million worldwide gross against a production budget of $104 million and became the lowest-grossing film in the DCEU. But enough critics liked the intent meant here. Vanity Fair stated, “Blue Beetle is both scrappy and tailored, poignant and breezily amusing. Pitched from a new angle and guided by talented hands, Blue Beetle is a rarity in these superhero end-times: a genuine pleasure to watch, reviving tired old formula with brio.” Empire Magazine still favored it but tempered its review this way, “in broad story-and-action terms, there really isn’t much here that feels fresh… But Blue Beetle makes one smart decision that saves its shiny cerulean ass: it brings Jaime’s family along for the ride.” Not all were for it, like Globe & Mail wrote, “Blue Beetle attempts to weave culturally specific histories of marginalization and resistance into a narrative about family legacies. But these bits come off as a weak copy of what came before, minus any emotional investment. “
The beauty of it all is that HBO/Max viewers can decide for themselves whether the light-heated angle is the right tone to take for a different sort of superhero movie or whether it is cool or not that a Latino gets his own DC hero. If Marvel can have the Morales version of Spiderman, then DC can have a Latino superhero too, right? In the 127-minute flick, Recent college grad Jaime Reyes returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not quite as he left it. As he searches to find his purpose in the world, fate intervenes when Jaime unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab. When the Scarab suddenly chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he is bestowed with an incredible suit of armor capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the Superhero BLUE BEETLE.
Okay, so that trailer clearly locks into a certain light humorous tone. Does every superhero movie have to be brooding and dark, or for the adult male, for that matter? Does every villain, Susan Sarandon in this case, have to be out to crush the world? She simply wants the Scarab techno-gadgetry for herself, I mean, what’s not to like about a sentient exoskeleton, I guess? So, the picture tries to pack in the ‘familia’ with George Lopez and all. Okay, it is what it is, so gather the kids, they just might like it. As for me, I gave up on superheroes decades ago.
Oh, one last cool thing if you are loving this take of a newer DC hero, you can find it debuting SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18 @ 8:00 pm on HBO. Other play dates include – Sun, Nov 19 @ 6:45 pm EST
On HBO; Sun, Nov 19 @ 6:45 pm EST on HBO LATINO; Fri, Nov 24 @ 2:45 am EST on HBO LATINO; Fri, Nov 24 @ 2:47 am EST on HBO; Fri, Dec 01 @ 12:06 am EST on HBO 2 & Wed, Dec 06 @ 5:50 pm EST on HBO 2. Plus, you can steam it at your convenience on Max now.
Can the Scarab manipulate you to enjoy BLUE BEETLE?