Blue Beetle, review: DC launches a new superhero in its universe

    Blue Beetle – Xolo Maridueña

Jaime Reyes and the Beetle

Fresh out of college, young Jaime Reyes ( Xolo Maridueña ) returns to his hometown, Palmera City, where he has to deal with the problems that befell his family while he was at the University: his father Alberto ( Damián Alcázar ) he has had a heart attack and work goes badly, plus they are in danger of losing their home to the wealthy and powerful Victoria Kord ( Susan Sarandon ). Things seem even worse when his body is chosen as the symbiotic host of the Scarab, an ancient biotechnological artifact of alien origin that transforms him into a superhero equipped with a very robust exoskeletal armor. When this ends up putting his family in danger, Jaime will have to quickly get used to his new superpowers to protect them.

From DC, a new superhero

After riding the wave of superheroes far and wide, DC  expands its Universe by launching a new character: Blue Beetle. If an initial skepticism is perhaps legitimate - the box office flops of the latest films, including The Flash, are a clear symptom of tiredness - this reticence can be overcome as you become more familiar with the character. We are far from the fascination exerted by the first Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman, however, this blue beetle has its own story to tell. The task falls to the young Xolo Maridueña (fresh from the success of Kobra Kai): the face of a good boy, scholar, and son of immigrants. The comparison with a young Peter Parker is easy, although the latter's life is made more difficult by humble origins, by a far from comfortable standard of living, and even by an imminent eviction.

A tribute to Latin culture

    Blue Beetle – Belissa Escobedo, Elpidia Carrillo, Bruna Marquezine, Elpidia Carrillo, Adriana                Barraza and George Lopez

But it is precisely by leveraging these objective difficulties that the great humanity of the character emerges. Jaime Reyes wants to honor his family (in which he is the first ever to have graduated) and does not hide a deep attachment to his roots. The bond with the family is a strong point of his but it is also for the whole story. The boy's love for his loved ones lends humanity to the screenplay, gives depth to the characters, and above all pays homage to that Latin culture in which it is normal to have respect for grandparents and be ready to personally help the community in which one lives. In addition to a deeply emotional base and an inevitable irony, Blue Beetle does not lack remarkable special effects and fights to the death with the nemesis of the moment.

The Villain, Susan Sarandon

    Blue Beetle – Harvey Guillen and Susan Sarandon

Compared to the comic created by Keith Giffen and John Rogers (with drawings by Cully Hamner ), the character of Victoria Kord has been included in the film, who has the face of Susan Sarandon. Unscrupulous and incapable of any affection, this villain finds his counterpart in the young and idealistic niece Jenny, played by the charming Bruna Marquezine. It's easy to understand how in the folds of the screenplay there is also room for love, in a story that has its true richness precisely in sentiment and moral values. For the rest, the plot is not surprising that much but overall it is fluid and enjoyable. Beware of the classic scene after the credits, in which a surprise is announced that leaves room for a possible sequel.

Blue Beetle. Directed by Angel Manuel Soto with Xolo Maridueña, Bruna Marquezine, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Guillen, Adriana Barraza, Elpidia Carrillo, Damián Alcázar, Raoul Trujillo, Melissa Escobedo, George Lopez, and Harvey Guillen, distributed by Warner Bros. starting August 17, 2023.

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