‘Blue Beetle’ Is a Win for Latinx Heritage: A Southern Utah Review
‘Blue Beetle’ dropped at the movie theatres this weekend and even kicked ‘Barbie’ off the top spot after a month’s reign at number one.
According to CNN, ‘Blue Beetle’ closed its first weekend with $25.4 million at the box office, and ‘Barbie’ had $21.5 million (only this last weekend, not total). An incredible running for the ‘Barbie’ movie and if you haven’t watched it, here’s a previous article to convince you to go.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead
‘Blue Beetle’ Story
If you’re a fan of Marvel’s Spiderman, then the storylines will seem fairly similar but not repetitive. Jaime [Hi-Meh] Reyes just graduated with a pre-law degree and is the first in his family to do so. He goes home to Palmera City where his mother, father, uncle (George Lopez), sister, and abuela live. While out for lunch, Jaime learns his father’s auto shop went out of business and that his family house is in jeopardy with rent costs rising.
Due to Jaime being fresh out of undergraduate school and having no experience, he is forced to work at a hotel owned by Kord Industries with his sister. It doesn’t end well for the hotel job, but he ends up meeting Jenny Kord who asks him for a huge favor.
Not quite taking Jenny seriously, Jaime ends up with the scarab that Kord Industries is using to create O.M.A.Cs which are basically one-man armies. Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) is the Executive of Kord Industries and Jenny’s aunt by marriage, but they have very different visions for the company's future.
Jaime and his family must fight for their right to live and battle against Victoria Kord who wants to take the scarab from Jaime who is now ‘Blue Beetle’ the hero of Palmera City.
‘Blue Beetle’ has several themes, but my personal favorite is how ‘conquerors” try to “fix” cultures that they either don’t understand or don’t agree with, maybe both. Victoria Kord has a main assistant, Conrad Carapax (Raoul Trujillo) who was taken from his home as a child and used by Victoria for Kord Industries experiments.
Victoria repeatedly tells Conrad “I can fix this. I can fix you” when he struggles to adapt to his body parts being replaced by technology. This theme very much speaks to the “White Savior Complex” that’s not only very real in history but a problem in today’s society.
DC Comics has always done well addressing these more serious topics in a tasteful way that feels relevant to the story. ‘Blue Beetle’ doesn’t shy away from racial topics and the difficulties faced by Latinx people in the workforce. Jaime’s easiest job to get, despite having a degree, is a cleaner at a hotel. His father's auto shop goes out of business and due to not having a green card, can’t find other work.
One of the best parts of this movie is when Uncle Rudy tells Jaime that everyone thinks that crossing the border is difficult but it's actually not having your family all in one place that’s the challenge.
Other themes include overcoming loss, discovering your purpose, and the discrepancies between the poor, middle class, and upper class.
Whether you have Latinx origins or not this movie is very much an underdog wins story, and that’s just a classic storyline everyone loves.
‘Blue Beetle’ Easter Egg Moments
There is TOTALLY an ‘E.T’ reference and my inner movie nerd screamed during this scene. Admittedly, I was crying my eyes out right before because it was one of the movie's most powerful moments. The moments you’ll cry are for the sad and emotional scenes so bring tissues.
During one of the Ariel Views of Palmera City, you can see a LexCorps building a.k.a a building owned by Lex Luthor, a villain in the Batman universe. I’m hoping we’ll see a Blue Beetle and Justice League mashup at some point in the next few years...
Other Cool ‘Blue Beetle’ Facts
I’m mixed with Caucasian/Mexican heritage and seeing a Latinx superhero was pretty magical. This is the FIRST live-action representation of a Latinx main character superhero. I’ve waited 24 years to see this day and it did not disappoint. It also doesn’t play into stereotypes like being dumb (Jaime has no game though), criminal, or just “bad” because of his culture and ethnicity.
In fact, Jaime Reyes might just be one of the sweetest DC characters there is, and he’s been around for quite a long time. The first appearance of ‘Blue Beetle” is in 1939 so DC Comics has been giving equal representation for YEARS. We love to see it.
This is Xolo Mariduena's first film and he absolutely KILLS it. You may recognize him from shows like 'Kobra Kai' and 'Parenthood'.
Overall ‘Blue Beetle’ Rating
This movie was very much an introduction and despite it being over two hours, I was hooked and never felt that the storyline was slow. Each Reyes family member, Jenny and Victoria Kord, and even Conrad Carapax had so, so much depth to them. It was refreshing to see them as individuals, especially Nana Reyes and Uncle Rudy who are FULL of surprises (in the best way).
There was a good amount of humor and the switch between Spanish and English was fantastic! I am bilingual but it was easy enough that anyone can appreciate the cultural accuracy of switching between languages.
Though there were predictable parts, it was almost comforting because unlike Marvel’s (in my opinion, overused) “new” storylines these made sense. There was no grasping for connection or humor, it just fit. My biggest complaint is that I would have liked to see more connection or inner dialogue between the scarab (Khaji-Da) and Jaime. I think this would add to the big win moments and add more depth to future movies.
A solid 8/10 for a movie and definitely worth watching. Plus, if you’re a Becky-G fan, she is also in ‘Blue Beetle’ and that was very interesting in a good way. You’ll have to see for yourself.
Let me know what you think and message me on my FB.