NUNN'S THEATER HABIT
Blue Beetle busts out at the box office
Sat. August 26, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
Blue Beetle is busting records at the box office after flying into theaters on August 18, 2023. While the character might not be as familiar as Spider-Man or Ant-Man, this bug brings much more diversity to the table than his insect competitors. There are some similarities to the franchises as they tend to focus on family, identity and death.
Cobra Kai's Xolo Maridueña plays Jaime Reyes the secret identity of the Blue Beetle, notably the first Latin superhero in a lead part for DC Films and Warner Bros. In the comic book universe, Jaime is the third person to take up the mantle of Blue Beetle. An archaeologist named Dan Garrett was the first one, after finding an Egyptian scarab, then more of a Batman type named Ted Kord followed him.
The film version uses some of that comic book backstory beginning with Victoria Kord, smartly played by Susan Sarandon, who finds the scarab and attempts to use it for evil. Reyes intercepts the item and it attaches to him which gives him unique powers.
This leads to many discoveries and adventures for the young hero. What is immediately refreshing is the writing by Mexican writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer that depicts Latin culture and the close-knit family. Puerto Rican director Angel Manuel Soto continues that perspective and the cast represents more countries such as Maridueña who is of Cuban, Mexican and Ecuadorian descent. This creates a melting pot of Menudo that people who have waited to see themselves and their culture displayed on the big screen in a big-budget superhero film.
There are many inside, culturally-significant jokes and subtle references that some won't catch at first. It is not heavy-handed but brings up important topics of gentrification and financial challenges.
Bring the family along to see this popcorn movie and you will surely have a good time with this novella thanks to a strong cast from top to bottom.
Maridueña was emotional after landing the role and proved that he is quickly growing into a multifaceted actor. Amores Perros actress Adriana Barraza as Nana shows age is just a number and Hocus Pocus 2's Melissa Escobedo gives dimension to her sister character Milagro Reyes.
George Lopez is the regalo that keeps on giving as Jaime's uncle Rudy Reyes. The comedian simply relishes the role and clearly has a ball being in a superhero flick.
Small but mighty parts in Blue Beetle are performed by What We Do in the Shadow's Harvey Guillen and the voice of Khaji-Da is supplied by popular singer Becky G.
Since it is the first film, Blue Beetle is much easier to follow and doesn't require a massive amount of homework like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. James Gunn plans to include BB in his future vision for the DC Universe, so jump on board now.
This Beetle has wings and should be flying around for a long time to come. Let's hang up our pink Barbie clothes for a bit and bring out the blue wardrobe to wear out at theaters around the world!