Lauren Wong | The Poly Post

DC Comics breaks barriers by embracing “la cultura” with the first Latino superhero

By Marline Esquivel

Latinos have always exuded superhero qualities, such as courage, determination and perseverance, yet there has not been proper representation on the big screen. “The Blue Beetle” changes that for the younger Latino generations and provides a superhero who looks like them, giving them much needed acceptance.     

The movie begins with Jaime Reyes, played by American actor Ramario Xolo Ramirez, known as Xolo Maridueña, graduating from Gotham Law University, happily returning to his hometown of Palmera City, Florida, ready to take on the world. But his family faces financial hardship after his father had a heart attack, so Jaime must take on a cleaning job his sister Milagro, played by Belissa Escobedo, gets him at Victoria Kord’s mansion played by Susan Saradon. 

Subsequent to Victoria firing Jaime and his sister, Jenny offers Jaime an interview to work at “Kord Industries.” As Jaime is waiting for his job interview, he sees Jenny and approaches her. Jenny appears to be escaping from someone and asks Jaime for a big favor. Jenny asks Jaime to “guard” a container for her and instructs him not to open the container. 

Once home, Jaime’s family echoed to him “open it, open it,” so he reluctantly opens the box. Inside was a beetle-shaped ancient relic of alien biotechnology called the Scarab. The Scarab awakens and embeds itself onto Jaime, thus, making him the chosen Blue Beetle. 

Puerto Rican-born filmmaker Ángel Manuel Soto showed how great casting can elevate a movie. Each character added to the storyline, had their own moment to shine. The cast were relatable, thus making it easy to fall in love with them as a family.  

Maridueña exuded superhero qualities such as honesty, empathy and courage to win over audiences. Seeing the Blue Beetle with his suit was also magical. The blue and black metallic, iridescent colors made it resemble an actual beetle yet elevated in design. 

Supporting cast member Mexican actor and politician Damián Alcázar plays Roberto Reyes, Jaime’s father. His portrayal of a Latino father, soft in tone but strong in his conviction, was extraordinary. His Spanish flowed and immersed you in the film, making you feel as if you were part of the family.  

The cast blended well as a family and gave off the impression they really were related and put in these situations together as a family. 

“The Blue Beetle” movie leans heavily on family-friendly versus comic book action-adventure.  Soto captured the importance of “la familia” in the Latino culture. The overall theme in the movie was: We will fight and win as a family. No one messes with “la familia” attitude. 

Alcázar helped add to this by guiding his son throughout the movie with encouraging words, such as, “¡ánimo! we can do this,.” and “Things don’t last. La familia, that’s forever. That lasts.” With the help of his family, Jaime was able to understand he was chosen to be The Blue Beetle and must rise to the occasion to help save the world and “la familia.” 

However, don’t watch with the expectation a blockbuster comic book action-adventure movie. The movie needed an edge factor, such as more explosions, cliffhanger moments and more bloodshed. The chase and fight scene needed a stronger build up and more impactful moments. The scenes were predictable. 

The final showdown was cut mid-fight when red-suited Kord henchman Conrad Carapax, played by actor Raoul Maximiano Trujillo, was able to recount his last memory of his mother’s death and his enslavement at the hands of Kord in the OMAC experiments. This causes him to end his fight with the Blue Beetle and leave the audience robbed of an epic battle scene. 

“The Blue Beetle” alludes to a Batman collab with Jaime graduating from Gotham Law University, which will capture audience attention, allowing for the Latino Superhero franchise to grow. 

Feature image by Lauren Wong

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