During the height of the “Superhero Fatigue”  Angel Manuel Soto’s new Blue Beetle film dares to break the tried and true formula set by it’s predecessors. Not by featuring a Mexican-American lead or highlighting a hero without an 80+ year legacy, this movie subverts typical troupes with it’s boldest move yet…including his supportive family in his origins. 

Jaime Reyes (Xolo Manidueña) getting roasted by his [R-L] Mother Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo) , Uncle Rudy (George Lopez), his sister Milagro (Mellissa Escobedo), and father (Damían Alcázar) 2023

The story begins with the return of Jaime Reyes to his home town after a four year stint at a university. Palmera City may be a fictional town created for the DC universe, but it still suffers from the systematic issues that plague our reality. The physical, financial, and personal sacrifices Jaime’s family endured to secure his future are immediately put on display. Generating a superhero complex for our young protagonist well before any universal tech is introduced. He has to save the family and deliver the long promised American Dream. Turns out syncing with an alien Scarab is easier.

After losing his job for protecting a rich and privileged heiress Jenny Kord. Jaime agrees to assist in the misappropriation of alien tech with his new crush from his potential employers top secret military office. Jenny may mean well, but her misguided attempts to do the right thing puts the Reyes in imminent danger. Sparking a chain of misfortune events that includes a violent HOUSE RAID and the death of the Reyes patriarch. Fortunately, for the remaining members of the family,  Jaime was chosen by the scarab as it’s new host on earth. In what arguably can be seen as one of the most traumatic superpower discoveries on screen. The Reyes helplessly watch the scarab aggressively take over Jaime’s nervous system.  Xolo Maridueña perfectly captures the fear and excitement of a young hero. Watching him stumble through the air while troubleshooting dangerous military tech made him equal parts dangerous and endearing. 

Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) looking cool fully suited as Blue Beetle 2023

Most superhero stories feature an orphan protagonist burdened with secrets ultimately finding a new family amongst their contemporaries. This won’t work for Jaime because there are no secrets in a Latin household.  Soto’s script unapologetically breaks these trends by centering Jaime’s culture and emphasizing the importance of community in the Latin space. Sneakily exhibiting micro-aggressions and racism with multiple interactions. The film paid homage to the source material by including Spanish in the dialogue. Going so far as to make Khaji Da use to the language to solidify their connection with Jaime. Each member of his family played an integral part in his origins. Communicating that his acceptance of his new role will not affect his standing in the family. An idea that was reinforced after the untimely death of his father in an heartbreaking speech delivered by his grandmother. A former refugee willing to shoot the fair to protect her family. Reminding the audience that for many people of color resting to grieve is a luxury. 

The Reyes family celebrating the life of their lost patriarch [R-L] Jaime Xolo Manidueña), Nana (Adriana Barraza), Milagro (Mellissa Escobedo), Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo) andRudy (George Lopez)2023

Blue Beetle was a love letter to fans of the comic and members of the Latin community. Combining the signature camp of the DC universe with grounded storytelling. Every member of the cast brought their A game while having fun with their characters. Flawlessly executing the dialogue in multiple languages with maximum personality. Making each character feel real. Give Angel Manuel Soto whatever he wants. If this installment serves as a preview for what the new DCU will look like under the guidance of James Gunn “Superhero Fatigue” may be a thing of the past.