The new trailer for DC’s Blue Beetle movie, starring Xolo Maridueña, has just been released. Oh. Oh my. This is GOOD.
Jaime Reyes is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner, the character made his first appearance in Infinite Crisis #3 (Feb. 2006).
Jaime Reyes is the third character to assume the mantle of Blue Beetle, but he is substantially different from his predecessors.
First introduced in 1939, the original Blue Beetle, Dan Garret, was a Fox Comics police officer who fought crime with exotic technology, and limited superhuman abilities gained by ingesting the mysterious Vitamin 2X. Like other heroes of the period, he would leave markers along with his captured prey featuring his trademarked scarab.
A revamped version of this character, archaeologist Dan Garrett, was introduced in 1964 by Charlton Comics drew and he drew upon mystical abilities from an ancient Egyptian scarab which gave him superhuman strength and durability.
Published by Charlton Comics and later DC, 1966 creation Ted Kord was Garret’s student who continued his legacy of costumed crime-fighting, although he had no superpowers. Ted Kord was a technological genius creating a variety of weapons and vehicles to offset the fact he was unable to utilize the scarab’s capabilities.
DC’s introduction of Jaime Reyes in 2006 retconned and expanded upon the Blue Beetle mythos. Revealed to be alien in origin, the scarab bonds with Reyes and provides him with a suit of extraterrestrial armor shortly after Kord’s death.
With the DC Entertainment Universe literally in flux, Warner Bros, has released the modern live-action version of Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes. In line with the origin story of the comic character, Reyes is a young Mexican-American, living in El Paso, Texas, who comes into contact with an alien artifact shaped as a mechanical scarab-like apparatus.
The trailer shows Reyes being used as a courier for the device after it appears to have been unceremoniously stolen by one of the scientists working on unlocking the technology. Reyes, who appeared to have been applying for a new job, is given the scarab, presumably because he is an unknown element and instructed not to open the burger box the device has been hastily hidden in.
As with all things superheroic, Jaime opens the box and he and his family are traumatized as the scarab and Jaime are bonded at the molecular and presumably genetic level. Needless to say, this is when the fun starts as Jaime begins to discover what the scarab is capable of and given its incredible abilities, we know the original holders of the artifact come looking for it. Another nice homage to the comics, the person seeking the device is the sister of famed scientist, Ted Kord. We don’t know if Ted will exist, but Victoria Kord, played by Susan Sarandon, is listed as one of the film’s villains.
There will be chasing. Shooting. Extreme uses of superhuman capacity like slicing a bus in half, and of course, the secret threat of:
“weaponization of an alien technology” and “the sanctioning of everyone who knows about it” as well as the potential of “alien invasion” which is everyone’s favorite.
I suspect it will be some variation of all three since we have seen some aspects of this story already from the animated series, Young Justice, which features Jaime Reyes, his problematically violence-prone scarab, and an alien invasion by the creators of these weapon platforms, called The Reach.
I doubt the writers will make the effort to tell the exact same story since they will be writing for a non-comic audience, but it is possible there will be some overlap because aliens trying to conquer the Earth is a staple of DC superhero stories.
Did I Like What I Saw?
Yes. Yes, I did. Including Jaime’s family into the story, literally into his origin is new and different and I hope they don’t die before the end of the film. There are enough orphans in the superheroic community. I don’t expect this film to cover any new ground from my perspective, but for the uninitiated, this brighter and more enthusiastic DC Universe is just what the doctor ordered.
Given the challenges facing the visual effects community regarding pay, respect and scheduling, I enjoyed what I have seen thus far and the slow-motion bus dissection scene was just what the doctor ordered: a wonderful subversion of the hero stopping the bus often shown in films. The Power Ranger sequence as he is learning just what his suit is capable of is a nice touch.
Blue Beetle stars Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes / Blue Beetle. Assumingly, there is another chestnut to previous versions of the character since one of the enemies in the movies is Carapax, the Indestructible Man, played by Raoul Trujillo. The cast also includes George Lopez, Adriana Barraza, Elpidia Carrillo, Damián Alcázar, Belissa Escobedo, Bruna Marquezine and Harvey Guillén.
Blue Beetle releases in theaters on August 18.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.