There were many elements about this movie that were appealing to me just from the trailer. I had never heard of Blue Beetle before, my comic book experience usually limited to Star Wars and the Wonder Woman comics when I was a teenager. But there was much to draw one’s attention in the promos — the amazing special effects, the colorful cast almost exclusively Latino, the humor and my lifelong love and obsession for anything claiming an Egyptian origin (the scarab). And the fact that this was not yet another Marvel character was also intriguing. I love the first Wonder Woman Gal Gadot and both Aquaman movies, and very much looked forward to another hit for DC.

I must say that Blue Beetle did not disappoint and I’m not alone in that consensus. The general reception for the film has been refreshingly positive, with reviews running from 78% (on Rotten Tomatoes) to 82% (On PostTrak) or an average grade of “B+” on a scale of A-F according to CimenaScore. And of course, like the Marvel movies, you have to stay throughout the credits because there is an end scene that is a setup for a sequel and indeed plans by DC Studios head James Gunn to turn this into a trilogy.

This is a film that follows in the comics’ footsteps of keeping the hero Jaime Reyes’s family fully involved in the plot where we spend time with him, see their unity in the face of their long-time home being foreclosed on by Kord Industries, the big, bad, evil corporate entity taking over Palmera City piece-by-piece.

The noisy, happy Reyes family was fun to watch and felt like a real and grounded dynamic, portraying Latino family love and loyalty at their best. The theme of family and love for family is a constant thread throughout the movie, contrasting the good side of having a loving, supportive family and the sad repercussions of a family pulled apart by an inventor’s obsession for his work and neglect of his daughter — a cautionary tale that where money and power are concerned, family does not always have their members best interests at heart.

It is to Director Angel Manuel Soto‘s credit that he opted for real-life location shooting to better integrate the practical effects into the film and thus “avoid relying too heavily on visual effects” as he put it. I love that he and the cinematographer traveled to El Paso, Texas, (one of the shooting locations) ahead of time to meet with local artists, muralists, musicians, historians and other creatives to get a feel and understanding of the ebb and flow of the city. This translated into a genuinely authentic version of the fictitious Palmera City that is completely believable, even down to the ultra-modern, high tech downtown (their version of Metropolis) and the poorer sections where the Reyes family lives.

Blue Beetle’s suit design is the brilliant work of Mayes C. Rubeo, who, coincidentally or not, is also of Hispanic descent. Her work is well-known, from the 2009 film Avatar to John Carter, Warcraft, and Thor: Ragnarok, among others. It has earned her Academy Awards and BAFTA nominations. So much of the beautiful, amazing suit is a practical effect that the special effects team had a hard time allowing for star Xolo Maridueña’s facial expressions to come through. However, they were able to pull it off successfully in scenes where the mask is damaged and partially torn away. They achieved this by integrating elements of organic alien technology and insectoid features within the suit.

It’s hard to imagine that this film nearly wasn’t, and had originally been intended as an HBO exclusive show. The studio realized its theatrical potential from the sheer beauty and grand scope that it had achieved through Soto’s vision.

And of course, a nod was given to the old Blue Beetle with a secret lab where the comic book versions of his costume, weapons and beetle ship were sequestered away.

Another interesting cinematic choice was their use of a mixture at times of Spanish (with English subtitles) and Spanglish. As an American born, English-speaking native, I felt this was a good choice given the cultural representation and never distracted from the plot or action since it was used at appropriate times and with restraint. As long as they keep the balance between tech, the human element, good plot and effects, I’ll be looking forward to the next installment in the franchise.


Kristine Cherry
Kristine Cherry

Kristine Cherry is a lifelong geek who comes by it honestly on her father’s side of the gene pool. She costumes, writes fanfiction, was the TimeSiren of SciFi Radio’s Corsair’s Closet Doctor Who podcast. She is currently writing her own series of fantasy death goddess eBooks via