Blue Beetle Review
If ONLY the DCU that Warner Bros. started with was going to live on would Blue Beetle be more of a splash, that’s why I’m so happy to share with you my first thoughts and the fact that Blue Beetle will be a part of the future DCU, headed by James Gunn. I know Blue Beetle had a decent theater blowout drop on August 18th (my birthday) with a few grand over 10 million + 26 million dollars.
The film overall, from August 18th to September 17th, drew in 67 million domestically but was unable to earn back the cost of what it took in capital to make the movie, which is speaking to a large problem within the movie industry, specifically over-budget large CGI projects. With the international market included in the overall draw, Blue Beetle raked in almost 120 million dollars, which does get them over the 104 million dollar line, but not by much.
Now these are just numbers, not impressions, so allow me to cheer up your blue hearts with some real beetle facts! So if you don’t know who Blue Beetle is, then don’t skip this next part.
Blue Beetle was a property of Charlton Comics after they purchased the character from its creator, Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski, in the 1960s after its popularity dropped in the early 1950s. The original Blue Beetle Dan Garret, reimagined by Steve Ditko, would take on Ted Kord under his tutilage. Unfortunately, Ted wasn’t able to take on the power of the scarab when Garret passed away but instead invented his crime-fighting gear and gadgets.
Despite the failed early serial movies and the radio show, Blue Beetle has always been a sacred past-time tradition that has remained unique and popular throughout its journey. If you think about it, Blue Beetle is just as old as most of the characters that started Marvel and DC.
Who is the Blue Beetle?
In the ’80s, DC purchased several properties from the long-since-folded Charlton Comics. Blue Beetle, among other characters, joined the Infinite Crisis event, which relaunched the DC canon into the beginning of the ’90s catalog of comics. And what unexpectedly came out of this was Blue Beetle’s unlikely team-up with Booster Gold, who’s been rumored to star in some of the James Gunn productions.
One Charlton Comics character that’s made a big splash in the comics television scene was the Peacemaker, played by John Cena, which honestly did Cena more favors than he did the character itself. Gunn showed the fans something we didn’t need, just like Gareth Dunnet Alcocer showed the fans what we didn’t know we needed in a Blue Beetle film.
What’s really something to pay attention to here is the appearance of Ted Kord’s lair, which introduces the audience to the history of the Blue Beetle mantle through the years.
Ted Kord, as the Blue Beetle, was a long-time affiliate member of the Justice League, which really gives me the impression that we’ll have some Justice League tie-ins in the future. Now in the future, we probably won’t get a Bart Allen bad blut bug creation, possibly a Young Justice movie, but Blue Beetle featuring Cobra Kai star, Xolo Maridueña, has a really bright solo trilogy future.
It’s possible that the character might be paired with another hero, following the student-and-pupil approach that Marvel and Sony took with Spiderman and Ironman, paying dividends in emotional payoffs. Luckily for you, I looked into the history myself and discovered that the Variant Comics YouTube channel has the best breakdown of the character to date.
So where does the Blue Beetle start with over 80 years of history? How do you tell an uneducated audience and a well-informed audience at the same time who this character is inside and outside the mask? Well, that’s an interesting question, because it’s often the hardest thing to accomplish with any comic-adapted property. But I’ll give you a short breakdown, and you’ll take the dive and see for yourself.
The Blue Beetle Breakdown
Jamie Reyes comes home from college to find his family in dire straights and his father down on his health. The film really captures the essence of the financial obstacles that all Americans face, whether and how family comes together to see one of their own succeed. The story between Jamie and his father, Alberto, hit home for me.
Growing up without a father, I had always hoped to feel the love Alberto gives to Jamie if at all, at least the encouragement and acceptance. So personally, for me, this was a huge inspiration. Jamie, as the Blue Beetle, definitely spent a lot of time throughout the movie accepting that his family was a strength as Jenny Kord’s aunt, Victoria Kord, fulfilled her glutinous agenda.
Jamie was pretty bumped to find no use for his degree, which landed him scraping gum from the poolside table at the Kord mansion. His run-in with Victoria after stepping in to defend her blatant disrespect for her niece Jenny earns him a spot at the bottom of the monkey barrel jobless with no prospects. Unannounced to Jamie, his intervention would be reconciled by Jenny with an invitation to interview at Kord Industries.
This would be the same Kord Industries that Victoria runs in place of Ted after his disappearance led folks to believe he was dead. Of course, this would lead to Jamie receiving an unlikely task from Jenny, which was to guard a fast food box with his life. If it is the things that heroes are made of that ultimately land them the opportunity of a lifetime, in this case, what really set this movie apart was Jamie’s family, which promoted family and community bound by their respective cultures.
Thanks to this advantage, Jamie came with a particularly curious sister and a wayward uncle who is strangely good with technology.
My Blue Beetle Favs
One of my favorite characters is Rudy Reyes, who not only provides a lot of comic relief but also adds a level of improvisation and complexity to Jamie’s journey that otherwise would make this movie boring. Honestly, I missed George Lopez, and it was really refreshing to hear his voice and see that he was given a role worthy of his sage wisdom.
The character that no one is going to forget during this movie and that they even used on the cover of a recent Blue Beetle comic cover is Nana Reyes because who knew Granny was an OG rebel, especially with a Gatling gun, so hide those on bingo night or else?
Jenny’s makeshift happy meal contains a destructive collectible toy alright It’s blue and shiny, and when held by the right person, it comes… ALIVE! And that’s when Jamie becomes the Blue Beetle. He flies into upper orbit, cuts a bus in half, and breaks some windows, but ultimately gets kidnapped so Victoria can harness the alien code to clone it to her busy bee Indestructible Man, Carapax, who would command an arsenal of an automated version of Carapax called OMAC’s, which stands for One Man Army Corps.
Just like every narcissist villain who feels like they’re owed something for their strife, Jamie was able to do something very unique in his showdown with the Dan Garret antagonist Carapax that I haven’t seen in a comic-adapted property before, which was to convince him to have a change of heart. It was very unconventional, but also inspiring to watch.
Now I won’t tell you how or why it happened that way, but it definitely led to Blue Beetle saving the day and putting an end to the stain on Kord Industries, which Jenny will ultimately have to recover from.
All in all, Blue Beetle was everything I didn’t know I had hoped it would be. My favorite version of Blue Beetle is the Ted Kord persona. I grew up reading his adventures, drawn in by his witty dialogue and really great design. Even though Blue Beetle was the origin story that Mark Bernardin and others might be opposed to, I thought it offered more than that, including what the movie was trying to see.
I found it refreshing that despite the emphasis on a family culture that I never experienced growing up, it didn’t feel pushy and still had a lot to offer everyone: romance, action, suspense, psychology, family, complexity, growth, sibling love, purpose, destiny, and ultimately penance. Either way, I would highly recommend you watch this movie at least once.
Blue Beetle will be back, and Geek Network will be here when he does. Don’t forget to support your local theaters because without you no one would make movies. As always, stay geeky, share the network, and don’t forget to catch the latest on Fueled By Weird.
Michael J. Florio
A true storyteller who sharpened his wit proudly at Full Sail University, holding a bachelor’s & master’s in creative writing for entertainment. After Michael became a Comics Experience alumni, he created his first independent creator-owned titles, Wild Oni & Iron Jaguar.
A member of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Writers Guild, where he lives & works tirelessly on his future published works. Michael is a father of four, three boys & one girl, whom he loves very much.