By Jose Bermudez
The first trailer for Blue Beetle, the newest entry in the DC Cinematic Universe, has dropped and delivers on all the fun, chaos and excitement I would expect from a character not living in the dark, “blue filtered” world of previous films from that universe.
The Blue Beetle is the story of Jaime Reyes, a young Mexican American boy from Palmera City (originally El Paso) who is transformed into a battle armor clad superhero via a mystical/technological Blue Scarab artifact that attaches itself to his spine.
As the trailer begins, we see Jaime surveying the ocean from a beach resort deck looking like an important man contemplating the world. He is quickly brought back to reality by his sister Milagros, who reminds them they’re there for their menial jobs as resort housekeepers. Jaime is a dreamer with doubts of ever succeeding, but as Milagros reminds him in her mocking and loving way: “You always land on your feet, bro. You’re Jaime”. Cut to an embarrassed Jaime who shows up to a job interview, at Kord Industries, with his family in tow chanting his name.
Jaime! Jaime! Jaime!
Later, at Kord Industries, Jaime looks toward a descending elevator with a young lady he knows as Jenny riding down. She exits the elevator with a package in both hands, distressed as alarms go off and building security is running along an upper floor.
What’s in the box?
In the middle of all the pandemonium, Jenny hands Jaime a box and tells him to guard it with his life but not open it. He brings the box home and it’s a BIG BELLY BURGER! This is clearly the first sign we’re in the same DC universe as the other heroes: Batman, The Flash, Superman, etc. Seeing that John Byrne caricature on the box always makes me smile.
You went in to get us jobs, but all you brought back was a hamburger?
The box is opened and, instead of a hamburger, a blue trinket in the shape of a beetle is inside. Jaime is wowed as the scarab begins to walk on his hand and he finds himself amused as he thinks it is showing he likes him.
I think it likes me.
But the fascination and wonder over this charming little scarab turns quickly into a little horror show as it goes all Ridley Scott on Jaime and makes like a ”facehugger” from Alien clamping down on Jaime’s face. Uncle Rudy, played by George Lopez, tries to fight it off of Jaime but is soon zapped by an electrical charge that releases energy all around the neighborhood. Then it attaches itself to Jaime’s spine where it makes a series of transformations that are reminiscent of everything from TheExorcist, Venom and even Iron Man. At the end of the transformation, it becomes a self-contained suit of alien metal armor which rockets Jaime through the roof and out into space.
Oh! I’m in space.
Panicky at first, Reyes finds a quiet calmness as he is in the mesosphere and takes in the fact he is out in space. The calmness is, however, short lived as the suit announces its descent with re-entry systems ready and it starts a rapid dive towards earth. It stops within inches of crashing into the ocean as gossamer wings flutter out and he hovers over the surface like a hummingbird.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a beetle.
One brief logo teaser later and Jenny is shown leading the Reyes family through sliding doors in what appears to be a Kord Industries lab. She begins to explain the nature of the scarab and the suit as alien technology used to destroy worlds and protect its host. The scarab will protect but mostly acts on its own independent of its host
Jenny leads the way
The next clip shows how it protects its host by creating a cocoon like force shield with a razor front as a bus comes toward Jaime on the street.
I think I cut a bus in half.
The next group of clips show what appears to be an entire array of mini scarabs followed by a clip of Vicki Kord, played by Susan Sarandon, explaining to Jaime that the scarab chose him, but it still belongs to her.
The scarab chose you, but it belongs to me
And in a fashion befitting an evil industrialist with all the power money can buy, we see her try to regain the scarab as her minions tear through the Reyes household. And we are introduced to the suit’s first real menace in the form of Carapax , played by Raoul Max Trujillo. Carapax concern trolls Jaime by proclaiming that his biggest weakness is his love for family.
The love you feel for your family makes you weak!
Jaime is clearly in beast mode with his family in danger and tears through baddies while they are hiding out in what may be Ted Kord’s laboratory. Ted Kord was the non-scarabed Blue Beetle before Jaime and is/was Vicki Kord’s brother. His family shows that they’re no slouches as we see Uncle Rudy firing up Ted Kord’s ”Bug” as if he were taking his carrucha out for a Sunday drive on the boulevard.
Fighting for family
Love for a family that is not weak is not a weakness. I mean checkout out Nana’s
There is a reason this will remind you of The Watchmen. Long story.
At the end of a fairly busy action montage we get one of the only welcomed cliches in comic books and comic book movies: The “Uncle Ben” validation. Just as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker about great power and responsibility, Uncle Rudy says to young Jaime: “The universe has sent you a gift, and you have to figure out what you’re going to do with it”.
After all that we finally get Jaime learning the scope of the suit’s powers as it explains how much he can do with the power of his own imagination. This is how we find out Jaime has some crazy love for Final Fantasy VII as he conjures up a sick Buster Sword.
We cut to one more logo screen
And then we get a trailer’s equivalent of an end credit scene with Jaime’s family/Team Blue Beetle sifting through all the tech and gadgets from Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle days.
On the left, in the background, we see the original golden age Blue Beetle costume worn by Dan Garret.
On the right is the Ted Kord costume. It’s a perfect comic book match.
It ends with Uncle Rudy giving the funniest line in the trailer: ”Batman is a fascist!”
This trailer surprised me in a very good way. The casting couldn’t have been more perfect. They actually cast actors from Mexico to play Jaime’s parents and Nana. The Spanish will be spoken with the correct Mexican accents and none of that awkward ”Spanglish” that is used more for flavor than any attempt to get the culture correct.
The tone is spot on. Keith Giffen, who created Jaime Reyes, always wrote with a consciousness that made room for humor and it’s very evident in this trailer that the writers were keeping that same vibe.
One of my favorite new elements is the strength of a family that knows the secrets and how they are a cohesive and supporting unit. Jaime doesn’t have to be a lonely unreluctant hero. He has a family team.
Saving the best for last. Xolo Maridueña shows us why he was pursued for this role. His natural charisma, acting and ability to do action was never in doubt. I have been this guy’s biggest fan since the first episode of Cobra Kai. To say I’m proud of Xolo and how he represents the latino community would be an understatement. I’ll be first in line to see this in August.