Jaime Reyes is the third person to use the name Blue Beetle. The first was rookie patrolman Dan Garrett wearing chainmail armor and packing gadgets. He would be retconned by Charlton Comics into an archaeologist who stumbles on a magic scarab that transforms him into the Blue Beetle. He would be replaced by Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle. While he couldn’t get the scarab to work for him he opted to follow the original’s example and make his own gadgets. Reyes would, long story short, take on the magic scarab, now revealed to be an alien artifact sent by the Reach as part of their planetary conquest scheme, but Jaime would reform or reprogram or whatever he did to the thing and became a true hero. Linkara did a huge retrospective on the various incarnations if you’re interested.
Blue Beetle is one of the pre-Gunn projects that David Zaslav hasn’t axed, with a mostly Hispanic cast as the heroes and white people as the villains, which should (but probably won’t) squash the idea that the race-swapped Batgirl movie was wiped out because of racism rather than being so terrible he couldn’t bear to release it. It appears that the movie will go the pre-52 route, with Reyes’ family supporting him as the third generation superhero and being allowed to know his identity. It also looks more fun than a lot of DC movies recently and without using the reimagined version ala Shazam/the original Captain Marvel. It is going to be good? All we have is a trailer and a long history that at least gives us questions to answer.
Clearly liberties were taken. I’m hoping the evil organization (because OF COURSE it’s an evil company) isn’t going to turn out to be Kord Industries. Ted’s suffered enough in the comics. At least Batman: The Brave & The Bold gave him a more honorable hero death. Well, the villainess’ name is Victoria Kord, but that could just be gender swapping Ted’s evil uncle Jarvis. According to portrayer Susan Sarandon, who apparently didn’t get the memo that “Latinx” is a gender neutral term white people pushed on the latino/latina community and many aren’t happy about it, called Victoria part of “the white military industrial complex”, which could tell you where the movie’s headed or it could be another example of the interviews giving a false impression just to play to one sociopolitical group, who may not have enough people interested in your superhero movie. Given the current discussion, maybe don’t give those openings to talk people OUT of seeing a movie and losing it money. There are latino/latina conservatives as well and you already used a word they don’t like to describe them while indicating this is a Latino vs white people movie. Think before you speak. Not helping is the director clearly wishing death on former President Trump –and I don’t care what you think of Trump, that would be wrong no matter who was President. I’m not a fan of Biden but I want him voted out, not taken out. So if this movie doesn’t have a…certain agenda, you’re still giving that impression, which will hurt at least the opening weekend box office that is the most important time for studios to show off to investors. The same director thought people being mad at the “Batman is fascist” line
I’m also noticing a lack of a little sister, while I don’t remember the comics specifically saying Khaji Da, the name of the scarab by the way, didn’t have a female voice though I assumed it was more male. In Brave & The Bold it just beeped and Jaime had to repeat what it said and I haven’t heard it speak outwardly in other out-of-comics appearances. Not what I expect from the Reach’s killer scout who once tried to make Jaime kill people he cared about either way. These are not deal breakers provided the essential elements are still there. We do see Jaime’s family is involved from the start, the in comic universe Big Belly Burger is referenced well enough, the suit looks okay, the tone is a bit on the lighter side (part of WB trying to get away from the darker visuals and themes of the Snyder films), and…wait, why is Jaime using the Bug, Ted Kord’s vehicle? Is Kord’s Beetle also part of this continuity? In the scene in the garage both Ted and Dan’s suits, one of Dan’s MANY suits, make a cameo, but will they show up and explain things? Maybe a Booster Gold appearance if they already have an actor since Gunn might have had time to toss something in, barely, of Jaime being explained things by someone who actually have ties to the thing. Curious how that works in. It does look like they’re trying to remain faithful to the comics in at least some areas but still doing something new and dealing with a different media format. They even promoted the comics that debuted Jaime’s period in the suit. Time will tell of course, as Hollywood’s history with superheroes, proper comic adaptations, and actually respecting the lore took a nosedive with the Snyderverse and the new direction of Marvel Studios (more on all that tomorrow). Still, looks like fun…if this isn’t all wishful thinking from someone wanting something of his favorite comic universe to be good despite DiDio, modern DC, and Hollywood’s best attempts to scuttle superheroes and comics.
Of course we have another part of recent Hollywood history that concerned a few people: “Batman is a fascist”. Jaime’s dad, played by George Lopez playing George Lopez, may be a loving and supporting father but he could also be an idiot. The question is how the line is treated in context. Do they write it off as Jaime’s dad being an idiot? Does it actually agree with the statement or does it ignore that he said it, making the line the type of joke they probably don’t need right now given the current cultural climate. Plus that label is usually dropped on Superman by the likes of Fredrick Wertham or Frank Miller so unless Brother Eye existed in this continuity what was even the point of that line? It wasn’t even funny. It just makes him look like an idiot so that better be what they were going for. And given Hollywood’s longer history with fathers in lighthearted or full out comedy stories let’s not rule that out. It’s also an odd choice given that Jaime has worked with Batman in the past and was one of the recurring guests on Batman: The Brave And The Bold. The same director thought people being mad at the “Batman is fascist” line was his “work here” being “done”…so apparently his job is to cut down his own audience?
Am I among the excited or among the angry? History has long dulled both out of the box. If they don’t care, why should I? Maybe a better fanfilm will be produced or I’ll be driven to seek out the old, pre-52 comics for a better Jaime Reyes experience. Admittedly I don’t have a solid history with any of the Blue Beetles. I’m just starting to go through the comics and I’ve listened to some of the old radio dramas while on a walk, and I’m hoping to get to do that again soon as the weather and my life both cooperate. I have some hope but considering what’s come out lately with “grounded” stories or Geoff Johns’ annoying reimagine of Billy Batson being their templates anything positive out of this trailer for someone with rudimentary knowledge of this version of the character (as in various cartoon appearances) would at this point be faint praise considering what it’s up against. Points for sunlight and brighter colors but I will be curious to hear reviews from those more knowledgeable about the characters than myself. At least it looks like fun.