The trailer for Blue Beetle dropped this week, giving us a look at a probably doomed entry into the DCU, or whatever they’re calling the hangover films between DC’s Zack Snyder past and James Gunn future. This film should be notable as the first major superhero movie headlined by a Latino character, but instead, it’s going down as one of the leftovers. I guess we should just be glad Warner Bros. Discovery didn’t sh-tcan it completely like they did Batgirl.
Blue Beetle stars Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, a young guy just scraping by when an ancient artifact gloms onto him and makes him its host, turning him into a superpowered being with no real control over what is happening to him. Sound familiar? It’s basically the plot of Venom. Look familiar? There’s some Iron Man and a lot of Peter Parker’s Iron Spider look from Avengers: Infinity War in here. Honestly, the biggest problem facing superhero movies at this point isn’t audience fatigue, it’s how to make characters with similar powers and super-suits look unique. Unfortunately for Blue Beetle, Marvel got to the alien host thing and the “sleek bug with tentacles” look first (I’m sure spider legs have a scientific name but I refuse to google it because that would mean looking at spiders).
What does stand out about the Blue Beetle trailer is Jaime’s family. George Lopez plays his uncle, Rudy, and the trailer shows off a lot of Jaime and his family. We need more family-centric superhero stories—the Khans are a major reason Ms. Marvel is so charming—especially since Ant-Man and Shazam both abandoned this assignment. It’s also a nice change of pace from the tortured loner hero to spend time with someone with a strong support network, and while I am not sold on this trailer as a whole, I like George Lopez’s final line. Hard to argue against “Batman is a fascist” when he spends most of his time beating up poor people and working with the corrupt Gotham PD.
Unfortunately, nothing will likely come of this. Blue Beetle will have to absolutely crush the box office to find a spot in James Gunn’s oncoming set of DC films, and, well, this trailer isn’t that good. It looks too much like too many things that have come before, and Blue Beetle as a character/hero has no audience recognition. Susan Sarandon as the villain is a nice bit of casting, but that’s not going to save Blue Beetle. This is going to end up being another weird footnote in DC film history.