DC superhero film ‘Blue Beetle’ celebrates Latino culture

Angel Manuel Soto - Blue Beetle - Latin

Angel Manuel Soto, director of "Blue Beetle," shows off a T-shirt displaying the film's cast as they could not promote the film as per SAG-AFTRA guidelines during the actors' strike. Image via AP Photo/Chris Pizzello.

By Mivette Vega

August 18, 2023

The movie “Blue Beetle” is bringing Latin flavor to the big screen as it opens in theaters today, Aug. 18.

DC Comics’ first Latino superhero film was directed by Puerto Rican director Ángel Manuel Soto and written by Mexican screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer.

The story’s main character is 22-year-old Jaime Reyes (“Cobra Kai’s” Xolo Maridueña), who returns home as a college grad, the first one in his family. He ends up in possession of an ancient scarab named Khaji Da made of alien biotechnology that chooses him as its symbiotic host.

Soto convinced DC Studios to shoot the main scenes in Puerto Rico, so that many of the locations will be familiar to Boricuas.

“The character comes from a neighborhood and Puerto Rico is what I know for that reference, but it can also be tied to many neighborhoods in the United States and Latin America,” Soto told El Nuevo Día.

Since Reyes’ family is Mexican, the film also has Mexican cultural references, which came naturally to Dunnet-Alcocer, who is from Querétaro.

The director, who is promoting the film himself because of the ongoing Hollywood strike, described it as a “love letter to our ancestors because Latins from many cultures would be able to identify with it.

“When I read the script, I could see that the person who wrote it is not only Latino, but he wrote characters that he knows and they were so relatable because we’ve realized that even though we’re both from different countries, we’re so similar. Our families are so similar,” Soto told AP. “The music, the TV shows, we grew up exactly the same, just in different countries. And we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is special because not only Mexicans are going to connect. I think all Latinos are going to connect,’” he said.

AP contributed to this story.

  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.



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