Fans of ‘Blue Beetle’ Latino superhero root for its streaming success
Blue Beetle, DC’s first live-action film with a Latino lead, is making its streaming debut Friday on Max.
Fans who identified with the Latino superhero hope the movie gets many more viewers — which didn’t happen at the box office, much to their frustration.
“The jokes were so good because they were so relatable, to be honest, because it reminded me of stuff my uncles would say,” said Daniel Espinoza, 24, of Inglewood, California. “The movie showed how much family plays into the Latino culture.”
Numerous moments in the movie caught young Latino viewers’ attention, from comedian George Lopez’s role as Jaime Reyes’/Blue Beetle’s tío, or uncle, Rudy, to the reggaeton soundtrack of Calle 13’s “Atreve-te-te” and the old-school songs of the late Mexican singer Vicente Fernández, which are a familiar musical backdrop in many Latino households.
“Blue Beetle was truly a love letter to Latinos everywhere,” said Melissa Ignacio, 28, of Santa Clarita, California. “The fact that they had songs from Selena, who I listen to, and songs from Vicente Fernández, who my dad listens to, made it such an enjoyable experience — my parents and I were all able to enjoy equally.”
Latino actor Xolo Maridueña, who’s of Mexican, Cuban and Ecuadorian heritage, was widely praised for his performance, and the movie earned a 92% audience score and a 78% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, it made headlines as DC’s lowest-grossing film.
Critics say numerous factors came into play when the movie hit theaters in August: The Hollywood writers and actors strikes meant the actors weren’t promoting the film, and the Blue Beetle character wasn’t a common face in the DC Extended Universe.
“It’s nice to see Blue Beetle, the first brown superhero, from a major studio like DC,” said Jack Rico, a ShowBizCafe.com journalist. “But to really reach mainstream status, we need to defy those metrics.”
According to Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak, Latinos made up almost 4 in 10 (38%) of the box office turnout.
“I felt hopeful, and I felt seen,” said Marina Sangit, 27, a second-generation Mexican and Indian American living in Washington, D.C. “I think we’ve come a long way, but I felt seen and visible in a way that was deeply meaningful and impactful to my life and my lived experiences.”
The movie’s low box office numbers disappointed Latinos who have mourned the demise of other movies and television shows with Latino leads and storylines, such as Netflix’s “Gentefied” and the reboot of “One Day at a Time.” Both shows were well-reviewed and had loyal fans, but they were canceled when they didn’t get the viewership and metrics of other trending productions.
“Watching that happen over and over again makes me feel like our stories are not appreciated or unimportant,” said Alejandra Vázquez Baur, 28, who lives in New York City.
“Blue Beetle” brought families together, which Vázquez Baur experienced when she went home to New Mexico.
“Me and my brothers went together, and I intentionally wanted to see it with them, who grew up playing with all of the superheroes,” she said.
In addition, “Blue Beetle” depicted a relatable family dynamic.
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