It’s been said before, and will be said quite a few more times, but Blue Beetle has undoubtedly emerged as the people’s champion of superhero movies. After fighting tooth and nail to get to theaters from its former straight-to-streaming fate, and despite what looks like an uphill battle at the box office, the team wore their hearts on their sleeves with this one, and we can only hope it gets remembered for the important things as time goes on.
In a sea of many strengths, such as Xolo Maridueña and a measured use of CGI, the obvious MVP of Blue Beetle was the cultural influences that reverberated throughout its ethos, often in the form of Jaime, his tight-knit family, and how they all moved through the world with respect to their Mexican identity.
And for director Ángel Manuel Soto, preserving that part of the film was right at the top of his priority list. In a recent interview with SlashFilm, Soto expounded upon the role that specificity plays when it comes to addressing cultural identity, especially in Hollywood, and how honoring something like that makes for a markedly holistic result that we, as audiences, witnessed firsthand.
“I think we’ve been psychologically and pathologically inculcated a fallacy by the hegemony that our specificity is not universal, that the white and gringo are universal. The truth of the matter is that we’re all universal if we embrace our true selves. I wanted to start from the premise that the universality of our cultures exists in our specificity. And if we are honest and free to be authentically us, and we don’t have to be like someone else, it can still reach a general audience even if they don’t look like us. The only thing that could have prevented this was the studio.”
Thankfully, the studio kept their mouths shut when it came to that part of Soto’s vision, and what a vision it wound up blossoming into. Indeed, we reckon this is just the beginning of the filmmaker establishing himself as one of the most insightful voices in the industry, and we’re already dreaming of where he’ll go next.