WB Announces “Blue Beetle” Film, Their First Latino Superhero Film

DC Comics’ Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 artwork by Scott Kollins

The DCEU just might be on a winning streak: First, the success of Wonder Woman.Second, great word of mouth on Aquaman (which I’ll be covering shortly). Now, WB has announced that they have greenlit the first Latino superhero film.

As reported by The Wrap, WB is in production on their first Latino superhero film about Jamie Reyes, the Blue Beetle. Miss Bala and Scarface screenwriter, Mexican-born Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, is writing the script.

As The Wrap reports, “[W]hile DC has had Latino characters in its movie universe, (Jay Hernandez as El Diablo in ‘Suicide Squad,’ and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya in the soon-to be filming ‘Birds of Prey’), this will be the first stand-alone title to feature a Latino lead.”

This is much needed for movie fans, many of whom are Latino. Latino audiences make up a large part of Hollywood’s revenue, yet their routinely underrepresented in terms of on-screen characters. According to the article, Hispanic/Latino audiences “had the highest per-capita attendance at the movies, going to the movies an average of 4.5 times a year” according to MPAA 2017 stats. The article also states that while Latinos are only 18 percent of the population, “they buy 24 percent of the movie tickets sold in the United States.”

“It’s also worth noting, superhero movies tend to draw the most diverse audiences as Latinos made up 22 percent of the audience for ‘Wonder Woman’ and 21 percent of the audience for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,'” states the article.

Let’s also not bury one important lede here: even though DC is carefully calling their Blue Beetle movie their first film focusing on a Latino superhero, let’s not mince words. This is also the first Latino superhero film for modern audiences period. It’s taken Marvel over a decade to make Black Panther, and even then, it probably wouldn’t have happened without the late Stan Lee forcing their hand. Now, in the span of just a few years of existence, the DCEU has the first female superhero film in Wonder Woman, the first Asian/Pacific Islander superhero film in Aquaman, and now they are breaking new ground yet again for the superhero genre by giving us the first Latino superhero film. As much as we like to deride the DCEU for “ruining” Batman and Superman, they’ve actually hit on an underserved area for superhero fans.

It appears the DCEU has learned from its prior mistakes when it comes to building its universe. Something people have been wondering is what kind of secret sauce DC would come up with if they wanted to best the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It would appear that DC has stumbled upon the only weak spot Marvel has yet to truly rectify (even with Black Panther and the upcoming Captain Marvel)–diversity. Not just the standard swipe at “diversity” that only means making characters of color sidekicks and women characters objects to win. DC seems to be winning at making stories that showcase real diversity.

Wonder Woman, for instance, received a 93 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. At the time, that was the highest rating for any DCEU film so far. Most critics felt that as a character, Wonder Woman was the DCEU’s first real superhero in the sense that she embodied all of the daring-do (to borrow a word from Mr. Lee) that our favorite superheroes possess. She also seemed much more uplifting, inspiring, and brighter than the DCEU’s dire outings with Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman.

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As New Yorker’s Richard Brody wrote, “Wonder Woman is a superhero movie, and it fulfills the heroic and mythic demands of that genre, but it’s also an entry in the genre of wisdom literature that shares hard-won insights and long pondered paradoxes of the past with a sincere intimacy.” Pay or Wait’s Sharronda Williams also wrote, “With the disappointment of Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad, DC proves they may have found their magic again.”

And even though Aquaman hasn’t even come out yet, it’s already received tremendous word of mouth. Check out these tweets:

I bet we can expect the same level of excitement once the Blue Beetle movie comes out. DC has found their winning formula, and by greenlighting the film, it’s clear they’re going to go at it even stronger.

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