Blue Beetle, starring Xolo Maridueña as the titular character, is a delightful adaptation of the DC Comics legacy superhero. But much like the Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle from the comics drew inspiration from many previous superheroes in print, so does that cinematic version find its inspiration in some great superhero media. Mostly films, but also some television. Here are some key superhero films and one TV series which likely influenced Blue Beetle director Angel Manuel Soto in one way or another.
Iron Man (2008)
When one thinks of superheroes who wear high-tech suits of armor, the first character anyone thinks of is usually Iron Man. And while Jaime Reyes’ suit isn’t metal per se, it’s definitely a form of armor. The scenes in the film where he’s learning how to fly under the Scarab’s power, and making plenty of mistakes along the way, recall similar scenes from the first Iron Man film. Not to mention the scenes of sheer joy and wonder at what the suit can do. Obviously, it’s not a one-for-one. Unlike Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, Jaime Reyes didn’t create his own suit. But the scenes in Blue Beetle evoke many of the same feels as Iron Man.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
It’s hard to think of any teenage or college-age young superhero and not think of Spider-Man. Every costumed teen with an ordinary family and struggling with ordinary problems, like getting a job and paying bills? In some way, they are all descendants of Peter Parker. But of all the Peter Parkers in film and over the years, it seems Jaime is most influenced by the MCU’s Spidey (Tom Holland). Simply because that Spidey is unique, in that he has a high-tech suit he doesn’t quite understand. All thanks to Tony Stark. Scenes in Blue Beetle where Jaime is talking to Kahji Dha, the Scarab’s sentient AI, recall similar scenes in Homecoming where Peter is carrying on conversations with the suit’s AI named Karen. And just trying to figure out how the darn thing works.
When Jaime Reyes can’t get the Scarab to obey his commands by asking nicely, he literally jumps off the roof of a building. Knowing full well the Scarab will protect him and give him the Blue Beetle armor. Sound familiar? It’s similar to the first Shazam!, when Billy Batson (Asher Angel) jumps off a roof, transforming into a hero mid-air. But of course, there are more similarities to Shazam than just that. After all, Billy and Jaime are two young men who out of nowhere have incredible ancient power thrust on them. And both have to step up to become the latest in a long line of heroes. No magic word for Jaime to say, but the similarities are there.
On the surface, Marvel’s antihero Venom and DC’s Blue Beetle don’t have a lot in common. But of course, Venom is an alien lifeform that attached itself to reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and forms a symbiotic relationship with him. Eventually, the symbiote and Eddie begin to share their thoughts becoming interdependent on the other. With the Scarab Kahji Dha, Jaime Reyes forms a symbiotic relationship of his own with a mysterious alien presence. While we wouldn’t describe the Scarab as “alien goo” like Venom, when the suit overtakes Jaime is more like some kind of living liquid than just armor plating going up like Iron Man. That is definitely some Venom influence.
Batman Beyond (1999-2001)
Not all the influences on Blue Beetle are live-action movies. There’s a healthy dose of the animated series Batman Beyond in there too. In the 1999-2001 animated series, ordinary teenager Terry McGinnis stumbles upon the Batcave of the now-retired Bruce Wayne. It’s a cobwebbed, dusty place filled with relics of Batman’s crime-fighting days. He ultimately takes on the mantle of Batman—whether he’s trained and ready or not. When Jaime Reyes steps into the dusty old secret bunker of Ted Kord under his mansion, it instantly recalls Terry McGinnis finding the Batcave and all its wonders in Wayne Manor. That both Terry and Jaime are inheritors of a heroic legacy with cool flying suits is just the cherry on top.
Blue Beetle is currently playing in theaters everywhere.