Blue Beetle looks like it could be the best DC movie in years

A screenshot of Blue Beetle in the first trailer for his DC movie
Blue Beetle arrives in theaters worldwide on August 18, (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The first trailer for Blue Beetle is here – and, while it looks a tad corny in places, it could be the best DC movie in years.

Blue Beetle's official teaser, which you can view below, offers a first look at one of the many new movies yet to release in theaters this year. And, based on the humor, snippets of horror, and Iron Man-styled supersuit witnessed in its two-minute long trailer, it might be the kind of potentially successful, underdog-like movie Warner Bros. Pictures needs.

Take a look at the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film's trailer below:

As mentioned, Blue Beetle looks a little trite in places. On the surface, it seems like another superhero movie stuffed with generic themes about finding your place in the world, protecting your family at all costs, and keeping a high-value piece of technology out of the wrong hands. It also has a similar vibe and tonality to Shazam! Fury of the Gods which, as we know, hasn't pulled up trees at the box office.

But it also appears that there'll be plenty to like about Blue Beetle. It's the first superhero film that puts Latino actors front and center (Cobra Kai's Xolo Maridueña, whose family hails from Mexico, Cuba, and Ecuador, is its lead star). It pokes fun at Marvel and DC heroes like Iron Man (that 'flying above the Earth' sequence has definite shades of 2008's Iron Man) and Batman. The first suiting-up scene is, in some respects, quite unnerving. And, just like Shazam! and its sequel, Blue Beetle introduces a hero who doesn't hide his identity from his family and friends. Thank goodness for that.

Of course, it's unclear how, or even if, Blue Beetle will fit into James Gunn and Peter Safran's new-look DC Cinematic Universe (DCU). I suspect it'll be labeled as another DC Elseworlds movie alongside The Batman and Joker (and their forthcoming sequels), which are two of the best superhero movies around. Hopefully, Gunn and Safran – the latter of whom is an executive producer on Blue Beetle – will reveal more about how it fits into the DCU when they announce more projects in their DCU Chapter One: Gods and Monsters lineup.

As well as dropping Blue Beetle's first teaser, Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Studios revealed an official plot synopsis for the movie.

"Recent college grad Jaime Reyes (Maridueña) returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not quite as he left it. As he searches to find his purpose in the world, fate intervenes when Jaime unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab. 

"When the Scarab suddenly chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he is bestowed with an incredible suit of armor capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the Super Hero Blue Beetle."

Joining Maridueña on the film's roster are Bruna Marquezine (Breaking Through), Belissa Escobedo (Hocus Pocus 2), George Lopez (Reno 911!), Adrianna Barraza (Rambo: Last Blood), Elpidia Carrillo (Cabinet of Curiosities), Damián Alcázar (Narcos: Mexico), Raoul Trujillo (Sicario 2), and Harvey Guillén (Puss in Boots: The Last Wish). Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise, Cloud Atlas) is also on board as the movie's main villain. 

Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) is on directing duties, while Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (Miss Bala) has penned the script. Blue Beetle, which was originally intended to be an HBO Max exclusive movie, will launch in theaters worldwide on August 18.

Holding out for a (super)hero to win the box office

A closeup of Zachary Levi's Shazam in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is the latest DCEU film to flop at the box office. (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Warner and DC probably didn't view Blue Beetle as the box office savior they need right now. Given how their superhero films have fared recently, though, the duo require a big theatrical win.

Since 2018's Aquaman, which raked in over $1.1 billion globally, DC movies have struggled to make inroads at the box office. Shazam!, which flew into theaters in 2019, made a modest $367.8 million – and, from a moneymaking perspective, it's all been downhill since then.

Birds of Prey ($205.3 million), Wonder Woman 1984 ($169.6 million), The Suicide Squad ($169 million), Black Adam ($393 million), and Shazam! 2 ($104.1 million) all underperformed, and were subsequently labeled as box office bombs. Of that quintet, Birds of Prey and Black Adam are the only movies to recoup their production costs. Considering their tiny box office takings, and the amount it likely cost to market both films, though, every DCEU film since Shazam! has failed to make a profit.

Of course, Matt Reeves' The Batman is the outlier here. The Robert Pattinson-starring flick made a whopping $770.9 million, ensuring it easily made back its reported $200 million production costs and then some. However, with Gunn and Safran now labeling The Batman as a DC Elseworlds production – i.e. a universe that exists outside of the DCU – it doesn't actually sit alongside Black Adam and company as a traditional DCU movie. As such, it can't be considered a DC movie success.

That's where Blue Beetle comes in. As a former HBO Max exclusive, its budget is sure to be relatively small compared to its DCEU siblings. Even if Blue Beetle performs as well as Shazam! did, it should make a healthy profit. That might be enough for it to be considered successful in the eyes of Warner and DC executives, as well as industry analysts and general filmgoers.

Blue Beetle, then, has the capacity to be the best-performing DCEU movie for years (again, discounting The Batman), and one critics and movie fans might end up enjoying more than expected. If it does, it could end up being the box office hero Warner and DC have yearned for.

For more DCEU-based coverage, find out how to watch the DC movies in order. Additionally, see which DCEU movies made it onto our best HBO Max movies list.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

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