Random thoughts on the Blue Beetle movie, attachment, and Latino families.


"Blue Beetle" stands out as a film created by and for the Latino community, with both the
director, Angel Manuel Soto, and screenwriter, Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, being of Latino origin.
The movie boasts an impressive Latino cast, featuring Adriana Barraza, Damián Alcázar, Elpidia
Carrillo, Bruna Marquezine, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, and George Lopez. Maridueña
takes on the lead role, bringing to life the main Mexican-American character, Jaime Reyes/Blue
Beetle.
Jaime, the main character, is a pacifist turned superhero with lethal armor. What sets this film
apart is Jaime's blend of politeness and integrity, avoiding arrogance. His focus on family is
shown with an underlying sense of responsibility for them, offering a unique perspective on a
Latino family in a superhero origin story. Compared to other well-known superheroes movies,
he is not forced to hide his new abilities from his family, instead, his transformation to
superhero happens in front of them. This scene set the stage to portray a family with a bond or
attachment based on honesty, trust, and reliability. There are no secrets in a Latino family. At
the same time, this scene represented a good example of what the central theme of
attachment theory is, and how primary caregivers who are available and responsive to an
infant's needs allow the child to develop a sense of security. In other words, the infant learns
that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the
world. This part of the attachment theory is later confirmed in the movie. Jaime comes back
from experiencing his new “Blue Beetle” suit and Jaime's dad, wakes him up with Vicks
VapoRub (a well-known familiar caring practice in Latino households) portraying the
dependability of the caregiver after the child went out and “explored” implying the underlying
message of “no matter what happened, I am here, and we can do this together”.
Throughout the film, Latino familial dynamics of caring for elders and the teasing yet
affectionate relationship among siblings are also shown. Another indicator of how the “Latino
way” when you have siblings becomes a “tough but very enduring lesson of love” that teach
you tolerance and humility to face life’s challenges later as an adult. Nobody makes you lose
your marbles like your siblings. They might criticize us without mercy, but that “Latino Way”
also translates to “My commitment is to be honest with you because I love you”.
The film also adeptly tackles the real-life hurdles that many Latino and working-class families
encounter, unfortunately hindering the establishment of healthy attachments and connections.
Examples include the Reyes family grappling with potential displacement due to rising rent
costs while concurrently caring for their elders or the exploration of the term "alien" which
resonates with those who have undergone such experiences. Additionally, the portrayal of
scenes reminiscent of ICE raids further amplifies the film's authenticity, and the revelation
about Conrad Carapax, a Guatemalan ex-soldier turned villain, serves as a poignant reflection
on the intricate history between the United States and Central America, intertwining with
themes of forced migration and societal collapse. A story that still valid nowadays but with
different actors.

As many other superheroes movies, Jaime loses a loved one. However, the film portrays
spiritual element seamlessly which intertwines with Latino culture as Jaime envisions his dad in
the afterlife, encircled by flickering candles reminiscent of a Día de los Muertos altar.
This portrayal echoes our Latino grieving process, supported by the beliefs that our loved ones
persist beyond death, always guiding and communicating with us through our dreams.
Blue Beetle didn't feel the need to demonstrate his strength or prowess; he wasn't striving to
be the ultimate fighter or showcase his abilities. His primary focus was his family, serving as the
driving force behind his actions throughout the entire movie. This family dynamic is relatable to
Latinos and other families of color, where an unspoken rule involves caring for and protecting
our elders, particularly our parents, as we take on the role of caretakers for those who once
looked after us in our early years. We do it because we learned it from them and all the many
caregivers, we were fortunate to have while growing as a family, as a community.
In essence, "Blue Beetle" was not just a just as a superhero movie for me. Instead, it was a
psycho-emotional and cultural narrative that speaks to the Latino experience, tackling real-life
issues while offering representation and connection to our Latino roots and highlighting the
things that we do good: WE care, WE love, WE grow, WE support, WE build. We ARE resilient,
resourceful, diverse, creative, leaders, and most importantly, WE ARE A COMMUNITY.lindsayldcmg@gmail.com

nelson

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