In Blue Beetle, the latest action-packed superhero movie, Xolo Maridueña plays Jaime Reyes, a recent college graduate who comes across an alien artifact.
When the artifact grants him advanced superpowers, he must come to grips with the fact that he’s now a superhero — whether he wants to be one or not.
We got to see an early screening of Blue Beetle, and while there’s no word on whether Jaime was ever a Scout, we couldn’t help but notice that these five merit badges would definitely help him deal with his new situation.
While Jaime is the main character of this movie, his family members are valuable supporting characters. His sister, parents, grandmother and uncle are a tight-knit group that helps Jaime deal with his situation.
Jaime’s Mexican American culture is important to him. He’s often reminding other characters that his name is pronounced HIGH-me, not JAY-me.
Jaime has probably unknowingly completed most of the requirements of the American Cultures merit badge already, which helps Scouts learn how understanding various cultural backgrounds can help people live in harmony with others in our varied and increasingly multicultural society.
Law (also, American Business)
When the movie begins, Jaime is returning to his hometown (the fictional Palmera City, Texas) after recently earning a college degree in pre-law. (Jaime is seen wearing a sweatshirt that reads Gotham Law, implying that he’s spent a lot of time in the hometown of another D.C. hero.)
The Law merit badge enables a Scout to learn about the history and kinds of laws, the purpose and methods of law enforcement and careers in the legal profession.
Similarly, the American Business merit badge would come in handy, as Jaime soon learns his family’s business didn’t do very well while he was away at college.
Citizenship in the Community
Palmera City is an interesting town. It appears to be on the Texas coast (maybe close to where Galveston is in real life) and consists of both giant high-rise office buildings and more modest neighborhoods with smaller homes.
Jaime and his family seem to be happy in their community but also struggle at times to find their place in different areas of Palmera City.
The Citizenship in the Community merit badge helps teach Scouts how our nation is made up of a patchwork of different kinds of communities. As the movie goes on, let’s just say it’s Blue Beetle’s enemies who could really use some of the stuff found in this badge.
Electronics (or Programming; or Digital Technology)
Jaime’s Blue Beetle suit is a highly advanced piece of technology.
The exoskeleton protects him from enemy fire, and a variety of shields, swords and pulse blasts help him more than hold his own in a fight against the bad guys.
But how does it all work?
The Electronics merit badge helps Scouts learn about capacitors, transistors and resistors. Programming takes a look at the complex codes that make digital devices work. And Digital Technology helps Scouts learn about the technology of the past, present and future.
A superhero’s main job is to fight crime, right?
Blue Beetle really picks up when Jaime’s fight against the evil Kord Industries kicks into high gear. Kord Industries is a research and development corporation that makes guns — lots of guns. It’s led by the truly evil Victoria Kord.
Will Jaime’s friendship with Jenny Kord, the one member of the Kord family who might not turn out to be terrible, help him win in the end?
If Jaime studies the Crime Prevention merit badge, at least he’ll learn about preventing crime, which can be far less costly than apprehending and bringing legal action against those who break the law.
But is Blue Beetle a good movie?
Blue Beetle is a fun superhero origin story.
If you’ve seen Iron Man; Spider-Man: Homecoming; Shazam; or even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, much of what happens in Blue Beetle will seem familiar.
The movie is a little slow at the beginning as the audience gets to know Jaime and his friends and family.
But the characters are likable, the action is fun, the soundtrack really thumps, and you’ll find yourself rooting for the Reyes family all the way through to the end.
Blue Beetle is rated PG-13 for lots (and I mean lots) of comic book action. There is also one heartbreakingly sad scene that might upset some viewers.
It is in theaters on Aug. 18.