Submitted on Monday, 8/28/2023, at 4:33 PM

The Boston Globe – “The Latino imagination isn’t an empty vessel easily filled with recycled parts. From time immemorial, we’ve had an extraordinary assortment of superheroes,” Stavans writes in a critique of the new hit movie based on a DC Comics character.

Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst, begins by listing some of the heroic figures of “the Mexico of the 1970s where I grew up,” such as Kalimán, el hombre increíble, and “the Aztec deity Quetzalcóatl, a proto-superhero with magical powers.” 

He then expresses disappointment that Blue Beetle places a Mexican American family at the center of a derivative mass-market movie whose title hero, dating back to comic books of 1939, didn’t even originate as a Latino character: in the new film, “the protagonist’s Latinidad feels more like a corporate ploy than an authentic feature.” The professor muses on parallels between Blue Beetle, Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Cervantes’ Don Quixote, but laments that the movie itself doesn’t make the most of those parallels.