Blue Beetle’s new movie brings Jaime Reyes and the Scarab to the big screen, with the hero having impressive powers thanks to the alien device.
The following contains spoilers for Blue Beetle, now in theaters.
The Blue Beetle movie puts one of DC’s best legacy heroes on the big screen, taking the DC Universe to a new level. The film bonds Jaime Reyes to an alien scarab that changes his life forever, and it both protects and endangers his family. This is due to how powerful the living weapon is, with the Scarab Khaji-Da bequeathing the young hero with several incredible abilities.
From a bulletproof hide to flight, Blue Beetle’s powers allow him to take on and take down several threats. They also come with drawbacks, however, which sometimes put Jaime in deathly danger. This is due to how differently the Scarab operates compared to most superhero power sets and how deep its connection to Jaime Reyes goes.
What Are Blue Beetle’s Powers in the New Movie?
The most obvious ability that the Scarab gives to Jaime Reyes is that it covers his body in an armored carapace. This suit is like a second skin and isn’t removable in the same way that most superhero costumes are. It’s more like an advanced exoskeleton similar to the bodies of actual insects. Blue Beetle boasts strength far beyond a normal human, though the exact limits of this aren’t exactly shown. One example of this power is when he catches the fist of Conrad Carapax, the movie’s villain. Carapax already has cybernetic enhancements, and his power is similarly above humans. Thus, Jaime’s ability to counter this strength says a lot about how much the Scarab upgraded him, especially since he still isn’t fully in control of his powers.
The Scarab also gives Blue Beetle incredible durability, allowing him to absorb tank attacks that would have otherwise killed him. This includes a beatdown from Carapax (which resulted in several concussions), numerous explosions and even having his energy drained by an external device that nearly killed him. At one point, the Scarab is even shown to give him an incredible healing factor, with facial damage from the night before being healed in a matter of seconds as if nothing happened. Normal bullets are also useless against him, with his entire body being bulletproof when encased by the Scarab’s suit. Khaji-Da also contorts and creates constructs to aid Jaime, with some of these being subconsciously made. For instance, the Scarab initialized rocket boosters to test Jaime’s body when they first became bonded, and it thereafter used wings as brakes to stop his descent as he fell near a body of water.
Other useful constructs include a variety of blasters, swords and other weapons used to disable enemies. Defensive objects such as shields are also created by Khaji-Da to defend Jaime, though these could also take a more offensive turn (namely, when he accidentally saws a bus in half with his wings). The “legs” that sprout from the Scarab can act independently, striking at and stabbing enemies while Jaime is occupied. Even his agility is upgraded, and not just through the power of flight. Blue Beetle is able to effortlessly pull off martial arts techniques that Jaime didn’t seem to know otherwise. This speaks to the nature of his bond with the Scarab, which is far more than merely putting on a second layer of skin.
How Does Blue Beetle’s Scarab Work?
The Scarab isn’t a simple device that Blue Beetle uses like the gadgetry of the Ted Kord Blue Beetle. Instead, the alien Scarab bonds with Jaime at a neurological level, merging with his spine and wrapping around his brain stem. Khaji-Da’s cells eventually start merging with Jaime’s, and the two from then on become a more efficiently symbiotic pair. This makes Blue Beetle similar to the Venom symbiote seen in Spider-Man and Venom movies, with both even jokingly referred to as entering their hosts in a sensitive way.
Due to the bond needed to make for a more perfect union, Jaime is initially unskilled at using the Scarab’s abilities. His flight is uneven, and he completely lacks control over his constructs, with Khaji-Da pretty much taking over entirely. It’s only after gaining further access to Jaime’s mind and memories that the Scarab is able to unite with him more efficiently. This also allows Jaime to utilize martial arts moves that he likely saw in movies but had never mastered him. Such fighting skill is a definite change from the comics, wherein the Tim Drake Robin once noted that Jaime didn’t know how to fight.
The constructs are even seemingly drawn from Jaime’s memory and imagination, with one of his weapons resembling a Buster Sword from Final Fantasy. There’s also the potential for hive mind connection, which happens when Carapax and the One-Man Army Corps prototypes are downloading the Scarab’s information. This gives Khaji-Da access to Carapax’s memories, revealing his tragic road to villainy. Such a neurological bond is a definite strength, but it’s also one of Blue Beetle’s weaknesses.
What are Blue Beetle’s Weaknesses?
While Jaime’s abilities as Blue Beetle are incredible, he isn’t invulnerable. Sufficient strength can overwhelm him, with the stronger Carapax being able to beat him even when the latter is at his weakest. Battering the Scarab’s exoskeleton with continual pressure will render it as weak as any other skin, with Jaime’s “mask/helmet” being broken and chipped away by Carapax. The villainous Victoria Kord also has a gigantic clawed weapon that is able to neutralize Blue Beetle, with the Scarab unable to create anything that could overcome it. It’s likely that due to Kord’s study of the object beforehand, the claw may have been based around technology devised specifically to counteract the Scarab.
Conversely, the host has to have a strong bond with the Scarab in order for it to work at its best, as it will otherwise be totally in control and act to the extreme. This could be seen when Khaji-Da was going to employ lethal measure until Jaime pleaded otherwise. Once the host and Scarab’s relationship deepens, however, the reverse can be true, as shown when the Scarab overrided Jaime’s desire to kill Caparax. It would seem that the full offensive and defensive capabilities of the alien device can only be truly unlocked when such a bond occurs, explaining Jaime’s increased durability throughout the film. Unfortunately, one major drawback is that the bond can’t be severed unless Jaime dies, which was originally how Khaji-Da was separated from former host Dan Garrett.
Due to their in-sync nature, it’s also somewhat difficult for the Scarab to act entirely independently once truly bonded, especially if Jaime is otherwise occupied. This is why Kord’s claw was able to attack Blue Beetle without the Scarab defending Jaime, as he was mentally concerned with his dying father. He and the Khaji-Da still weren’t entirely bonded, however, and their strengthened union was later shown in the Scarab deploying legs against some of Jaime’s attackers. Jaime was even able to come back from being seemingly beaten again due to his emotional outrage, showing that emotional state might also be a key factor — for better or worse — on how the Scarab operates. Since this is his first movie and the fact that the hero may appear in the rebooted DC Universe, it’s likely that further adventures will explore how much farther Blue Beetle’s powers can take him.
Blue Beetle is now playing in theaters.