Watch Angel Manuel Soto discusses Blue Beetle
“We wanted the stakes to be more on the personal side, not on the global side,” Puerto Rican director Angel Manuel Soto tells Yahoo UK.
“We really wanted to focus on the things that we fear. Growing up, we did not fear alien invasion, we just feared home insecurity, getting food on the table, gentrification, displacement, erasure.
"Those are things that are villains in our daily life.”
“Kord, she's the villain, but it's what she does to the communities, that is the real villain of the story.”
Blue Beetle centres on Jaime Reyes, a college graduate who returns home to find out that his family are facing potential eviction from their home.
While working a job to support his family, Reyes accidentally becomes the human host to the Scarab, an alien technology that gives him superpowers. The powerful Victoria Kord then hunts him down, hoping to take Reyes’ superpowers away from him.
“[The smaller stakes] make it more visceral,” Soto says. “It's stuff that you have seen on the news, stuff that can happen next door.
"By doing it that way, I feel like it's a great starting point – so that you get to know where this hero comes from. Now [in the future] you can cheer for him without having to go through all of that again.”
Read more: Every upcoming DC movie
Soto, who was born in Puerto Rico, previously helmed Charm City Kings, a coming-of-age story that premiered at Sundance Film Festival, and led to him landing the Blue Beetle job.
The new movie marks one of the first times a Latino actor, Xolo Maridueña, has led a major live-action superhero movie.
“Historically, Latinos, in movies, have never been shown in this light,” he says.
“Being able to do a movie like this where we are authentically ourselves, where there's a lot of Spanish, where it has [practical] effects, it's not the green screen, being able to do that and show it to the world … I hope more films like this get made.”
Blue Beetle reaches UK cinemas and IMAX on 18 August. Watch a trailer below.