Power Rangers follows five ordinary high school kids who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover that they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so they will have to overcome their real-life issues and band together as the Power Rangers before it is too late.
My expectations for Power Rangers were low, all because the idea of another film adaptation sounded… odd. As a young kid, I actively watched a few seasons of the TV show (Mighty Morphin, Zeo, Turbo), but I eventually grew out of it. Then after Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, I wasn’t interested in seeing any more movies. I had my doubts about a franchise reboot. Could a longtime running TV series be properly adapted into a film again, and find its place among today’s blockbuster landscape? The answer to that question is yes, because I can honestly say that Power Rangers is good movie.
From the very first trailer, I bought into the film’s grounded approach to the lore. The look and feel of the movie is reminiscent to that of Chronicle, all the way down to its approach into telling an origin story. How these teenagers acquire these power coins and train their newfound powers is very Chronicle like, and that may have something to do with Max Landis, who wrote an early draft of the script.
The focus of the movie is mainly on these teenagers and their struggles and differences with one another. Each of them face real-life problems which reflect that of the up-and-coming generation in our society. For example, Billy Cranston (R.J. Cyler) is a kid with minor autism and is a victim to bullies in school for it. Trini (Becky G) is a teenage girl stuck in an average family, yet the story hints of her struggling to figure out her sexuality. When the story puts the focus on these teenagers fighting to come to terms with their problems in order to come together is when the movie is at its strongest. There’s clearly an inspiration that has been taken from classic coming-of-age films, like say The Breakfast Club.
Power Rangers has always been known for its diverse cast, and not only is that the case here, but these young performers are good. R.J Cyler, Dacre Montgomery (as Jason Scott/Red Ranger), and Naomi Scott (Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger) give the best performances, but along with Becky G and Ludi Lin (as Zack/ Black Ranger), they all have a strong chemistry. Throughout the marketing for Power Rangers, Elizabeth Banks has generated the most excitement since the very beginning. While I wouldn’t call her performance bad, it does at times come off as “over the top”. Her campy portrayal of Rita Repulsa contradicts the grounded approach of the other characters.
Once the Rangers finally have their armor on, is when the film departs its grounded tone. The action sequences benefit from seeing these Rangers train for combat earlier in the film, as they successfully learn to execute as one unit. The climactic battle wasn’t anything spectacular, but I admit seeing the zords fight, and later become the megazord put a smile on my face.
While Power Rangers has its flaws, in the end I still came out enjoying the movie. The inconsistent tone and lengthy runtime are noticeable, but for every one negative I find two positives. The main characters are ones I’ve become invested in seeing in future installments. For the most part, the origin story took its time with these teenagers discovering their abilities, as well as learning to live with their struggles. The humor in the script hits more than it misses, with plenty of nostalgia for the fans. From the moment he first signed on, I was confident that Dean Israelite was the right guy to direct this film, and he didn’t disappoint. To be completely honest, I came out of the theater having a good time with Power Rangers, and found myself interested in seeing more movies in this universe.
Power Rangers gets a 7.5 out of 10