Power Rangers may appeal to the super fans who grew up on the series but it takes so long to get to the fighting and Zords that it’s almost not worth it.
Director: Dean Israelite
Summary: A group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.
There was never any doubt that the new reboot of Power Rangers was going to thrill the super fans of the series. This is a series that has been going on for twenty-five seasons, so if someone is already invested in the series then they were going to see this regardless of the reviews. The real question about this movie was if it was going to bring in new fans. Unfortunately, this is a movie that very much feels like an “origin movie”. The movie we start out with has a group of teenagers that don’t really know each other, and it takes a decent portion of the movie to contrive a reason for all of them to be in the same place at once. Then there is the “forming a team” cliche that turns up in all of these movies. By the time the armor and Zords come out for the first time the movie is already 3/4ths of the way over and the last twenty minutes are the only moments that actually feel like a Power Rangers show.
While it takes a long time to get there, the movie never takes itself too seriously. There was a worry that it would lose the charm of the original, but despite everything looking so gloomy, the movie in general is fairly light-hearted. The humor tends to lean harder into the PG-13 rating than one would think, but the little kids in the audience likely won’t get the joke anyway. It’s just a matter of whether or not the adults are willing to look past it. There is something to be said about it being a PG-13 film at all, because this isn’t likely to bring in new young fans as much as it’ll blow the minds of older fans. If this is the beginning of a huge franchise, they need to bring in the younger audience, and when one of the first lines of dialogue in the movie is a dick joke, this doesn’t appear to be the right approach. Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) is just as over the top bonkers as she was in the original series and perhaps even moreso. Banks really goes for it and she can be downright scary at moments as she chews the scenery like a crazy person.
The cast is also well-rounded even more so than the original. While there was a token black guy and Asian girl, they have expanded beyond just making the Rangers look like a United Colors of Benetton ad. Bleeding Cool broke the news over two weeks ago now, but Trini (Becky G) is somewhere on the “queer” spectrum. She doesn’t say what she is outright but it heavily implied she is either gay or bisexual. While that is getting the most attention, Billy (RJ Cyler) is on the autistic spectrum. It’s never brought up as a negative thing and his new friends navigate how to interact him with respect. They have made an effort to make the Rangers feel like a group of kids that exists in the real world and not the “mostly white/mostly straight” TV and movie reality some fall into.
Power Rangers is likely going to delight the fans that have loved the series for a long time and the ending has a payoff that would make even the most cynical person smile. It takes a long time to get there but it does mean if they make five more (like they have planned) the sequels are likely to be a lot better because there won’t be the need for setup.
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