'Power Rangers' Works for Both Old Fans and New Audiences
Go Go Power Rangers! That’s what you’ll be singing to yourself as you walk out the Lionsgate’s new gritty reboot of the kids TV show from the 90’s, because regardless if you enjoyed the film, that song is just too damn catchy. Saban’s Power Rangers sees our new group of Rangers discovering their power coins and learning what it means to morph and be part of a team, all in time to stop the evil (and gloriously campy) Rita Repulsa played by Elizabeth Banks.
I’m going to come clean here; I never watched the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers as a kid, so I have no nostalgia or reverence for this series whatsoever. Yet I was intrigued by the film’s goal to give us a grittier reboot of the familiar characters people my age had come to adore and look back upon with rose colored glasses. As for the film itself, I surprisingly enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. The trailers made it look like discount Chronicle meets discount Transformers, but the movie, while employing elements of both, manages to feel like its own. The Rangers themselves were interesting for the most part, though the actress who played the Pink Ranger overacted a lot of her more emotional scenes. RJ Cyler, who starred in Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, was by far the standout as Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger, his character providing some genuine comic relief and the biggest emotional tie in the film.
Now we get to the negatives, and there’s quite a few. The first is probably the most abhorrent use of product placement since Mark Wahlberg cracked open and drank a Bud Light in the middle of a war zone in Transformers: Age of Extinction. ***POTENTIAL SPOILERS*** Billy (and eventually Rita) learn that the crystal that bestows life upon the Earth is hidden under a Krispy Kreme. Really? Really Lionsgate? How much did Krispy Kreme pay you to have Rita Repulsa stop her attack on Angel Grove to have a donut? I personally thought it was hilarious that they took it that far (and added to the overall cheese and schlock of the last third of the film), but it was shocking nonetheless.
The story is your basic superhero origin story that we’ve seen 20 times over the last 15 years, but the characters are what make you stay invested. It’s your standard find out how to use our powers and become a team to fight for the greater good story. The characters for the most part are well rounded and interesting. Brian Cranston and Bill Hader also give very good performances as Zordon and Alpha 5 respectively. My one complaint is, again, the Pink Ranger. Each of the Rangers has bad things they’re dealing with/they’ve done in their life. Pink Ranger declines to share with the other Rangers what happened in her life for much of the movie, which made no sense to me. I understand she’s ashamed of what she did but in the scheme of what the other Rangers are going through, it’s not worth all the secrecy.
Overall I enjoyed the new Power Rangers and I think it will make fans of the original happy and excited to see another film in this franchise. Be sure to wait a second after the credits start as there is a mid-credits scene that fans of the show will love (I had to have my friend explain the significance to me). But if you’re interested in seeing this film and/or are a Power Rangers fan, I would definitely recommend seeing it in the theater.