If you grew up in the 90s like I did, then you were either a fan of the Power Rangers or were aware of their towering existence in both television and merchandise. Even though the Power Rangers have been on television since 1993, the Power Rangers are back on the big screen for the first time since 1997. In this big budget reboot, Power Rangers focuses on the story of the original Power Rangers television series characters from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (who also graced us with the classic 1995 movie). When Power Rangers hones in on its moments that bring out nostalgia, it’s a blast. And if you grew up watching this superhero team fight and make “whoosh” noises, you’ll appreciate the subtle nods that bring out undeniable glee.
Five ordinary teens 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 they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.
Borrowing elements from previous big-budget reboots like Star Trek, Power Rangers is a standard origin story that is also a jumbled conglomerate at times. The first two acts of Power Rangers are all over the place in terms of pace and tonal issues. Sure, we get character setups, montages, and the coming together of the superhero team. But some elements in this formulaic origin story are either too long to drive home their points or feel abruptly short, which leads to conflicting tones. All five of the Power Rangers are enjoyable to watch on screen, though they could have used a more polished, tight script to help them morph faster – the main reason why most people want to see the movie.
I could go in depth about every the member of the Power Rangers, but two members of the team stand out. Dacre Montgomery is the fine, now head-straight leader of the Rangers as Jason Scott, the Red Ranger, who threw away his life after one bad mistake. And RJ Cyler as Billy Cranston, the standout character of the movie and Blue Ranger, who has a knack for blowing things up. Kudos to Lionsgate for showing a superhero who is on the autism spectrum, which is the first of its kind; another member of the team represents the LGBTQ community (Becky G, who plays Trini the Yellow Ranger).
All in all, the Rangers are able to work with what they are given thanks to the charm each of them possess while also breaking a couple of barriers in terms of representing characters from minority groups in a superhero movie for the first time. And aside from the Rangers themselves, judging from how they appear on the screen, it seems that each member of the rest of the cast (which is much more recognizable) plays their part with extreme pleasure. Elizabeth Banks chews up every bit of scenery as the overzealous antagonist, Rita Repulsa, an alien invader bent on getting a crystal that could decimate earth. Bryan Cranston is likeable (like everything else he’s in) as Zordon, the mentor of the Power Rangers, who helps the team channel their togetherness. And Bill Hader brings out more than enough laughs as the voice of Zordon’s robot assistant, Alpha 5, instead of eye-rolling moments that’ll make you say, “Aye yai yai yai yai.”
The third act of Power Rangers is when things click for the movie, where B-movie action meets nonsensical nostalgia in full force. The movie takes a handful of pages out of the classic Power Rangers catalogue, where the action consistently stays over the top while the visual effects barely manage to look serviceable. But, in reality, it doesn’t really matter if you’ve seen enough Power Rangers before to know that the special effects they were able to generate back in the day meant nothing in the overall scope of the show and its story – which were just as ridiculous in the 2017 movie. Whether its hand-to-hand combat with mindless, created beings or watching giant robots fight against monsters as big as skyscrapers, Power Rangers never forgets its roots when it comes to giving those who grew up watching the show exactly what they want.
This move lays the foundation for a Power Rangers sequel, which could be more than just a nostalgia trip if given the right script treatment. But still, the nostalgia helps carry the movie and actually exceed my expectations since, even though I grew up watching the original Power Rangers, I did not figure that I would enjoy this reboot as much as I did. Even if you are not familiar with the Power Rangers, I believe you would still enjoy this movie if you just go with with its outlandish premise that sucked a whole generation of kids into following the franchise and buying all of its merchandise (like myself). Either way, I suggest you “shift into turbo” and get to the theater, because the Power Rangers are back, and they’re ready to morph into action and show you everything ridiculous they have to offer.
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