Saban seems to have taken note of what made Marvel studios so effective with their properties and adapts their formula for the Power Rangers.
Characters & Storyline
It has been 65 million years since the Power Rangers defended Earth from Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). Back then, she was once the promising Green Ranger, part of the then Red Ranger, Zordon’s (Bryan Cranston) team. However, the power given to her was not enough. She wanted more and so Zordon did what he could to stop her, but it wasn’t enough.
However, in the future, thanks to one odd kid named Billy (RJ Cyler), alongside Rita’s corpse being fished from the sea, the Power Rangers are once more needed. But with such different lives led, and so many secrets, can Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy, Zack (Ludi Lin), and Trini (Becky G.) come together to defeat Rita Repulsa or will the world be destroyed in her power hungry wrath? [note]The original pink ranger makes a cameo appearance, in human form.[/note]
It Seems Almost Like a Marvel Movie, But With a Good Villain
Marvel has set many precedents which, while DC may decide to forge their own path, it seems others rather use the formula which works over trying something new. So, like any Marvel movie, there is a lot of comedy to go alongside the action. Most of which comes from Billy who is a young Black guy, somewhere on the autism spectrum, and who has a thing for explosions. Billy, honestly, is the Groot of this movie. The majority of his lines are either something oddly cute and touching, or else a joke. And in the grand scheme of things, while Jason maybe the Red Ranger, and the assigned leader, it is Billy who really ends up being the star of the film.
Switching to the topic of the villain, Elizabeth Banks surprised me. Like many, I know her as a comedic actress or else for her role in The Hunger Games. So while, I should note, her villainous ways aren’t so diabolical that they may scare children, she does come off as a convincing and authentic villain. Albeit one we don’t really get a quality backstory on, in terms of why she became evil, but her performance is good enough that you’ll only think about that as you leave the theater.
On The Fence
There Are Dark Emotional Parts Which Are Underwhelming
With this movie having a bunch of teenagers, and diversity being a big deal in modern times, naturally they each have different skin tones and unique issues. Trini is coming to terms with her sexuality, Billy is a high functioning young man with autism, and then Zach is dealing with a mom dying from some unnamed disease. Jason and Kimberly have problems too but, in comparison, they seem like 1st world problems.
But, while these kids have serious issues, of which lead to almost all of them often feeling alone or on the brink of having no one, you never feel the full weight of their issues. Part of the reason is, like when it comes to Trini’s sexuality, it does seem like a ploy just to appeal to the LGBT market. Then with Billy’s autism, it is used as both a tool to show how his mind is specialized but also a means to set up him being bullied and making countless jokes. Then, in terms of the dying mom, while we are told she is all Zach has left, this isn’t a serious drama film with veteran actors.
As dark as things get, which includes Rita proving she is on a completely different level in comparison to the rangers, you likely won’t get emotional. The actors will make you laugh and as they get close you may think “Aw,” but even as they reveal their vulnerabilities and secrets, you won’t find yourself touched by a single actors’ performance. Well, maybe Cyler’s, but only because Billy doesn’t seem to plead for cheap sympathy.
The Fight Scenes Were Kind of As Corny As The Original Movie/ Early Series
While the training scenes were cool and it was exciting as all the dino-bots morphed together and fought Rita, the fight scenes are as corny as the original films and the early series. For with this film clearly, heavily, relying on CGI, and it seeming the stunt actors wanting to keep the spirit of the original picture, the moves seem overly choreographed and like watching a WWE match. They still have cool moments, especially in regards to the dino-bots, but when it is hand to hand, you’ll get nostalgic for how corny this franchise got as you got older.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
Arguably, Power Rangers goes beyond feeding into 90s nostalgia and does try to update the franchise to fit the times. Granted, some of it seems thrown out there to get people talking, like having a queer character, but when it comes to Billy and his autism, you don’t feel like there is a gimmick there. Yet, to be completely honest, it is rather hard to imagine watching the surely impending sequels. For while Cyler seems to have a future in acting, his peers need more experience than what this franchise will give them. Especially if the future films are going to maintain the quality of action Power Rangers is known for and give us more of the rangers’ personal drama than fight scenes.
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