By Ryen Thomas
March 26, 2017
In the mid 90s it was impossible to avoid the Power Ranger’s phenomenon thanks to the original series, spin offs, and toys. Now, after a long hiatus, the Rangers are back with a modernized rendition that surprisingly manages to cut out extremely campy melodrama and yet remain fun and faithful to the heart of the original.
If you like the idea of the Breakfast Club with superhero costumes, Haim Saban’s Power Rangers is for you. Five teenage misfits are thrown together because of their love of thrill-seeking. Jason (Dacre Montgomery) a.k.a the Red Ranger is a disgraced football star, who trades in the dumb jock persona for someone who’s caring and sincere. Kimberly (Naomi Scott), the Pink Ranger, harbors loads of guilt after her mean girl ways get the best of her. Trini (Beck G), the Yellow ranger desperately tries to sort out her identity and Zack (Ludi Lin), the Black Ranger balances out his thrill-seeking ways with taking care of his ailing mother. And then there’s Billy, the timid Blue Ranger played by RJ Cyler who steals every scene he’s in with so much likability, warmth and hilarious idiocracy.
If it’s a grand adventure they want, they get it thanks to Zordon (Bryan Cranston), who true to form doesn’t phone in his role as mentor of the rag tag Rangers. His goal is to whip them into shape to fight an ancient battle brought into modern times thanks to his age old rival Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks).
Rita was an over the top, screeching hag in the original, but Banks creates a formidable foe who is so frightening at times that parents and young viewers should beware a handful of horrific moments. Older fans know without a doubt that the Rangers must unite to take her down or it WILL be the end of the world as they know it.
Uniting is not second nature for this group of individualists but watching them come together is the heart of the movie with themes on true friendship, authenticity and sacrifice being thrown right into our face.
“We’re all screw-ups,” says the Red Ranger who also learns a lesson in leadership, and viewers will love watching each Ranger grow into heroes who clean up well.
Their journey is swift, and the plot wastes no time driving through their origins. In fact, there are moments when things come together too fast and the film relies heavily on exposition to get information out. This makes Power Rangers feel at times like the story is driving the characters instead of the characters driving the story.
However, the film’s saving grace is with its beloved and believable characters. Enjoying them and their chemistry thankfully helps the plot holes go down smoothly and when the film gets heavy handed, their well-timed humor reminds us that a movie like this is supposed to be fun and not take itself too seriously.
I look forward to the sequel and give this a strong 3.5.
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5