Movie Review: Power Rangers (Spoilers)

Despite not being a hard core fan of the “Power Rangers” property, it is one that I did watch on and off as a kid, particularly the “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” series that aired from 1993 to 1996. I remember that a good friend of mine and I used to pretend that we were members of the Power Rangers, and I was always the Pink Ranger or Kimberly Hart; and I remember that I always thought that the triceratops dinozord was pretty cool. So, when I heard that they were going to do a reboot film for this property, I was both excited and scared at the same time. However, I did gain confidence in it being just a fun movie after seeing the initial trailers for it.

Honestly, the one thing that I wanted the movie to do was for it to not be horrible; to be fun and campy; and to have elements in it which hard core fans and casual fans of the property can recognize, and have fun with all the nostalgia that comes with it. In those respects, I think that it succeeded, while adding an element of it being a little bit more grounded. It’s not a perfect or great movie, but it definitely is a great popcorn kind of movie to watch.  Also, don’t leave the movie house right away as soon as the movie ends because there is a mid-credits scene.

The film was directed by Dean Israelite, with a screenplay by John Gatins, and with music by Brian Tyler. It stars Dacre Montogomery as Jason Scott or the Red Ranger, Naomi Scott as Kimberly Hart or the Pink Ranger, RJ Cyler as Billy Cranston or the Blue Ranger, Becky G as Trini or the Yellow Ranger, Ludi Lin as Zack or the Black Ranger, Bill Hader as the robot Alpha 5, Bryan Cranston as Zordon, and Elizabeth Banks as the villainous Rita Repulsa.

The story follows these five teenagers who stumble across five different colored Power Coins, which, in turn, makes them become the superhero team known as the Power Rangers, whose primary mission is to protect a powerful crystal inside the earth known as the Zeo Crystal from the forces of evil, such as Rita Repulsa. Along the way, the five teenagers come together, even though they are all outcasts and misfits and don’t trust each other in the beginning, and find among themselves a new family to which they belong to. Helping in their quest is Zordon, the previous Red Ranger, and Alpha 5, a sentient robot.

Generally speaking, I enjoyed the movie, and I loved that it really delved into their characters before they were able to morph. However, there were moments that did feel a little bit rushed, and it did have a little bit of trouble finding the right kind of tone, especially during the second part, when it began to drag just a little bit, but not so much. However, I was surprised that the acting of the Rangers themselves was good, and even if they changed several parts of Power Rangers lore, it stayed very true to the essence of what the Power Rangers is.

I thought that Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott and RJ Cyler were the clear standouts in the film, but that also may be because the movie spent more time developing them as compared to Ludi Lin’s and Becky G’s characters.

However, as someone who does have an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), I give mad props to Cyler’s portrayal of someone who has ASD, as I saw myself very much in him, with the way he talked, researched, moved and reacted. And I love that his team and friends are such a strong support system for him, and they treat him normally, albeit with some extra encouragement, or friendly warning signs for him to stop talking, as needed. For this, kudos to Israelite, the writers and Cyler for doing this, especially as this is probably the first time that I have seen a character who is on the spectrum be a superhero.

Also, I should mention that this cast is pretty diverse in every sort of way. And that there were moments that would make anyone who used to watch the show or shows, happy. The design of their suits and the Megazord was better than I expected, and I liked the design they used for it.

You know the drill, from here on out, there will be spoilers, so please be warned!

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As I mentioned earlier, I really had a ton of fun watching this film, and there were moments in which I found myself figuratively jumping up and down with excitement, like when they first were shown the dinozords, when they got their power coins, them doing stuff like in the ’90s show with fight sequences and leaps and poses, and of course, that scene of all them in their respective dinozords going to Angel Grove while the “Power Rangers” theme song played. (And yes, I kind of did sing the song in my head while that was happening.)

I really liked  how they were able to change some aspects of the Power Rangers lore to this adaptation, while making it still work.

I also liked how we were able to spend some time getting to know these kids, and seeing them struggle to learn how to fight and, in the process, learn a little bit more about themselves. However, I did think that I wasn’t as invested in the Yellow Ranger and Black Ranger as much as I was with the other three, and in particular, with Billy, or the Blue Ranger, who, undoubtedly became the heart and soul of the team.

Billy was never the strongest or the Power Ranger that people remembered from the original series, but here, I was so invested in the character that I would have gotten really annoyed if they didn’t bring him back to life. (Yes, deus ex machina much, but I didn’t care as long as I got Billy back.) Also, I didn’t understand as to why exactly Rita singled the Yellow Ranger out as the person she came to visit leading up towards the third act of the film.

While that was interesting, I did think that that part of the film, the training montage and group bonding, was a little bit overextended, in my opinion.

However I perked up again with the ’90s style but better fight sequences came on, although I really did not like the fight sequences underwater. I wish they had just done all of the fight sequences of them fighting the Putties on ground.

Now, Elizabeth Banks was a very interesting choice to play Rita Repulsa, and I really liked her at the beginning of the film because she was quite intimidating. However, during the one big action sequence, she became a little bit funny and too campy  to be intimidating. I wish that she could have been a little bit more menacing instead of being a campy comic book villain.

Brian Cranston and Bill Hader thought, were excellent choices as Zordon and Alpha 5, respectively, and did anyone notice the two original Power Rangers actors that showed up in the crowd after the big battle?

Tonally, I thought that they struggled to find the right tone, as there was this whole “Breakfast Club” thing going on at the beginning, then the training montage, then them becoming the Power Rangers which allowed the movie to be more of a Power Rangers movie at that point. Also, there were some parts that I felt were a little bit disjointed and rushed. However, I saw what they were trying to do there, and can forgive them a little for that.

The mid-credits scene admittedly got me more excited than I thought I would be over the thought of a sequel, especially as they teased that Tommy Oliver will be joining the group as the Green Ranger.

Overall, it was a fun popcorn movie, and I really, really hope that they would be able to come up with a better and more menacing villain (maybe Lord Zedd?), having the team bond more, more action sequences, and having higher stakes than in this film. (Also, no more battling Putties in the water, okay?)

So, yes, go, watch and enjoy this film, just make sure to stay after the movie ends for that mid-credits scene, and don’t expect too much out of it, and you’ll be fine.

Favorite Moment/s:

  • When they first tried to morph and failed.
  • When they were first shown their Dinozords.
  • When Billy first morphed.
  • When they all morphed and got their suits.
  • Them leaping out of that cavern and landing on the ground above saying something, which totally reminded me of the ’90s show.
  • That moment when they were fighting Rita’s Putties above ground, and their fight sequences were reminiscent of the fight sequences in the ’90s shows.
  • When they finally formed the Megazord.
  • That mid-credits scene in which the detention proctor was looking for Tommy Oliver and we were shown a desk with a green jacket. (Because he’s the Green Ranger.)

Favorite Quote/s:

  • It’s morphin’ time!- Alpha 5 (Bill Hader
  • The entire “Power Rangers” theme song.
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