Like most people my age, I spent many after-school afternoons watching five teenagers with attitude save the world from the forces of evil in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. From their entrance onto the small screen in 1993, this spawned a franchise that consisting of 24 television seasons, two feature films, and an assortment of merchandise that continues to sell and gain new fans along the way.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest supporter about this movie. If someone had told me 15 years ago that there would be another Power Rangers movie, I honestly would have laughed in their face, but here we are.
Zordon (Bryan Cranston) recruits five high school students to form an unlikely team that must stop the alien threat of witch Rita Replusa (Elizabeth Banks). It’s how the series first started so why mess with the formula if it still works? That’s one of the things that I liked about this film is sticking to the main story. To me, where this film succeeded is the complete makeover that extends beyond the story. I’m not just talking about the suits (which still took me a little while to get used to).
In the beginning, we actually get a fleshed-out team-assembles origin story that brings five high school students together in the one place they would ever interact: detention. There is Darce Montgomery’s Jason (Red Ranger), the school’s quarterback with authority issues; Naomi Scott’s Kimberly (Pink Ranger), a former mean girl ex-cheerleader; RJ Cyler’s Billy (Blue Ranger), a picked-on genius who is on the autism spectrum; Ludi Lin’s Zack (Black Ranger), a daredevil with a soft core and caring for a dying mother; and Becky G’s Trini (Yellow Ranger), the new girl in school loner. Looking at this line-up, these five seem like The Breakfast Club of 2017 except these teens have powers once they blow the power coins out of a mine.
This Rangers movie updates the heroes to the 21st century and I feel that was the strong point by making the characters relatable to current times, getting the Y.A. character stuff right for the most part. The smashing action and destruction would figure itself out like always. However, it does take some time to get to know these kids and connect with them. Once they receive their power stones that gives them superhuman powers, and come face-to-face with Zordon, a digitized head on the wall. This 65-million-year-old alien hands the teens their fate-of-the-universe mission that he was unable to complete (Zordon and Rita’s past is also discussed, another strong point). The sassy robot assistant Alpha 5 was played in hilarious fashion by Bill Hader. Bank’s evil Rita Replusa was enjoyable, showing the audience how much fun Banks had playing the character.
Once we get into the action, it looks to be inspired by Michael Bay’s Transformers movies with the destruction and devastation to the town of Angel Grove. The megazords looked great, but “Goldar” looks like a CGI mess with wings and I didn’t care too much for him. Overall, this movie was more than I expected it to be. It’s best to keep in mind what you signed up for once you walk into the theater, especially if you are a Power Rangers fan. This is not an excellent, deeply thought out movie, but an entertaining two hour popcorn flick that will have kids jumping and kicking after leaving.