In our ‘Power Rangers’ review, we take a look at the rebooted film from the classic 1990’s television show…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Let’s just get this out there right now — no one was really asking for a reboot of the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ yet a new film of the popular 1990’s live action series opens this weekend in theaters nationwide.
Of course it should come as no surprise that ‘Power Rangers’ is being released right now considering the attention that comic book movies have received over the past few years not to mention the laundry list of 1980’s staples like ‘Transformers’ and ‘GI Joe’ being re-launched with live action versions that rake in money at the box office, although never seem to receive much praise critically.
But it seems somebody has been watching carefully on what not to do when rebooting a kid’s series for an audience for 2017 because ‘Power Rangers’ manages to not only tell a creative origin story but also make a compelling action movie for viewers of all ages.
Add to that, ‘Power Rangers’ effectively kicks off with five fresh new faces in the starring roles but still managed to pull in legitimate ‘A’ list talent like Bryan Crantson and Elizabeth Banks, who really steal the show during the course of the movie.
‘Power Rangers’ isn’t reinventing the wheel by any stretch of the imagination but for a fun, popcorn flick that kids and adults will all enjoy, this reboot seems to tick all the boxes for a good time at the movies.
With that said, let’s look at our review for ‘Power Rangers’…
The film starts with a journey back millions of years when the original team of Power Rangers were going up against Rita Repulsa (Banks) for the very soul of life as we know it. In those days the Red Ranger was an alien named Zordon (played by Cranston), but when his team came up short in their fight with the evil Rita Repulsa, he was forced to use a catastrophic weapon to stop her, which buried the team and his eternal enemy deep inside the Earth.
Fast forward to present day when five outcasts from school stumble upon the coins that activate the Power Rangers’ ship where Zordon has been saved as an entity along with his trusty sidekick Alpha-5 (played by Bill Hader). At the same time, Rita Repulsa’s body has been recovered from a watery grave and when she begins wreaking havoc with plans to once again snuff out life as we know it in the universe, it’s up to the rag-tag team of teenage Power Rangers to stop her.
It’s not exactly “The Usual Suspects” with plot twists and turns, but the story works for “Power Rangers”
Right off the bat it’s clear that both Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks had a lot of fun with their roles in ‘Power Rangers’.
Cranston’s graveled voice and huge gravitas make Zordon a believable leader despite the fact that we only really see flashes of him during the movie because his character is really just a detached head floating on a video screen.
Meanwhile, Banks is by far the best part of the film as she really goes for it as the villainous Rita Repulsa complete with the icy gaze of a classic comic book bad guy complete with an evil cackling laugh that’s on display every time she gets the better of the Rangers during the movie.
Banks looks like she’s having so much fun with this role and that only makes it that much better when it comes across on screen.
As far as the five newcomers who make up the actual ‘Power Rangers’, everybody has a good moment or two during the film but it’s safe to say RJ Cyler, who plays Blue Ranger Billy, is the real show stealer from this part of the cast. His quirky character is both heartfelt and comical from his first appearance until the last frame of the film rolls.
Directing and Writing
Relative newcomer Dean Israelite didn’t have an easy job to make the ‘Power Rangers’ relevant again in 2017 but he did an admirable job with this film from the emotionally charged scenes that decorate the first half of the film all the way the massive action shots that permeate the second part of the movie.
Israelite stayed true in large part to what made the original ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ a popular afternoon watch for kids getting out of school while also adding new elements to draw in a new audience who may be discovering this series for the first time.
The writing on ‘Power Rangers’ is also very solid with dialogue that doesn’t necessarily sound like it’s made for kids but at the same time never gets too graphic where parents will be watching and wondering why they took their children to see it.
Again, ‘Power Rangers’ isn’t making huge strides in filmmaking for this kind of a genre movie, but it’s definitely a well written and well executed piece of pop culture goodness.
What’s Wrong with the Movie?
‘Power Rangers’ is largely an origin story so if you’re going into the theater thinking that the action is going to pick up after 20 or 30 minutes, you’ll probably be surprised. This film takes plenty of time developing the characters before ever seeing them in those famous color coded suits, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
At the same time, the origin tale takes so long that by the time the Power Rangers are at full strength fighting back against Rita Repulsa, the movie is almost at its end. The good news is this set up and elaborate execution to get there only means a sequel — which let’s be honest is inevitable — already has a great foundation to stand on.
‘Power Rangers’ manages to get it right where Michael Bay has gone wrong far too many times over the years with his constant reboots from the same genre of kid’s shows remade as feature films. No one is going to say that ‘Power Rangers’ is a redefining film the way that ‘Logan’ was for comic book movies, but it’s a fun trip to the movies and sometimes that’s all you want.
Also the nod to the original cast was a nice touch and stick around for the post credits scene, which teases something very interesting for the sequel, which will undoubtedly be coming sooner rather than later.
Overall, ‘Power Rangers’ gets 4 out of 5 on the Skolnick Scale.