Power Rangers (2017)
PG-13 / 124 mins.
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler
Director: Dean Israelite
I like to have fun at the movies. There is a place for more complex and deeper stories, but a big fun, dumb action movie acts as tasty junk food from time to time. The reboot of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, simply titled Power Rangers, is that type of movie for me. It is a ton of fun and the cheesy b-tier action sequences will keep a grin on your face from beginning to end.
Am I the biggest Power Rangers fan? Definitely not. In fact, I do not have the same affinity that some have for the beloved Saturday morning TV show. I have watched the show a couple of times in my youth, but it was not something that I truly cared for. I understand the show on a basic level, but never went out of my way to dig deeper. Because of this, my expectations for the movie were at an absolute minimum. I also had a couple of beers before the feature, so this might have attributed to my liking of this movie. Let’s face it…beer can help make a lot of things better.
One of my favorite things from the movie, as well as one of my biggest issues, are the characters. The five unlikely rangers include Jason (Dacre Montgomery) as the Red Ranger, Kimberly (Naomi Scott) as the Pink Ranger, Billy (RJ Cyler) as the Blue Ranger, Zack (Ludi Lin) as the Black Ranger, and Trini (Becky G.) as the Yellow Ranger. The cast gels well together and they are all really likable. They are quippy and humorous, especially Billy, who often steals the spotlight. What makes his character even better is the fact that he is on the spectrum. Most movies are hit or miss with their depictions of characters on the spectrum, but Power Rangers actually nails it and produces a fantastic character. Despite how likable this crew is, almost all over their backstories and character moments are botched. The first half of the movie, the weaker half, mostly serves to introduce the characters and their backstories. It plays like a glorified YA novel. There were a lot of character moments, besides Billy’s, that just felt flat on their face and could not get back up. Becky G’s character missed the mark. Zack’s story? Ehh…. Kimberley’s backstory? Kind of unimportant…and the same goes for Jason’s. I just could not get behind their stories. They were either poorly written or just plain uninteresting.
But what about the other characters? Bryan Cranston voices Zordon, the Ranger’s mentor in their endeavors. There is also Alpha 5, Zordon’s trusty robotic assistant, who is voiced by Bill Hader. The two do a great job with their respective performances, especially Hader who serves up some of the movie’s more humorous moments. The final notable character in this band of 90’s cartoon characters is Rita Repulsa, played by Elizabeth Banks. She acts as the main villain in the movie, and god bless her for it. Elizabeth’s character ranges from serious to tacky, hamming it up for the majority of the movie. I really liked her performance and thought it brought along its fair share of laughs, but I might have preferred her character to take a more serous tone, especially during the movie’s final act. I thought some scenes lost their intended tone because of her.
Power Rangers takes some time to morph into high gear (sorry…bad pun) but the final act is where it begins to take off. There are some nostalgic callbacks that will make any Power Rangers super fan giddy with glee and the action that ensues fits perfectly with the show’s attitude. The final fight includes some great shots and it is especially hard to not get hyped when Kanye West’s “Power” makes its way onto the soundtrack. It was a full thirty minutes of B-movie action that just made me smile. Sure it was corny. Sure it was laughable at times. Sure, I had some beers in me so maybe it was the alcohol talking, but I really enjoyed the final act. There was even a galactic bitch slap that left me dying of laughter in the theater.
Power Rangers never takes itself too seriously with its lighthearted fare, which might be a negative to non-fans. However, the original series was just as corny, so for the reboot to mimic that style is all the movie really needed. If you’re not a fan of the Power Rangers, then maybe this is not the movie for you. I went into this movie not expecting to be a fan…but I walked out pleasantly surprised. This movie is not winning any Oscars…but it was big, dumb fun…which I need every once in a while.