The Power Rangers movie is finally here. For the first time, we have the full cast of original characters Jason, Kimberly, Zack, Trini and Billy on the big screen. We have our modernised look into what the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers can be and this group of angsty teens came out swinging.
I was born in 1990 and was all-in during the years of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Sorry to all other groups of Rangers but my love was committed to the Mighty Morphin bunch. I had the toys, costumes, bed sheets, school supplies and more. Anything that had “Power Rangers” printed on it, I had and lucky for me my cheeky grandparents bought two of each toy and kept the second set in their original packaging. Thanks, Grandma and Sha. Of course, out of the bunch of teenage martial artist, I had the biggest man-crush on the Green Ranger, Tommy. I know I wasn’t alone, but man, he was just so cool.
Fast forward to now, I still have some of those toys, in-box, in my collection and I still have a Green Ranger shirt so my body screams nerd in public (never helped me pick up girls like it did for Tommy, however). Enter in the news of a new Power Rangers movie. Now, I try not to get hyped up over much. I’m let down too often by hype and early trailers, working in video games media will do that to you. But when the Power Rangers trailers started coming out, it sucked what little excitement I had right out of me.
Every single trailer or preview I saw for this movie told me, straight to my big, nerdy face that I was going to hate this. Think of the kind of disappointment you get when you think of the newer Transformer or Ninja Turtle movies. I was expecting more of that, you know, trash. From the weird looking suits, a Goldar that looks like slop and a Megazord that looks like someone cosplaying Optimus Prime. I wasn’t expecting anything, but I was excited.
This review will be as spoiler friendly as possible so don’t worry too much about having the movie ruined for you. But in case you’re trying to stay totally in the dark about the whole thing, I’ll tell you here that I loved it. This movie blew me away with how good it is and put that big dumb smile on my nerdy face towards the end of the movie that must have mimicked my smile hearing the opening theme of that awful TV show when I was a kid.
First, I’ll start with some cons, the movie wasn’t perfect by any means but not every home run is a grand slam.
Keeping with true Power Rangers tradition, some of the dialogue is a little questionable. But it’s not often I was shaking my head over a corny line or a joke because the characters were set up so nicely that I believed they were High School kids and High School kids say those things, make those jokes. So as corny as it got, it still felt like it fit. Most of the bad dialogue comes from the stereotypes each character are playing up but it was nothing compared to the TV series or even the bad one-liners found in other superhero movies.
Following that, another complaint I had, albeit a small one, was the soundtrack. The movie has your typical “action movie” soundtrack that plays for montages or pre-action sequences. But this is an issue I have with a lot of movies, that mainstream songs just take me out of the moment a little and make me realise I’m watching a movie. Hearing Kanye West or Fitz and the Tantrums brought me back to reality for what might have been a minute or two. Outside of those mainstream songs, I enjoyed the rest of the movie’s soundtrack.
Walking out of the movie back to my car, that was all of the issues I could find with what I had just seen. The movie doesn’t hit perfect tens anywhere but each aspect was solid and left me totally surprised. With that being said, time for me to gush over the good parts of the film.
The Power Rangers, at their core, were about being a team, working together and being there for each other and this movie drives that point home wonderfully. The team building and friendship provide the life of the movie without feeling like a heavy-fisted moral to take home. Here we have five misfit teens who don’t know each other and they don’t just instantly get along, there’s real work being shown here. Each character pours emotions out to each other so that they can connect so that they can be a team. The movie shows the uphill battle of building relationships and the commitment necessary to call one another a friend.
What I think lent itself the best to that feeling of teamwork was the performance by the actors. Now, like I said not everything was perfect and some steps were missed here but this group nailed these roles. Billy (RJ Cyler) was portrayed greatly and played the super nerd role that you would expect to run into instead of the pocket protector wearing wonder of yesteryear. Dacre Montgomery and Naomi Scott pulled off the popular kid stereotype of Jason and Kimberly around Angel Grove, Ludi Lin did a great job playing a reckless version of Zach and Becky G played an interestingly stand-offish Trini. Each actor meshed well together and you could see the chemistry between them grow throughout the movie.
Outside of the Rangers, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) was awesome. She was the villain Rita should have always been, she was absolutely evil. The writing for some of Rita’s lines were a little weird and questionable, they just didn’t fit with how the story played out. But her actions overall made her feel like a real threat rather than sitting in a Moon base watching the carnage from afar. I was worried about how Zordon (Bryan Cranston) and Alpha 5 (Bill Hader) would be in this but that was quickly erased once everyone was on screen. Alpha 5 was a nice bit of sarcasm and humour added to the more intense scenes for the Rangers and Zordon wasn’t just a face to tell them what to do. Overall the cast impressed me and only provided a few minor faults.
The movie wasn’t as action heavy as I thought it was going to be, and that made a huge difference. Since most of the movie is telling the origin of the Rangers and getting them together to fight Rita, martial arts and fighting take a back seat. That’s a good thing because it made fighting important instead of running around aimlessly fighting Putties. But the best part about the hand to hand combat of the Rangers was, once they had to use their small amount of training, they didn’t look like pros or naturals. These kids were rushed into their new roles of superheroes so the issues they have in combat was refreshing in the sense that, they weren’t instantly kicking ass because they had new found powers. They failed constantly, the teens had to grow and learn. So the raw fighting ability they had was a nice touch and it was even nicer when they were able to use their training as a team.
Another sense of importance in the movie comes from actually morphing into a Power Ranger. The suits aren’t overused or over exposed to the audience so when we do finally see them we, the viewer, get the sense of, “yes, they did it!” versus the feeling we would get if they had everything in the first ten minutes. This positive stems from the mentioned training and team building the group goes through so the payoff here is heavy and it hits home for any Power Ranger fan.
Power Rangers is the modern telling of a childhood show we loved and this movie does it excellently. It rights the wrongs of other movies before it that have tried the same thing. It’s not perfect and there is room for improvement but Power Rangers was awesome. This movie had everything I wanted out of a Power Ranger film and, I know it doesn’t have much competition, but it’s easily the best Power Ranger feature there is. If you grew up with any group, especially the Mighty Morphin, of Rangers this is a movie you should see.