Power Rangers Review: An Unwanted Franchise That Surprisingly Works?

 

Power Rangers

Release Date: March 24, 2017

Director: Dean Israelite (Project Almanac)

Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, Bill Hader.

I’m a 90s kid and like most 90s kids I’m abnormally attached to things I enjoyed when I was 5 years old. For some reason the Power Rangers were never on that level for me. I watched several episodes of the campy TV show but I never bought in. The franchise has had several reboots on television and various different comic book series but I wasn’t convinced that a film adaptation would ever work for this property.

Power Rangers got the green light about a year and a half ago and I was skeptical. I never realized that the show had that many fans in the first place. It just seemed like a 90s show whose best days were long behind it and any attempt would end up being nothing more than a nostalgic ride. Surprisingly, I was wrong. Power Rangers ends up being a pretty fun little movie.

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Power Rangers is basically what happens when the kids from The Breakfast Club get superpowers. All five members of the main cast feel like they have been plucked right out of that movie and it doesn’t really end up being a bad thing because the characters and the performances from the young cast end up being the best part of this movie. Somehow I actually cared about these kids and there is actually a lot of potential with this cast. Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott and RJ Cyler are all going to have great careers in film. The confidence they show in their roles is astonishing. They all deliver top notch and likeable performances. The studio also did well to cast some experienced actors in the mentor roles. Bryan Cranston (who actually had an uncredited voice over role in the original show) crushes it as Zordon and Bill Hader is as funny as ever as the voice of the robot Alpha 5.

Power Rangers feels a lot like a modern superhero movie but its paced a lot slower than most of them. The script takes its time to develop the characters and you don’t even see any Power Rangers in their armor until more than halfway through. Most of the budget feels like its blown in the last half hour. It does get to the point where the CGI might be a little too much but the action still remains very fun. They tease a bit of the history behind the Power Rangers but there could have been more done to expand that mythology. It could have been something that they were leaving for a potential sequel.

I like Elizabeth Banks quite a bit as an actress and I respect her for trying to branch out a bit by playing the villain here, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite work. Banks plays Rita Repulsa like she’s been ripped right out of the original show. She’s really over the top and Rita has absolutely no motivation. She’s just evil for the sake of being evil.

There is a few callbacks to the series but the Easter Eggs are limited which was fine with me. Its very surprising how well this works as a standalone movie. There is no crappy forced love interest and there is no point where it felt like a trailer for another movie. The crew set out with the intention of making a good movie and for the most part they succeeded. Unfortunately Power Rangers barely scrapped up a profit on a 100 million dollar budget so the sequel options may be limited. If they can keep the cast and crew together I’d be happy to see another Power Rangers film. I can’t believe I liked this as much as I did.

I give Power Rangers a 70 out of 100. If you’re a 90s kid like me you should check this one out. Its available on DVD and Bluray now.

Did you watch Power Rangers as a kid? Have you seen the new movie? What’d you think?