It feels a little bit like the early 1990s. However, it’s not. I’m not wearing Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers underwear and I’ve outgrown my old Red Ranger costume from second grade. That still didn’t stop me from enjoying the new Power Rangers movie. The movie is a fun superhero romp that does it’s job of offering audiences a morphenomenal good time.
The movie opens with Zordon (played by Bryan Cranston) fighting Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). She gets flung into the ocean, Zordon bites the dust, and then we move to the present day Angel Grove, a small fishing town somewhere in British Columbia that I interpreted as Oregon in my head. High school football star Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery) wrecks his truck and is put under house arrest and Saturday detention. There he meets Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler) and former cheerleader Kimberly Hart (Naomi Scott). Billy and Jason bond, go to a mine where Billy’s deceased father used to work, and there they meet Zack Taylor (Ludi Lin) and Trini Kwan (Becky G). They also discover some weird stones and this is where things start to feel like a superhero flick.
While escaping mine security, the five of them are involved in a car accident that should have killed them, but wake up in their beds very much alive and with SUPER STRENGTH!!! We get to see them discover their powers, Zordon’s spaceship, Alpha-5 (voiced by Bill Hader), and through some exposition, they are told they are Power Rangers, the defenders of all life on planet Earth because they have to defend this thing called the Zeo Crystal from a resurrected Rita.
The Rangers spend time training with Alpha-5 and getting to know each other. More importantly, the audience gets to know our heroes normal life struggles. Without spoiling too much, the problems each Ranger deals with involves their home life and are usually based around issues they have with their parents. The problems are tired clichés, but they help make the characters more relatable. It also makes the film feel a bit like The Breakfast Club.
After struggling to find their identity as a team, we finally FINALLY get to the see the Rangers morph into their suits, fight Putties, pilot their Zords, and knock Rita into the inevitable sequel (I actually hope there is a sequel because they teased us with Tommy Oliver at the end).
Fortunately, the film’s flaws, while prominent, don’t ruin or overshadow the fun of it all. The Krispy Kreme product placement is cheeky and dumb, but bearable. There are a couple of scenes that could have been chopped because they didn’t really add anything to the movie, and the loss of those scenes wouldn’t have hurt anything. The movie does run a little long, but the pay off was worth it. The final twenty minutes felt less like a movie and more like an episode of the TV series, which is what audiences really want. Seeing the Zords charge to the “Go go, Power Rangers” chorus was one of the most fun things I’ve seen all year.
Speaking of fun, RJ Cyler looked like he was having a blast as Billy, both in and out of the Blue Ranger suit. Cranston and Banks both gave stellar performances as Zordon and Rita. Banks’s acting has been praised by many critics and reviewers because she goes over the top and wallows in her role as an evil space sorceress. Cranston’s voice acting gives Zordon an undeniable presence and power. The three brought a much needed enthusiasm to their parts that made the film way more fun. Ludi Lin, who played Zack, left a good impression, too. His performance was solid and believable, but I wish he had brought more to it. I think he underplayed his role in some respects, but he really shines in scenes that involve his character’s sick mother. The other Rangers acted a little too stiff, and this could be because the actors didn’t have a lot to work with due to their somewhat underdeveloped characters. Their performances were a little on the bland side and just didn’t leave much of an impression on me, but if there are sequels, I hope they get a chance to steal the show.
Power Rangers is much better than I expected. It had one job to do, which was be a fun movie. It does that job well despite some improvements that could have been made to the final product. I’m not so sure that it’ll appeal to little kids, but it is fine for people in their teens or twenties, or someone just wanting a watch a superhero movie that’s not DC or Marvel. It made me want to be a Power Ranger again, so I’m going to give it 3 Goldars out of 5.