“It’s morphin’ time…
When the evil Rita Repulsa rises from the depths of the ocean, five teenagers from Angel Grove must unite as the Power Rangers!
Understandably, Lionsgate opted to remove “Mighty Morphin’” from the title and left us with just Power Rangers. It makes sense that they want to distance yourself a little bit from the “old-school” show that was more cheese than substance.
Expectations going into this film could not have been lower. Despite being a huge fan of the show, I had my reservations. But ultimately I walked out pleasantly surprised. That is not to say that this modern day reboot is not without its faults; however, they aren’t obstructive enough that they can’t build off it and come back with a stronger sequel (which they set up in a big way).
The story starts off strong, both establishing the characters and the Zordon/Rita relationship. Being that this did start off as a kids show with very little backstory (at least in the American version), the writers could have done a number of things with these characters and their origins, though I can’t argue with their decision to make them both realistic and relatable.
The two most noticeable are Becky G.’s ‘Trini’, the Yellow Ranger, being a bi-curious female (we never get confirmation of whether she is a lesbian or bi-sexual, but this is still the first openly out superhero on film) and RJ Cyler’s ‘Billy’, the Blue Ranger, is on the autistic spectrum which was written beautifully and leads to stronger friendship connections. Dacre Montgomery’s ‘Jason’, the Red Ranger, and Naomi Scott’s ‘Kimberly’, the Pink Ranger, each had their moments as well. Watching Dacre’s ‘Jason’ stand to a bully who is picking on ‘Billy’ is something that every kid (and sadly some adults) need to see. Seeing a person, with no powers, stand up for those who are different is what a hero does and Dacrew does a great job at fumbling his way to becoming the leader he was destined to be.
Unfortunately Ludi Lin’s ‘Zack’, the Black Ranger, doesn’t thrive as much of the others. Becoming more of an annoyance than is ever necessary, Lin’s portrayal suffers from insufficient writing as they dwell on his sympathetic backstory. You can’t help but wish that he would just silently slip into the background and serve as visual art.
On the alien front, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader and Elizabeth Banks all do solid work in their respective roles. Zordon isn’t the loveable father figure from the show, but rather a former Ranger who failed at his mission and is now trying to train this new class of rangers. Hader’s ‘Alpha-5’ is unexpectedly pretty funny and I’m hoping he will get more dialogue in future installments. Banks’ ‘Rita Repulsa’ marks the prefect villain for the Rangers to face off against. Murderous in every way, she works to destroy the Earth so she can move on to other planets.
Are there “cheesy” moments? Of course. We do hear “It’s Morphin’ Time”, we do see ‘putties’ and yes, we do hear the original theme song. But all these things make the film (and experience) that much better.
I have to mention the underwater fight sequence between the Rangers and the putties that probably worked better in someone’s head than on the screen. Then there are the zords’ suits that people have been complaining about since initial images were released months ago. We were all right, they look weird. Thankfully there is enough good to distract you from that.