This review is spoiler free.
In the 90s, the Power Rangers was a big deal. It was camp, cheesy and lots of fun.
But in 2017, gone are the ‘teenagers with attitude’ and in their place stands, what is essentially The Breakfast Club.
‘Saban’s Power Rangers follows five ordinary high school kids who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover that they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so they will have to overcome their real-life issues and band together as the Power Rangers before it is too late.’
Remaking a beloved childhood TV series onto the big screen is never an easy task. You are constantly trying to reach new fans but also pull in the old ones. You have to balance, trying to take the material in a fresh direction, whilst not insulting and changing the lore too much. Some get this right, some don’t. For Power Rangers, it was somewhere in the middle.
The film’s opening was strong, and it added something very fresh into the Power Rangers lore. As this is a non-spoiler review, we cannot say anything in great detail, but it was a very enjoyable start to the movie.
The suits looked nice, the cast overall performed well and the Zords are pretty special. But out of everything, there was one standout factor and that was R.J. Cyler’s Billy, aka the Blue Ranger. Not only was he the best Power Ranger by far, he was also the most compelling and interesting character to watch. The way in which they handled his autism was also very credible and they did an excellent job with it. Out of all the Rangers, Billy was the one you found yourself caring the most about.
Before we go in to the negatives, it is worth mentioning that there was some really great moments in this film. But with that being said…
The biggest problem that Power Rangers has is that it tries too hard, at times, to pull away from the fun aspects of the franchise. There are some nice cheesy, fun moments, but sometimes it appears a little too serious for its own good. The film also, after a great opening, does take awhile to get going.
Another issue is the villains. While Elizabeth Banks did a great job in the role as Rita Repulsa (she looked to be having lots of fun), she never felt a real threat. The villains seemed very easy to overcome, and in the end, there was never really a sense of any loss that the Rangers would have to go through. Some of the Rangers also felt very under-written.
The final battle managed to make up for a lot of the film’s problems, as it finally embraced everything that you loved about Power Rangers when you were a kid. It was exciting and ever so enjoyable, it’s just a shame that there wasn’t more of that throughout the rest of the film.
Power Rangers was a film constantly at war with itself, trying to be too many things with the contrast hurting the overall enjoyment of the movie. There is little natural flow to the story and a real lack of identity. But there were enjoyable moments that helped to paper over the very many cracks this movie has.
An enjoyable, but at times frustrating watch, Power Rangers biggest enemy was itself. For everything the film did right, it did something wrong. It could have been better, it should have been better, but in the end, it may just do enough to secure a sequel.