Power Rangers Reviewed
The 2017 version plays a lot like the original series: five misfit teens discover strange rocks and are given the gift of becoming powerful warriors. Somehow this small town of Angel Grove is the epicenter of an alien crisis led by Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) who is looking for a powerful crystal to help conquer the world. The movie plays as an origin story. We find out how these five kids get their powers, delve into some new mythology of the Ranger universe; there are training montages, the whole nine yards. But it makes me question who exactly this movie is for.
I don't think it's being made for kids, receiving a PG-13 rating and using way more language and violence than a mother of an 8 or 9-year-old may be comfortable with. I also don't know how fans of the original series will take it, as the movie lacks any of the humor or over the top kitsch that the series had. I guess they were banking on fans of the original wanting a darker, grittier storyline, but the Rangers don’t even suit up until about the 90-minute mark.
One thing the movie does do well is character development. The five main actors all have good chemistry with one another and you get to know what motivates them, which is pretty unexpected in a Power Rangers movie.
The movie is also considerably less racist than the show, which is a step in the right direction. They have a black and an asian actor as two of the five main characters but they are not cast as the black and yellow rangers. The team feels very inclusive overall, as one of the kids is on the spectrum, while another has questions about her sexuality. There really is something for every person to identify with in one of these Rangers.
If I were making a Power Rangers movie I would want it to be campy fun, not life or death battles. I don't want Bryan Cranston playing Zordon if he is just going to yell at everybody the whole time (fun fact: did you know the Blue Ranger from the original is named Billy Cranston, after Bryan Cranston?) I liked hearing the original theme song in the movie as I think any fan would. But this movie may have been better off focusing on dinosaurs, Megazords, and Goldars rather than the mundane, teenage stuff. D+