I wouldn’t call myself a diehard Power Rangers fan, I tuned in to the original show in the 90’s when I was a youngin, but I was never a crazed fan of the series. Obviously I loved the movie with Ivan Ooze, collected the cool toys, and got mad when my mom taped over a VHS I had saved of that episode when the Rangers do battle against a big pig monster that turns them into food and eats them and replaced it with that Otis and Milo movie with the talking animals. To this day, top ten angriest moments of my life. So yeah, I enjoyed the original series but nothing extreme. It was only a matter of time until a gritty modern-day movie would be made to cash in on the nostalgia of us 90’s kids, and that time has finally come with the new Power Rangers movie. So was it the unimaginable pig slop that I thought it would be? I’m surprised to say that no, this movie was not terrible.
Now to be fair it wasn’t great either, but man this was so much better than a modern Power Rangers movie should have been. And it all starts with the Rangers themselves, who were actually established very well. You will actually care about these people, and the movie takes the time to allow you to get to know each of them. Some more than others, namely the Red, Blue, and Pink rangers, but you like all of them. For the most part they feel like real teenagers, each one coming from a different background and circle of friends. Red is the good-hearted jock, Blue is the socially awkward loner with some form of autism (he makes note that he’s on the spectrum), Pink is the attractive strong former cheerleader, Yellow is the new girl in town who can’t connect with anyone, and Black is the adrenaline junkie with issues at home. I was very impressed with the Rangers, and it is because of them that the movie succeeds.
There are a few big names making appearances here, namely Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, Bill Hader as Alpha 5, and Bryan Cranston as Zordon. Cranston offers the gravitas that is needed for the floating head alien leader of the Rangers, but I kept getting distracted because all I could think of was Walter White’s blue face talking about Power Rangers and Zords. Bill Hader is nothing special as Alpha 5, he’s not in it a ton and only has a couple funny lines. I was not a fan of Elizabeth Banks’ Rita, it just felt out of place in this movie. They couldn’t decide if they wanted to make her a dark, legitimate threat or a goofy over-the-top villain, and in the end I just wasn’t a fan.
The majority of the film focuses on the kids coming together, discovering their powers, and training for the inevitable fight against Rita and Goldar. The first hour or so of the movie is really done well, giving us the backstories of the kids and learning of their powers. The movie kinda slows wayyyyy down in the middle portion. It takes way too long for them to do what we came here to see and become the Power Rangers, basically until the last 30 minutes of this two hour movie. Just too much training, too much of Rita trying to threaten and scare them and not killing all of them when she easily could, too much NOTHING. I was in, I cared about the characters, I was excited to see them become the Rangers and start fighting Putties. Instead I was bored. When they finally morph, the action is pretty decent. There isn’t much hand-to-hand fighting, which I was disappointed at. Instead it is mostly the Zords doing the fighting, but I wont complain about that too much.
One of the biggest issues I thought the movie had was the tone. It often flip-flopped between dark and gritty and goofy TV series schlock. I get it, it’s a little hard to be too intense when you are saying things like ‘Power Ranger,’ ‘Rita Repulsa,’ and ‘Goldar,’ but try to pick a tone. There are also a lot of things that I wouldn’t classify as appropriate for children, including some horror-esque sequences with early Rita and a beastiality handjob joke within the first 10 minutes. I’m serious about that, there’s a fucking animal handjob joke in a Power Rangers movie! That’s 2017 for ya.
However, I just keep thinking about how truly shitastic this movie could have been. I’m honestly shocked I enjoyed it as much as I did, so I can’t be too hard on it. Sure there are some plotholes and head scratching moments, sure it tries a little too hard at times to be gritty, and yeah the villain wasn’t amazing. But the most important thing about a Power Rangers movie is the Rangers, and they were done extremely well. All of them. I wish there was some more action with them in the armor, but hopefully we will get that in the sequel. If you were any sort of fan of the Power Rangers, go and check this out. If you weren’t a Power Rangers fan, you probably won’t like this too much, but there is more to this movie than I had assumed before seeing it. It’s not great, but it might be the best they could have done with a modern-day Power Rangers movie.
My Score: 6.5 out of 10