In a world of endless reboots, sequels, remakes and adaptions, you’d be forgiven for just brushing this off as yet another attempt at reviving another dormant franchise and in a way, it kind of is. I think reboots and adaptions are a tricky thing because you can either keep the material exactly the same as the source and risk people complaining that it’s just more of the same, or you can change it too much and risk it being so different that there’s no point in making it in the first place. I believe this movie did a really good job of sticking to the Mighty Morphin’ source material but also expanding on it a great deal, giving the characters more depth, making the lore more interesting and actually getting us to care about what’s happening on screen.
The plot involves a group of teenagers (with actual attitude this time!) living in the fictional town of Angel Grove who find a crashed spaceship. Inside the spaceship they meet a robot named Alpha and a talking head in a wall named Zordon who gives them the ability to ‘morph’ into super powered warriors called Power Rangers. Does that sound familiar? Well it should, because it’s basically the same premise as the original show, albeit with a lot more going on.
Remember back in the original show, how the Rangers were basically stereotypes of their respective backgrounds? Jason was the noble martial artist, Billy was the nerd, Kimberly was the pretty girl? They were such deep characters, right? Who can forget Zordon, the floating mentor head in a tube who gives them orders? Remember how he was just overflowing with character and emotion? Me neither. In this movie adaption, the characters are given so much more to do. Each member of the team has their own motivations and struggles that they have to overcome. They actually feel like teenagers with attitude.
I actually think the characters themselves were my favorite part of the whole movie, even. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed seeing the team grow and interact with each other throughout. While none of them had majorly drastic changes apart from a few minor character arcs here and there, they still had to learn to work together as a team in order to save the day and that’s where the movie’s strengths lie. I went into this expecting a horrible attempt at a gritty reboot with bad acting and characters I’d hate but in fact I got the exact opposite.
While the movie is somewhat grounded (come on, it kinda has to be these days) it really didn’t come across as gritty or serious at all. The villain was extremely hammy (more on that later) and the movie actually had quite a few funny jokes here and there.
The acting was surprisingly good. Jason doesn’t come across as a pretty boy douche at all and does a good job as the team’s leader, a fallen star who has issues with his father. From the trailers I was expecting Billy to be the worst, but he actually end up being the best part! He has a certain awkward charm that means you can’t help but love him.
I’m not really quite sure what to make of Rita Repulsa though. She’s extremely crazy and chews the scenery to no end, so in that regard she’s a good adaption of the antagonist of the show. I’m not too entirely sure on whether or not she clashes with the tone of the rest of the movie. (Again, it’s not too gritty or anything)
Bill Hader was actually quite enjoyable as the usually insufferable Alpha 5 and Bryan Cranston brought some depth to Zordon that I wasn’t expecting. In the show he was just a stoic head in a tube that usually just told the Rangers what to do, but in this movie he feels like an actual character with actual emotions and motivations!
The action was alright, it had that fast-slow-mo style that was made popular by 300 and some of the CGI on the Rangers’ robots (called Zords)was a bit hit or miss. I liked that they actually got the individual Zords in on the action rather than just jump straight into the combination sequence, as the show was prone to do.
If you’re a fan of the show who only liked the fight scenes or a big fan of blockbuster action movies in general, you might find the movie’s slow buildup and character drama a bit tedious because it makes up about 70% of the movie. Personally, the action was the main reason I went and I was very surprised that I enjoyed the drama side of it but I can definitely see why people would be put off this. The big action finale isn’t grand enough to be worth the payoff but the rest of the movie made up for it to me.
Power Rangers is an enjoyable action drama with likable characters and an easy to follow plot. The characters really do function well together as a team and the acting is surprisingly good. The action scenes weren’t incredible, and if that’s what you’re seeing the movie for then you probably won’t find satisfaction here. Overall it was a lot better than I expected it to be. It’s getting mixed reviews from critics right now but I don’t really pay attention to that, I just write about what I thought of the movie and I personally enjoyed it.
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