When I grew up, I never got into “Power Rangers”. I never even saw a full episode of the show. Martial arts was never an interest of mine and the older I got, the cheesiness appealed to me less and less to where the gimmick wouldn’t mean anything to me. When the news came out that Lionsgate was going to make a movie based off of the popular show, I rolled my eyes thinking “Is this really what Hollywood wants?”
This adaptation tells the origin story of the Power Rangers where five teenagers find crystals hidden by Zordon (Bryan Cranston) from 65 million years ago. These teenagers must learn how to work together in order to be the new protectors of the world and stop Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks).
The first trailer gave an atmosphere of a super hero story meets “The Breakfast Club” and it does feel like that at times. Three of the characters meet in detention. Kimberly (Naomi Scott) decides to do a sudden makeover by cutting her hair. Jason (Dacre Montgomery) resembles John Bender from “The Breakfast Club” where he has father – son issues and acts tough. Billy (RJ Cyler) is a kid with autism who gets bullied a lot and is looking for friends.
The beginning is set up like this to give these characters a reason for why the viewer should like them, and the film doesn’t do a bad job on this. Throughout, the movie shows how these teenagers feel and what they’re struggling through. It helps makes people connect to these characters, and since one of them autistic and one is bisexual it broadens to help let kids think that they can be like a Power Ranger.
For the most part, the development isn’t badly written for these characters. Eventually, it tells us each struggle the character has. That still means it’s missing some points. For both Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G.), they’re just put into the film all of the sudden because the writers couldn’t think of a creative way to tie them in with the other three teenagers.
Yet these five together have good chemistry with each other. The scenes where they’re trying to relate with each other are compelling and help make the characters more understandable.
There are times where too much is added, making some of the scenes not fleshed out. That’s one of the biggest flaws in it’s writing.
There’s a scene where Zack and Jason are fighting, but it felt immediate and only crucial for a plot point. If the film had more of Zack getting in Jason’s way or Zack being too much to handle because of his idiotic decisions, then there would be a stronger bond between them and not just a plot point. This scene where these two fight are redundant.
This scene was to only show that there are Zords, I had to google what those were because I had no idea.
The Zords could have worked more for an Easter egg to use for the plot in a sequel. There was barely any explanation on them and no scenes that involve training with the Zords, except for when Zack attempts to use it. It’s fan service
The action scenes are also fan service because this is when it gets cheesy. Other than the training montage, the only action in the movie is in the last twenty minutes. It’s not filmed badly, but it sticks out because it doesn’t fit with what the movie was setting up from the previous 90 minutes. They even play the television theme song; it’s stands out because the movie never feels like it’s being cheesy up until this point.
Rita Repulsa also sticks out for the same reason. Elizabeth Banks did an exceptional job on the role, but she is definitely going for more of the cheesiness of the original character and it doesn’t fit the movie. When the movie is trying to be dark, gritty, and inspiring, Rita Repulsa being over the top doesn’t match the tone.
Surprisingly “Power Rangers” is a decent movie. The telling of an origin story involving more personal themes help give a unique sense of characterization. The first ninety minutes are decent enough on setting up the world around it. Yet, the entire set up to the big action scene is tonally different and doesn’t mix well. If the film had more of its campy style spread out through the film, then this wouldn’t be a huge problem, but because the first third is gritty and more inspirational, the cheesy dialogue, over acting, and action is distracting. The writing has flaws with it’s absence of explaining some character motivation and how the Rangers were able to use the Zords. It’s times like this where it feels more like fan service. Fans of all ages will truly enjoy the film because and can even be a great introduction for new fans, but for those who really dissect it and look at it as movie, then the writing flaws and lazy camera work can be very distracting.