Power Rangers is officially here after a whole year of anticipation and criticism. The reaction has been vastly mixed and for good reason; truth be told, I really wanted to hate this film but I couldn’t for several reasons. This review was particularly hard to write because I have to consider two worlds that exist when it comes to this film much like when comic book adaptions hit theaters. The world where people who have no idea what I’ll be talking about and the kids who grew up watching the series. That’s why this review will be mixed for each group that I just mentioned because the gap will be big.
When it was officially announced, the reaction was moderate at best because the last time the power rangers were on the big screen was back in the 90s with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. The film was a success because parents brought their kids and now those kids have grown up and are taking their kids to see this one. The only difference is back in the 90s the children loved it while the parents didn’t have enough aspirin, but those kids that grew up might have a problem with this one. I was enjoying it but only because I was a big fan but even I couldn’t ignore the problems. This is a win for some fans but a terrible bomb for anyone who has no knowledge of the show.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a show that first aired in 1993 and became an instant hit with children for several reasons. In truth, it has a resemblance to Voltron because it’s a show about five people who operate giant animal like robots that always come together to create a mega robot to end a fight. In this show, however, 5 teenagers are summoned to a building hidden on a hill by an ancient being known as Zordon with the help of his robot partner Alpha 5. The five teenagers then become the legendary team that unites to fight an evil witch by the name of Rita Repulsa. More threats would come obviously as the show progressed until fans would eventually get bored.
The reboot stays true to most of the key elements that made the show a hit but there are some changes that were made and the film benefited from. Zordon (Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad) and Rita (Elizabeth Banks, The Hunger Games) will have an origin story which adds much to the film because in the show, these two just showed up. The story is a very in depth character development that covers several issues as the teenagers suffer from universal experiences shared by certain groups. There’s plenty of comedy and action spread out so the audience doesn’t disconnect but there are some elements that make the film not family friendly for something that’s meant to be a kid’s film. One thing that definitely had all the fans smiling was seeing cameos by the first rangers throughout the film.
Those were the good issues of this film but there’s a lot of problems that even non-traditionalists would have an issue. The CGI for the Zords and Alpha 5 aren’t good, as well as the ranger’s outfits. Alpha 5 looks like a CGI nightmare but he’s saved by the comedic voice of Bill Hader, but nothing could save the look of the Zords because you could barely make out what they are. Another issue that raises eyebrows is the fact that these are “teenagers” who are having problems with life issues but when they repeatedly speak of “killing” Rita, they’re all comfortable with it. The biggest disappointments are Goldar who looks nothing like he did in the show and when it’s time for the Mega Zord to show up; it just shows up.
The focus on the film is primarily set on the Red Ranger/Jason and the Pink Ranger/Kimberly, which makes sense since those were the most popular ones next to the Green Ranger/Tommy. Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks did a great job living up to the characters from the series. Zordon was done well when he appeared on a holographic wall instead of a floating blurry face in a plastic tube. Elizabeth Banks killed it as Rita Repulsa because of scenes where she’s even made grown men jump in the theater, but when she starts looking for ways to resurrect Goldar is when the fans go, “Really?”
Despite its many flaws, Power Rangers is something that old fans and children can get into if they’re just looking for a good time. I will warn you that much like Iron Man, the rangers don’t come out till the near end of the film but that’s because of character development that had meaningful purposes. The film covered several issues that some youths are suffering from today so this film helps create some awareness which is a good thing. There is something in the mid credits so stay a little bit after if you want and it’ll be clear where the sequel will go if there is one. This is one of those reboots where it’s not clear what will happen but at least one sequel should come if enough money is made.
I really thought this reboot was going to be a bigger disaster than Ghostbusters last year but when the theme music hit, the fans approved. For the fans, it depends how open minded you are that will determine how much you enjoy this film. As a fan, I want to give this film a 7 out of ten because I didn’t mind the changes and it did follow most of the key elements but the execution is flawed. As a critic, the highest score is a three at best because for everyone that isn’t a fan, this film will lose you quick and that will lead to you walking out; so don’t waste your money. Power Rangers has the potential, but we’ll see how far it goes depending on how well it does at the box office.