Review: Power Rangers Isn’t Terrible But Takes Too Long To Get Go Going
There are really only three types of people that were ever going to see a remake of the cultural phenomenon of Powers Rangers; die hard fans that were older and seeing the series through nostalgia, kids that love the current incarnation and kids that are drawn to the giant robot fighting. There was never a huge audience to begin with but the audience that is there was always going to be dedicated. However, the trailers and marketing appeared to be pushing for a more general audience that never really seemed that interested to begin with. In a year bloated by giant blockbusters with name recognition, the question was whether the Power Rangers still had enough name recognition to make back the budget of a blockbuster.
Power Rangers will likely make grown fans lose their minds in excitement, but it isn’t quite fun enough to appeal to young fans or general audiences.
There are a few reasons why this won’t appeal to younger children which is the audience a movie like this needs to cater to. While the nostalgia will get older fans into the theater, if this series is going to have the longevity that it clearly wants they need to bring in fans, both old and new. Power Rangers is too serious and not goofy enough to bring in the young fans. Some of the humor strays close to the PG-13 crowd which is the wrong direction for a series like this. While the “gritty remake” might have earned the Transformers movie billions of dollars, they are critically panned and hated by fans. Some of the first dialogue includes a joke about a cow’s penis, and this version of Kimberly or the Pink Ranger (Naomi Scott) is weirdly involved with a revenge porn plot. While older fans won’t be bothered by this it will turn off the younger fans.
The other thing that is going to turn off almost everyone is that there is virtually no “power ranger-ing” until the last twenty minutes. The majority of the movie is the team coming together because they aren’t friends in the beginning in this version. While that is fine it shouldn’t have been the focus of almost the entire movie. It feels very much like the “origins” movie we get from comic book movies so often now and it’s just as irritating here as it is there. If the movie wanted to spend the first act, maybe half of the second, focusing on bringing the team together that’s fine, but they should have at least been in the suits before the third act fight scene. If they wanted to save the zords for the end that’s fine, but the kids put on their suits and go into the final battle at the same time.
That being said when the movie finally does let the Power Rangers do their thing it gets much better. There is a scene where the zords are running as a group and the theme from the show starts to play that is enough to get even the most jaded person in the audience to smile. Once the movie is done explaining itself it gets better which does bode well for potential sequels. There is also a lot being said about the diversity of the cast. While the power rangers have always looked a bit like a Benetton ad, this time they take it to another level by making Trini, aka the Yellow Ranger (Becky G.), at least questioning her sexuality and Billy, aka the Blue Ranger (RJ Cyler), on the autism spectrum. They also avoid the uncomfortable situation of the yellow ranger being Asian and the black ranger being black by switching the colors up. They even poke fun of it at one point. Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa is clearly having a ball playing a character so over the top that she steals every scene she’s in.
Power Rangers is not terrible and there is potential there for a decent series to come to fruition now that the movie is done explaining itself. On a more personal note I would recommend seeing it with a “mega fan”. I sat between two of them and seeing the sheer amount of joy they were getting out of it made everything more enjoyable for me.