Power Rangers (2017) Review

2017 has and will continue to bring on a ton of sequels and reboots for better and for worse. But, I didn’t think I would ever be seeing a new Power Rangers movie in theaters. This franchise holds a very special place in my heart. As a kid, I would watch the Rangers nonstop. I owned VHS tapes, I had a video game, and you know I was a Ranger for Halloween. You could say I loved this franchise. So of course I was ecstatic for this new movie, but I checked my emotions and was going in with very limited expectations. So how does it live up? Exactly how I thought it would and I couldn’t be happier!

Power Rangers tells the story of “five teenagers with attitude”. You have Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly Hart (Naomi Scott), Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler), Zack (Ludi Lin), and Trini (Becky G). They all discover the Power Coins and learn that they have been chosen to become the Power Rangers, a team that with their superpowers, learn they must protect the world from the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). However before they become the Rangers, they must learn to become one as a team through the training of the ancient Zordon (Bryan Cranston) and the robotic assistant, Alpha 5 (Bill Hader). There’s a few surprises sprinkled throughout involving some of the backstory of the Rangers being altered and it all works surprisingly well. This movie was a whole lot of fun, especially for a Power Rangers fan like me. So many easter eggs are put in to appease the fan in me while the story unsurprisingly was exactly how I thought it would play out but those surprise changes really worked. The biggest positive I can give this movie is the Rangers themselves. I found myself halfway through really enjoying them as characters and rooting for them at the end. Imagine the characters of The Breakfast Club but they end up getting superpowers. That’s these five characters and it was such a smart choice to go this route. The real scene is Billy, he was definitely the most comedic and honestly, he tugs at the heartstrings with his genuine heart and likability. Something they do with Billy’s character along with Trini is so smart and tastefully done and really made me happy that they took such a progressive route, Good Job Power Rangers! Bryan Cranston was really well cast as Zordon and was a fun little call back to the original series as Cranston did some voice work. Elizabeth Banks was so cheesy and over the top as Rita and I loved it because how can she not be over the top as this character. She also has a few scenes that were a little startling and definitely made the young kid next to me have a few nightmares afterwards.  Alpha 5 could of been thrown into a Star Wars movie and fit so well and I can’t wait to see more of him as Bill Hader’s signature sarcastic tone was well on display here. That can be said for all these characters.I can’t wait to see where these characters go next, thanks especially to a mid-credits scene that made my theater erupt with joy.

Technically speaking, the movie is actually really competently made. The script, which was written by the screenwriter who wrote the 2011’s reboot, X-Men: First Class, has just enough heart along with pure cheese that actually blend relatively well together. Of course this is where my flaws with the film lie. I know why they did it but it takes an extremely long time for the Rangers to truly show up. I mean like Legendary’s Godzilla level length. Of course, once they do show up, it’s a real treat as the ending battle while not as long as I would of liked, is truly everything every single fan in my theater was waiting for as the film has the perfect moment when we finally see the Rangers that I couldn’t help but join in on the applause and I hate clapping during movies. Another flaw that I had was I don’t think with the movie, but with my theater. I think their projector was a little too dim as I had some trouble in a few scenes seeing a few things, especially in all the preceding scenes leading up to the Rangers finally morphing. Something the movie does that I like is the color of the film is darker and then it brightens up in the finale and honestly I think this was perfect as it was like a nice little visual cue to the audience, okay guys here are the Rangers you’ve been waiting for. My only other gripe with the film is some of the camera work is a tad shaky. The action for the most part avoided any shaky cam and was surprisingly really well directed and Dean Israelite does a real nice job with the composition of each action scene. Even the effects were relatively top notch, which I really didn’t expect all too much. The problem I had was during some of the steady moments where characters were talking or just standing. It’s like they used up all their budgets and didn’t have any other money for a Tripod or even a handheld jib so they just held the camera with their hands. That’s the film student in me nitpicking. All in all though, I think they made this movie a lot more competently then I thought they would. I really expected a reject looking Transformers but honestly got a better looking movie.

Power Rangers is exactly what I thought it was gonna be. But I also got more. I really enjoyed these characters, the action was a lot of fun, if a lot less of it then I wanted, and ultimately they did a better job making this movie then I thought they could. Dean Israelite and John Gatins, the screenwriter, seem like they truly care about the source material and ultimately service both the fans and the newcomers alike. That’s the one thing about this movie that surprised me. Ultimately for a film that is a huge cash grab, it had a huge amount of care given to it and that’s all I could of asked for. I can’t wait to see where the franchise goes next as a multi-film arc is already planned and I’m on board. IT’S MORPHING TIME!

Grade: B

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