Movie Review: “Power Rangers”
Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery; Red Ranger) is a star high-school athlete but, after a few bad decisions, he ruins his chance at a football scholarship and must go to weekend school for the rest of the year. While there, he meets Billy (RJ Cyler; Blue Ranger) and Kimberly (Naomi Scott; Pink Ranger). After school, Jason and Billy explore a nearby mining facility and are soon joined by Kimberly, Zack (Ludi Lin; Black Ranger) and Trini (Becky G.; Yellow Ranger). The five teens then stumble upon mysterious colored stones that give them strange abilities and lead them to an ancient spaceship buried deep beneath the Earth's surface which holds the answers to what is happening to them and why. Here, they learn of Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), an extremely powerful alien that threatens the entire planet.
The Pros & Cons
The Team (+5pts)
Action & Effects (+5pts)
Morphing Time (-6pts)
Zordon & Alpha 5 (+5pts)
Yellow Ranger Likes Girls? (-2pts)
Pro: The Team (+5pts)
One of the better parts of this movie is the team. Watching these five characters, with varying and conflicting personalities, struggling to work together was fun to watch. Red Ranger is a high-school football star, Blue Ranger is a socially awkward technology nerd, Pink Ranger is a popular high school cheerleader turned unpopu social outcast, Yellow Ranger is an anti-social teenage girl, and Black Ranger is an adrenaline junky and a loner who takes care of his sick mother. Very drastically different kids who otherwise would not get along (aside from Red and Pink) but are forced together through circumstance. I liked this element of the story and I liked watching the tension and conflict in the team as they tried working together.
Con: Unity (-4pts)
While I liked the struggling team vibe in this movie, I knew by the end of the movie they would have to come together to form a cohesive unit, but WOW if the movie doesn't beat you over the head with this concept. The entire movie consists of them being told they are not ready, they are not a team, etc. This mixed with the struggling team vibe would have worked if the "switch" had worked. What I mean by that is the switch from being 5 individuals to being a cohesive unit and trusting team. This movie has two "switches" I thought the second one worked effectivel. The first one is pretty bad. The scene before consists of the team struggling, then they go around a campfire and each share their feelings for a total of maybe 5 minutes (cumulative), then the next scene they are working together and are all on the same page. Could not get any cheesier or more cliche than that, and it just did not work for me.
Pro: Action & Effects (+3pts)
The action in this movie was cool, I just wish there was a lot more of it. As far as fight sequences go, this movie was lacking (for reasons I will get to in the next Con point), but while the rare action was happening, it was a lot of fun. The stunts were cool, the visual effects were great and the film gives a bunch of the classic "wooshing" sound effects. Outside of the rare fight sequences, this movie gives a lot of Power Ranger style stunts that made for some pretty neat visuals. Again, I'll say the action in this movie is good, there just is not a lot of it.
Con: Morphing Time (-6pts)
"It's Morphing Time!". This is what you go to this movie to see, Power Rangers fighting mindless baddies. Instead, this movie suffers from the same issue as the most recent Godzilla film. It is a two hour movie in which they do not morph until about an hour and a half in. Just like 2014's Godzilla (which interestingly ALSO features Bryan Cranston), this movie gives tease after tease after tease only to give a small taste of what the audience wanted by the end of the movie. Oh and of that thirty minutes after the Power Rangers morphed, only about 5 minutes consisted of the Rangers fighting baddies on the ground.
Pro: Zordon & Alpha 5 (+3pts)
While neither of these characters got a ton of focus, they both gave the movie some extra flavor. Alpha 5 (Bill Hader) is a little unassuming robot that ends up being able to toss any of the Rangets around in combat. Alpha 5 is definitely one of the comic reliefs of this movie and it works very well whenever he is on screen. That takes me to Zordon (Bryan Cranston), a former Red Ranger who's essence was captured in the spaceship after his death. Now he serves as a mentor and advisor to the new Power Rangers. I thought this movie utilized this character very effectively, he got backstory and a decent character arc all while serving as a tough mentor to the new Rangers. His story, while effective, never took attention away from the main characters.
Con: Yellow Ranger Likes Girls? (-2pts)
I had issue with this, but it was such a small moment in the film, I could not designate many points to it. For a long time in the movie industry, casts would include a token black character. This concept has now "morphed" into casts including token homosexual characters. Now I want to be clear that I am all for including characters that fall in the LGBT community but it should be done the right way. We do not see anything in this movie about Yellow Ranger liking girls. Instead we get one line in a campfire storytelling session and then we never see or hear about it again. Now you may ask, "isn't it a good thing that the movie just throws this character point out there and doesn't make a big deal about it?". I would agree with that, but this movie makes a point of showing the other Power Rangers facial reactions to this point. The scene just came across as the movie desperately wanting to be diverse without giving that diversity the attention it needs in order to feel natural and normal. Maybe others won't get the same feeling as I did from this scene, and I hope that's the case, I just thought it came across as a token homosexual character.
Grade: C+ (79pts)
This movie was not bad but it was not what it should have been. The action in this movie was decent but it was not nearly enough of it for a movie called Power Rangers. The movie also takes way too long to have the team morph into the Power Rangers. This would be forgivable if the teens and their storylines were interesting enough to hold the audience. I thought Zordon had a more interesting story arc than any of the Rangers and I thought that the moments where Zordon or Alpha 5 were on screen were the moments that this film worked the best. One of the worst parts of this movie was it's focus on unity. So much of the movie consists of the team being told they need to unite in order to succeed but the "payoff", to all of this, did not work for me.
.This was a fairly average movie. It has its better qualities and it has its flaws. I do not think it is a bad movie but I also do not think it is worth the price of tickets and concessions.