A Mighty Morphin Reboot

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The iconic “Power Rangers” series started back in 1993, has been watched by generations of countless children, and just made a return to the big screen – bringing back the nostalgia of what many have grown up watching.

The Breakfast Club meets The Avengers in this film. Combining superhero issues with everyday teenage problems we all have gone through.

Jason (Dacre Montgomery), the school’s star football player meets Billy (RJ Cyler) and Kimberly (Naomi Scott) in Saturday detention. Billy is a technical genius — who also is on the autism spectrum, while Kimberly is a cheerleader fighting with her squad. The protagonists are later joined by Zack (Ludi Lin), a reckless student who barely goes to school, and Trini (Becky G), the new girl – also a lesbian outsider in Angel Grove.

The first half of the film centers around the group getting to know each other. As they’re chosen to become Power Rangers, by Zordon (Bryan Cranston) in order to protect the world from the villainous Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) along with the help of Alpha 5 (Bill Hader).

The team cannot “Morph” into actual Power Rangers until they come together as one. Each member struggles with their own personal issues, as Zordon and Alpha try to prepare them for Rita. However, what makes this film so different than other superhero films is the personal struggles each member goes through.

Billy struggles with social cues and relating to people, which makes building friendships a bit more difficult. Zack is taking care of his dying mother. Jason is afraid to be who he really wants to be. Kimberly struggles with who she was, and who she would like to be. and Trini struggles to come out and be comfortable with her sexuality and personality to her parents – making each character in the film relatable.

Elizabeth Banks is incredible as Rita Repulsa, putting a new spin on the beloved 90’s character, being the ancient green ranger, betraying her team and killing her fellow rangers. Yet what’s so great is that she goes from creepy to funny to scary, to just plain evil and it never feels forced. Making her the character you love to hate, you find yourself almost secretly rooting for her to win.

Zordon, who the team finds trapped inside an ancient spaceship, losing to Rita millions of years ago, he was the first red ranger and the only member of his team who survived the attack. He comes across as a little harsh to the teens due to Rita’s threat to the world and a surprisingly selfish motive on his part. Wanting the teens to morph so that he can possibly come back to life and pick up the duties of being the Red Ranger again.

Having less action than expected in a big blockbuster movie was a risky move, but it does pay off in the end. The fight scene visuals in this film are far better than the original series low-budget scenes. The CG scenes are great and the effects do shine when the team morphs into their Power Rangers armor.

Seeing the in-costume Rangers fighting Rita’s Putty Patrollers does an excellent job of balancing the old-school cheesy vibe with modern movie visuals. The days of spandex clad and rubber creatures are certainly over. However, The Rangers’ hand-to-hand combat can also be displayed with more flare on a grander scale compared to the past incarnations.

Even with great performances during the character bonding moments from the actors, the lack of big action scenes are a disappointment. Diehard fans will want to see the Ranger’s Zords or the Megazord vehicles fighting giant monsters, but that action is mostly contained in the climactic battle.

The franchise is known for its over-the-top action, and there just isn’t enough in this film, along with minimal gigantic Megazord action.

Power Rangers, even with its flaws is an appealing blend that captures the nostalgic essence while simultaneously making sure it stands on its own, and with character’s you’ll want to see return in a potential sequel.

And hopefully soon joined by Tommy Oliver.

 

 

 

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