Happy Wednesday, folks!
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these reviews, but I’m more than happy to write this one. This week, I’ll be reviewing the new Power Rangers film.
When I was a kid, I loved Power Rangers. I’ll mention that I watched Turbo on VHS so many times that I broke the VCR and the cassette. That should tell you just how excited I was to see this movie and for it to be good. It helped that I saw it in a theater that had reclining seats. Warning: There are spoilers ahead.
Let’s kick things off with my likes.
I loved the diversity in the film. Like the original cast, the new Rangers were pretty much every nationality; African American, Latino, Caucasian, and of Asian descent. I was a little confused at the nationality of Becky G’s Trini though. Her character’s last name is Kwan, but Becky herself is of Mexican decent. The original Trini was played by the late Thuy Trang, a Vietnamese-American actress.
I appreciated the fact that Billy Cranston, played by RJ Cyler, was a focal point of the team and their development even though Jason, played by Dacre Montgomery, was their leader. I’m not sure how accurate the depiction was since I haven’t had a lot of interaction with people on the autism spectrum, but I was pleased with the inclusion, especially for one of the main characters and not a background character.
It was a small moment but there was also the mention of Trini’s sexuality. It was a short exchange between Trini and Zack when the teens were sharing about themselves. While she never directly stated it, it was implied that her family did not approve. I believe this would make her the first LGBTQ superhero in a major film. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that.
There was plenty of humor in this film. Billy and Zack provided plenty of moments that were genuinely funny and not forced. Sure, there were some cheesy moments, but what’s a Power Rangers film without those moments? One of my favorite lines is at the end when Billy needs clarification on whether or not Jason just slapped Rita Repulsa off the planet. The Krispy Kreme bits were funny too. I will admit that I had one yesterday…it came in a Power Rangers themed box too.
The writers and directors knew their audience. I’m sure parents brought their kids out, but I think this film was definitely meant for the older fans. There was some language that solidified that. People whooped when the line “It’s morphin’ time” was said and reacted even louder when Jason David Frank and Amy Jo Johnson appeared as citizens of Angel Grove near the end of the film. Younger viewers probably have no idea who they were. Those moments were great for long-time fans.
Here are a few things I’m on the fence about.
Elizabeth Banks can transform herself with makeup and her acting skills. Her role as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games series made that clear. The makeup for Rita was amazing and she was totally creepy, but it was hard for me to see Elizabeth Banks as a villain. It might be because I’m a fan of her comedic work in films like Pitch Perfect.
It could also be the fact that her costume was so different than the original. I get that they were trying to make it modern but she ended up looking like a sexy villain from an anime. Let’s compare, shall we?
Dean Israelite, the film’s director, mentioned that the story was a coming of age tale and that time for teens included a lot of tension including sexual tension. That’s why they decided to go a little more sexy for their depiction of Rita. She’s scary but also partially the image of a teenage fantasy. Sounds like a bit too much thinking on his part.
The New Ranger Suits
This is probably me just being picky, but I did not like the chest piece of the Ranger’s suit. I’m used to the diamond center, but the new film gave us these glowing galaxy chest pieces. Futuristic looking? Yes. Was I a fan? No? Imagine trying to go stealth with a glowing chest piece.
What I didn’t like
The Haircut Scene
After Kimberly’s friends cut her out of their picture and diss her, she decides to cut her hair with the pair of scissors left jammed into the wall. This moment was so cliche! As if the only way for a girl to turn over a new leaf is to cut her hair. Let’s not even go into how clean and professionally done it ends up looking. Her shift later in the film of wanting to be a better person and feeling guilt for what she did to her former friend would have been enough character development for me. The hair could have stayed.
When the team finally formed the Megazord, I was excited. When the smoke cleared and a Transformer looking figure appeared, I was disappointed. In the previous films and cartoons, the Megazord always maintained the animal heads of the separate Zords. In the film, the Megazord erased the individual parts and turned it into one big Power Ranger with the rangers in small pods across the zord’s chest area. As cool as it looked, it wasn’t to my liking.
Overall, I’m going to give Power Rangers a B. I enjoyed the film as a whole, its humor, and the new cast, but I wasn’t a fan of Rita’s look, the new suits, or the Megazord. I loved the cameo of some of the original cast and the references to the original films. It deserved better than some of the scores critics are giving it.
Did you see Power Rangers this weekend? What did you think about it? Let’s chat!