Power Rangers

Tom Awesome’s Review Score: 8

What would happen in today’s super-powered age of cinema if you took five unknown actors, dumped them into a quarry, gave them super powers and tasked them with saving the world before they had the experience to fully harness their abilities? Oh, and base it on a cheesy 90’s kids show?

It turns out, you get a pretty fun flick. Who knew?

Red Ranger Jason (Dacre Montgomery) gets thrown into detention where he befriends nerdy eventual Blue Ranger Billy (RJ Cyler). The two set off on a treasure hunt of sorts that leads them to a quarry where three other kids are more or less hanging out. Billy sets an explosive, the kids find some colored coins and cue an exciting police chase scene.

Blue Ranger Billy
Billy is the first leading character I can think of that is on the spectrum.

The next day there is a full-on Spider-Man homage as the kids realize they don’t need knee braces or glasses, and inadvertently smash a bunch of stuff in their homes. It turns out those colored coins were pretty bitching.

As the kids explore their new powers, the big baddie is dredged up from the sea. Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) is determined to build a gold monster (Goldar, DUH) and wipe out all life on Earth. Like, soon.

Rita
Elizabeth Banks made a badass villainess.

As Rita is gathering power and gold to make her monster, the kids are training under the tutelage of Zordon (Brian Cranston) and android Alpha 5 (Bill Hader). It doesn’t go particularly well. By the time they are tested and thrown into a final conflict, they are hardly ready to take on a potential world-ending threat.

I was surprised by the amount of character development. Watching the characters get to know each other and overcome their preconceptions to work together really made the movie work for me. The relationship between Jason and Billy, two characters who could not be more different, was especially interesting.

Power Ranger Coin
Each ranger has a coin that grants them their abilities.

Here are the personalities on the team:

  • Red Ranger: Jason – the leader, a former elite jock who never expected to return to form after a knee injury.
  • Blue Ranger: Billy – An autistic black kid, trapped in the fantasy of finding cool stuff with his deceased dad.
  • Pink Ranger: Kimberly – Your basic mean girl, kicked out of her clique for betraying a friend’s trust.
  • Black Ranger: Zack – More or less high school dropout who spends most of his time caring for his sick mom.
  • Yellow Ranger: Trini – The “new girl” whose family moves around a lot. She doesn’t feel accepted or noticed anywhere she goes.
Zordon, trapped in a wall.
Every leader should follow big brother. I mean a giant wall-face guy.

The Good: In addition to the character development, I enjoyed several aspects of the film. I thought the special effects were good. The kids fighting monsters and the final showdown with Rita and Goldar were both fun. There were a couple good chase scenes. There is joke about masturbating a farm animal. Elizabeth Banks was a pretty incredible over-the-top villain. One scene in particular packed a nice emotional punch.

The Bad: It was a little campy at times, particularly during a vehicle combat scene. Maybe I would have overlooked this if I was more familiar with the source material.

The Verdict: Power Rangers was a fun film. I enjoyed it more than a couple superhero films, including Logan and Captain America Civil War. You should definitely check it out!