Review: ‘Power Rangers’ Is Flawed, But Fun To Watch
The freshly rebooted “Power Rangers” is “Breakfast Club” meets “Chronicle,” and for the most part it’s a mighty morphing good time.
Dean Israelite knocks the dust off the campy ’90s Zentai-inspired series with an ultra modern reboot that gives audiences one part fan service and one part superhero movie. “Power Rangers” may have its fair share of cinematic mishaps, but it’s still a lot of fun to watch. Keep reading our review of “Power Rangers” after the jump!
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, Etc.) – 3
“Power Rangers” transports fans back to Angel Grove and gives them a odd hankering for glazed donuts (you’ll get it when when you watch the movie). Red Ranger Jason (Dacre Montgomery), the disgraced former sports star, the disgraced cheerleader Pink Ranger Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Yellow Ranger Trini (Becky G), the disgraced daughter, Black Ranger Zack (Ludi Lin) the disgr… Jeez we get it, they’re misfits, rejects, yada, yada. The team is rounded out by Blue Ranger, Billy (RJ Cyler), a socially-awkward genius (and my favorite character). The ensemble cast lead by Great Value Zack Efron (Montgomery looks just like Efron) captures the sense of youthful adventure and camaraderie that made the original so fun.
Elizabeth Banks knows just how to walk the line as the new gold-laced Rita Repulsa. Sometimes she seems like she belongs in a “Ring” movie, other times she’s adulating fans with her teen-demeaning one-liners and decadently bizarre screen presence. After all we’re talking about “Power Rangers” which, let’s be honest, has never been know for it’s “Great” acting.
The command center is back, sort of, and with it come it’s iconic inhabitants. Bryan Cranston, and Blue Ranger Billy’s namesake, voices team mentor Zordon, and it works. Alpha 5, the Rangers’ favorite robot, voiced by Bill Hader and with a brand new CGI overhaul. While fans of the original may take issue with the new aesthetic, from Suits to Zords, I think that new audiences will find the design to be inline with much most superhero blockbusters of today.
The first half of the movie plays out like “X-Men: First Class” meets the CW. With the teenage angst turned up to 11 and a “we can’t until we can” attitude that would make Grant Gustin cry, the film wins at developing a unique band of teens worthy the Rangers mantle.
While the reboot does well to maintain a certain amount of levity and campiness, as an ode to the original series, “Power Rangers” does more to redefine itself in the new superhero-saturated movie market of today. Don’t think that this reboot is devoid of nostalgia either, there are enough references to make any longtime fan giddy. The ensemble of five teenagers with attitude is spot on, with each actor bringing out an unique quirkiness and set of idiosyncrasies for their respective characters. The film joins “Beauty And The Beast” also treading into a socially progressive waters with some LGBT themes.
Although the movie definitely falls victim to some common blockbuster third act clichés, it does well to capture a sense of youthful angst and camaraderie amongst the five teenagers. Still, at times the story drags with some overly reinforced and repetitious team building moments. And, some fans will definitley take issue as some serious Ranger-isms didn’t make it into the film, or it’s theatrical cut anyway.
Entertainment Value – 4
“Power Rangers” repackages all the colorful and campy elements that made the original series so memorable, this time with a high-budget and CGI filled extravaganza. Like many other action epics tend to do, the film falls into an inevitable cacophony of green screen, CGI and explosions. On the other hand, it succeeds in capturing the individualized pain and development of the super-powered teenage team.
Although it has ample fan-service in tow, “Power Rangers” forges a very new path with much darker themes than the original series and spin-off films. Perhaps partly inspired by Adi Shankar’s hyper-noir “Power/Rangers” which shows a violently fractured ranger team in shambles, the official reboot sets a milder tone for the budding reboot-Ranger team. The troubled teens are all faced with some surprisingly complex obstacles to overcome. The reboot strays far from the model sized Zord battles with a revamped CGI element that adds a pinch of reality and previously non-present intensity.
Although the movie falls victim to the same blockbuster third act clichés, the film does well to capture a sense of youth angst and camaraderie amongst the five teenagers. It’s edgey, socially progressive, funny and nostalgic. It has it’s flaws, but the entertainment value is certainly powerful enough to wrangle an audible “ooh and ahh” or chuckle from the crowd.
Re-Watchability – 3
“Power Rangers” isn’t the best of the nostalgic reboots, but it certainly isn’t the worst. With the same basic formula wrapped in a new polished big-budget package, this reboot will be well-worth a second go around.
While it’s far from perfect, “Power Rangers” morphs the campy ’90s Zentai series into a fun, action packed and teenage angst-filled blockbuster. While the film falls victim to some typical 3rd act blockbuster blunders, a healthy serving of youthful exuberance and light-heartedness gives this reboot some serious “attitude” with potential staying power.
Watch our review of “Power Rangers” below:
- Entertainment Value
Although the movie falls victim to the same blockbuster third act clichés, "Power Rangers" does well to capture a sense of youth angst and camaraderie amongst the five teenagers. It's edgey, socially progressive, funny and nostalgic. It has it's flaws, but the entertainment value is certainly powerful enough to wrangle an audible "ooh and ahh" or chuckle from the crowd.
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