Power Rangers 2017 Review

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Mighty Morphin movie fun…

The original Might Morphin Power Rangers television show from the nineties was hardly what anyone would call quality television.  It was campy, cheesy, colorful, and kind of cheap.  It was literally like fast food.  That was kind of the appeal to it though. It didn’t try to be anything more than an action-packed episode of TV that filled up a half hour after school.  There were other shows I looked forward to more.  However, Power Rangers helped kill a lot of time in a mostly enjoyable way.  When it was announced that there would be a modernized reboot of the Power Rangers in the form of feature length film, there might have been some that rolled their eyes.  My brother was one of them, and I had mixed opinions.  There was so much nostalgia appeal to it, that I couldn’t help but secretly be excited even if I tried to save face by agreeing with my brother that it would probably be horrible.   I mean, would this be a serious movie that elevates the low-class source material or a cheesy homage to the original show? I tried to lower expectations going in to view this.  I was delightfully surprised. This is a competent movie. 

Power Rangers is the story of five dysfunctional teenagers that live in the town of Angel Grove.  Each of them is dealing with personal problems that have landed them in trouble at school.  Being that these kids are of the rebellious type, all of them coincidently decide to trespass at the local mines one night.  One of the characters, named Billy Cranston(not Bryan), triggers an explosion which exposes unique glass under the rocks.  Embedded in the glass, our five uniquely colored crystals.  The crystals are taken individually by our group.  The next day, the teens notice incredible peculiarities that have them questioning if there is something more to these crystals they found.  All of them decide to go back to the mines to investigate.  Upon going back, they realize they have extraordinary powers and stumble upon an incredible alien discovery.  To the groups disbelief, they are told that they are a group called the Power Rangers and it is their responsibility to protect the planet from harm.  While this plays out, an evil being, with a mysterious connection to the Rangers, has been unleashed that threatens the existence of the entire world. 

Instead of jumping right into the Power Rangers world, this movie chooses to go the slow burn route with this origin story. The origin story is not necessarily unique but is handled tactfully here.  We are given time to get to know these characters and witness their camaraderie before we are finally treated to them becoming legitimate Rangers. It feels earned, not rushed and this is appreciated.  The biggest name in this film is Bryan Cranston who is amazing in everything he does. However, this film is carried by its young leads.  All of them are quite capable performers and they do a fine job in portraying these troubled teenagers without being too cheesy and cliché. Bill Hader also provides nice comic relief as the robotic droid, Alpha 5 in a significant improvement over the TV show character. We also can’t forget about our main villain played by Elizabeth Banks.  The approach this film took with her was interesting as she played out almost like some sort of horror movie character at first before we get to the main action. 

There is some silly product placement in here but it almost adds to the shameless allure of this film.  Once the third act sets in, this is full blown mindless action fun.  That’s what we want to see. We want good character development with a decent story capped off with a familiar but semi cheesy Power Rangers throw down at the end.  The CGI monsters were decently constructed.  I also enjoyed how the Power Rangers suits have been updated as mech armor. When the final battle plays out, it doesn’t feel too cartoony although there is tons of destruction of the type that would make even  Zod from Man of Steel blush. Regardless, this film does a great job at paying homage to the original show while providing a fresh take on this band of heroes.  In addition, the lesson about getting past people’s differences and coming together as a team is also nice. It’s not extraordinary…it’s just a solid film that you should enjoy if you’re a Power Rangers fan.  If you’re not, then you probably won’t. Maybe I’m blinded a bit by nostalgia, but this was a fun one. 

Grade: B-

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