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Power Rangers has neither the campy fun of its TV predecessor nor the blockbuster action of its cinematic superhero competitors, and sadly never quite manages to shift into turbo for some good old-fashioned morphin time.
Power Rangers has neither the campy fun of its TV predecessor nor the blockbuster action of its cinematic superhero competitors, and sadly never quite manages to shift into turbo for some good old-fashioned morphin time.
All Critics (156)
| Top Critics (26)
| Fresh (74)
| Rotten (82)
As cash grabs go, this one is delightfully unconcerned with coolness, neither shying away from its chintzy roots nor ironically embracing them.
What this Power Rangers does -- unlike the show -- is explore the complexities of our core team: They're imperfect but perfect enough to be selfless and save the world.
A winning and cartoonish coming-of-age tale about supermodel-pretty misfit kids bonding in the belly of an alien spaceship.
Overall, "Power Rangers" is a sometimes funny but flawed movie full of the action that most people who want to see movies like this crave.
A work of soulless indifference.
Ultimately, this is a kids'-property superhero movie about teens getting power from ancient aliens and battling someone named Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks, taking large bites of the scenery). The filmmakers do not forget to have fun with it.
If you keep your expectations at a level that is appropriate for a new take on a fun TV show, you are in for a good time.
Saban's Power Rangers exudes a deep understanding that inclusion is more than just a checklist.
The big surprise is that you don't have to know a Red Ranger from a Green Ranger to have a good time here.
If there is a sequel to Power Rangers, let's just hope they realize it's all incredibly absurd and just fully embrace the campy tone.
I was willing to settle for something much stupider ... but Power Rangers worked so well for me that I was able to actually enjoy it unironically.
It's breezy and charming almost in spite of itself, even when it hits every origin-story cliche it possibly can.
Or is it [i]Saban's Power Rangers[/i] now? I understand the title comes from the creator of the Power Rangers, Haim Saban, but why?? Why not just 'Power Rangers'?
So in short, the [i]Mighty Morphin Power Rangers[/i] was a science fiction/martial arts TV show that appeared in the early 90's; it was adapted from a similar Japanese series. Despite being clearly aimed at kids the show still managed to court much controversy for its supposed violence. Nevertheless the show was a massive hit across the world...for some reason. I myself was too old for the MMPR franchise and never saw any of it, nor did I see the previous movies. So I entered into this movie completely blind, only knowing what I've picked up over the years.
The plot is the standard origins reboot affair really. The Power Rangers have always been around it seems, the suits are passed on from group to group. So in this case the previous group of Rangers (who were aliens) died to save the Earth from Rita Repulsa (yeah because Rita is what you call your villainess) by hiding the power coins (the suits power source). With his last dying breath the red ranger orders a meteor strike (from their ship) to try and kill Repulsa but instead sends her to the bottom of the ocean. Back in the present day a new group of high school kids eventually find the power coins and the ancient alien spaceship. Whilst at the same time Rita Repulsa is found and comes back to life, the timing huh. The Asian chap is the first Ranger to find a coin near these caves, embedded in rock. But what was he doing there in the first place??
Its within the ancient spaceship that the youngsters discover the consciousness of Zordon (the dead red alien ranger) who explains to them all about the suits and Repulsa. The teens can only morph into their suits when their emotions run high? And when they can then control their emotions or whatever; so this entails lots of training. Basically they only have eleven days before Repulsa gains her full powers back. She then intends to find the Zeo crystal to destroy Earth, because reasons. Oh and there is also a small robot called Alpha 5 that helps Zordon. Think the robot from [i]Lost in Space[/i] but smaller, and he does nothing.
It was only a matter of time before the Power Rangers got a new gritty movie reboot, twas inevitable. Now I fully admit I don't know much about this franchise, but I do know of the franchises light-hearted tone, and boy is that gone for a Burton! So long to the brightly coloured lycra and plastic Ranger suits. Goodbye to the acrobatic fight sequences with hokey dubbing over the top, and cheerio to the men in rubber suit monsters. This new reboot is all about teen angst folks, lots of teen angst and of course questions about ones sexuality, because 2017.
In that the entire movie mainly focuses on these teens and them trying to find themselves, or find the power within themselves so they can morph, I dunno. The actors playing these characters aren't bad per say, they just aren't interesting, at all (maybe its because I'm too old). I mean the yellow Ranger Trini was just annoying, again I realise her character is supposed to be moody but ugh christ! The rest are your basic carbon copy America teens with their newfangled hipster talk and whatnot. The red Ranger looks way older than the rest. Also I realise the original show had a diverse cast, that being its thing, but its just too manufactured for me, too much box ticking. Oh and they switched up the suit colours, so now the Asian bloke isn't in the yellow suit etc...Glad they pointed out and avoided that iffy microaggression, phew!
Old Rita is quite scary I thought considering what this was adapted from. Look at her in the original series and its hilariously embarrassing; look at her here and she looks like a flesh-eating zombie. Although her outfit is still ridiculous looking. The sequence where her body is trawled up by fishermen is pretty dark Jesus! Yet the fishermen didn't seem overly concerned, I'd be freaking out. But end of the day what's her motivation here? What is she really wanting to achieve by destroying the Earth? She used to be a Ranger apparently and now she wants to wipe them out, someone must have really pissed her off! But where did she get her powers? I presume she's an alien?
Yeah so its basically a glum teen angst flick right up until the last act of the movie...and [b]then[/b] we get to see some Power Ranger action. Finally we see the new Iron Man inspired suits doing stuff, and by that I mean a bit of leaping around before jumping into their big transformer zoid thingies (which they can all pilot perfectly first time). All this in time to fight Rita's large monster made out of gold, called Goldar (fuck me). Yeah so its a whole load of pretty average CGI fighting robots and a large liquid gold humanoid. Oh and there are these CGI rock creature henchmen things that just get destroyed easily by the Rangers. So the Rangers eventually win relatively easily all things considered, and Rita gets bitch slapped into space, K. This movie actually gets worse when the Power Ranger action kicks in!
Is this a serious action fantasy? Or is this a jokey light-hearted movie for kids? Come on movie make your mind up here will ya. The visuals are clearly in the serious zone but the tone is all over the show. One minute the actors are acting as if their lives depended on it; the next a huge lumbering gold monster awkwardly walks across the screen with this [i]Voltron[/i] looking transformer hot on its ass. I understand the plot is taken from the original source material, but I can't help but feel they should of put some more thought into it. So yeah, I wasn't a fan before I saw this movie, aaand I can't see myself becoming a fan now. I'm willing to bet the original cheesy TV show was probably far better than this because it knew what it was and embraced that. This movie takes itself so seriously I'm not even sure if MMPR fanboys will like it.
When it comes to reboots, it could go both ways. Either a film transcends the material or it should've just stayed in the past. While I'm not going to be raving that this iteration of the Power Rangers is exceedingly better than the old shows and movies, I'll definitely be giving it a much larger recommendation than I was expecting to. Some viewers may complain about movies just because they copy storylines from other classic films or that their outcome is incredibly predictable, but when a film cares about its story and characters, that doesn't really matter to me. Personally, I found myself predicting most of the story beats here, but I was invested in the events that were happening. For these reasons and more, here is why I highly recommend checking out Power Rangers.
This film begins with slight backstory as to why the events will be taking place throughout the film, but immediately transitions into a super-powered version of The Breakfast Club. This may be a stretch, but if you've seen The Breakfast Club, there will easily be a few elements throughout this film that you'll probably find yourself enjoying. Although there are surprising layers as to why these teenagers end up together, the basic plot is that they come across a rock formation that gives them incredible abilities. They must discover their purpose, learn to bond together as friends, and defeat a looming threat in Rita Repulsa. The performances/chemistry these actors/actresses share is honestly wonderful and what made me like the film as much as I did. That being said, where the film falls apart is the fact that they have to spring into action t take down the villain so quickly.
I've heard critics complaining about how over-the-top Elizabeth Banks is, making her feel out of place in this otherwise serious film, but I can't say I agree. There are enough fun aspects to this movie that does find a safe place to include this incarnation of Rita Repulsa. The issue I have is that she feels thrown into the film just for a climax to occur. I cared far more about the rangers themselves, rather than needing a big action sequence at the end. On top of that, the second the realize their powers, they are immediately sprung into action to pilot giant machines and take her down. The climax is quite fun, but the build-up was a failure in my opinion. Aside from a sloppy climax, there really wasn't much else to complain about here, because the movie knew exactly what it was.
Going into this movie, I was afraid of this film trying to simultaneously devote itself to the old and new crowds, forgetting about the story at hand. To my surprise, that's exactly what they do, but the story still remained at the forefront. You could tell where the nostalgic nods were and where they were trying to bring these characters to a new generation, but that didn't feel jarring at all. When this film wants to be silly, it works for the most part, when it wants to be serious, the cast really shines, and when it just wants you to sit back, turn your brain off and a have some fun, you'll know exactly when that is. This film had a great balance of everything it wanted to accomplish, even if it's predictable from start to finish.
In the end, I'm not going to deny myself and complain about things that bothered others, because I honestly had a blast watching Power Rangers. Yes, it's cliched to the nines, predictable from start to finish, and even a little cheesy when it comes to its dialogue, but this is a fun film for all ages to enjoy. There will be many viewers that could probably care less about this film, but I still recommended checking it out and seeing for yourself. With fun montages, a great cast, and a story that somehow makes itself relevant, Power Rangers is a far from perfect movie that gets a glowing recommendation for me. Sometimes you just want to have fun watching a movie and that's all that Power Rangers is. Clearly mixing elements of The Breakfast Club and Chronicle, there is much more to this film than you might expect. You may hate it, so take this with a grain of salt, but Power Rangers is a blast to watch.
If you were a 90s kid, you know about Power Rangers. Who would have known that a TV show that combined Japanese monster fighting footage with cheesy teen drama and slapstick would become a pop phenom and nostalgic touchstone for a generation of kids? As Hollywood is want to do with anything nostalgic, it was only a matter of time before the series got its own mighty morphin' big screen revision.
In the coastal town of Angel Grove, five teenagers meet in detention and are destined for monster-smashing greatness. Jason (Dacre Montogmery) is a star football player and natural leader. Billy (RJ Cyler) is a nerdy whiz kid on the spectrum. Kimberly (Naomi Scott) is a former cheerleader who has been abandoned by her friends. Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G) are barely at school, both of them tracking their loner paths. One day the fivesome come across strange glowing rocks that imbue them with powers like super strength and agility. "Are we like Spider-Man or Iron Man?" Billy asks, to help orient a superhero savvy audience. They're neither, of course, for they are the Power Rangers, an intergalactic warrior organization meant to protect worlds from threats. Zordon (Bryan Crantson) used to be a ranger millions of years ago and is now a floating head. He assembles the teens because of the looming threat of Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), a former ranger tuned bad and bent on your standard world destruction. The angst-ridden, misunderstood teens must come together to stop Rita and save the Earth.
What tone does one adopt for a $100 million dollar reboot of a popular decades-spanning franchise intended for children that involves such names as Zords, Rita Repulsa, Zordon, Goldar, and the catch-phrase, "It's morphin' time"? Apparently the answer is a cross between Chronicle and Iron Man. For a show that even the most ardent fans would say was anything but serious, we have a fairly serious take on the material, at least serious enough when it wants to be. The filmmakers take a somewhat grounded approach to the sillier elements and that means a lot of palpable Breakfast Club-style teen angst and alienation, and it works. I was genuinely surprised that the second act's focus on the teamwork and training of the five rangers was my favorite part of the film. It is an origin movie so expect a learning curve as the characters adjust to mastering their powers and abilities and the alien technology. You can't just throw out a movie about space ninja cops that ride inside giant robot dinosaurs and battle monsters at the behest of a giant alien floating head without some setup. The training sessions cover a lot of ground but in fun ways that also build sequentially. The ascension of skills and confidence helps the characters open up and bond, and while some moments can be clunky (are any of their parents concerned where these kids go for seeming days on end?) it's pleasant and satisfying to watch the outsiders finally find an understanding community of peers. The teen stars leave a positive impression, most notably Cyler (Earl of Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl) and Scott (The 33), who definitely seems poised for bigger things.
The characters have enough relatable conflicts, drama, and insecurities to produce just enough shades of characterization to make them interesting and worth rooting for. Those conflicts are also somewhat surprisingly adult and modern, often in clash with their parents' requests, something that might lead to some weird conversations in the car if parents bring their young kids. Jason is fighting against his popular image, Billy has a hard time fitting in and making friends because of being autistic, and Zack is the caregiver to his dying mother, and these guys are in a lesser tier of adult conflicts, so think about that. Trini is stifling against her parents expectations and labels, notably implying her own sexual orientation that seems to be tearing her up on the inside, something that she cannot even fully articulate at this time. Maybe the movie is trying to have it both ways by not referencing the word "gay" but it at least felt like a more valid inclusion of conflict and diversity than the recent live-action Beauty and the Beast. Lastly, Kimberly used to be the chief mean girl and the reason why she was jettisoned by the popular set is because she was cyber bullying a would-be friend. She spread a private nude picture her friend sent her boyfriend and shared it throughout school (Jason tries to helpfully mitigate this by saying, "Thousands of pictures are sent in school," which begs the question about Angel Grove's underreported sexting epidemic). The team dynamic and the characters opening up to one another were enjoyable enough that I didn't mind the relative dearth of action for 90 minutes of the two-hour running time.
It's a backdoor superhero movie that finds some interesting dark twists on its source material. The original TV show sought, in the most 90s way, "teenagers with attitude," but the would-be rangers were just sort of normal teenagers. The 2017 movie at least provides that attitude and edge in a way that doesn't feel as generic as a kid riding a skateboard and drinking a Mountain Dew eight inches away from his face. The TV show was campy and colorful and relatively trifling, and the movie version attempts to put more danger and loss into the emotional stakes. Zordon is given a new back-story; no longer is he simply a disembodied mentor, now he has a scheming reason for the rangers to succeed. It's a small thing but it opens up the character of a floating alien head, and I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence. The friendship between our core group of characters matters so that, in the end, when it looks like they might lose, it does feel like something is going to be lost. With that being said, this isn't a reboot that's all gloom and doom. The reality of waking up one day and having super powers is played to the hilt of teen wish fulfillment and it makes for a fun series of self-discovery moments. These are teenagers adjusting to their new powers (heavy-handed puberty metaphor?) and enjoying the new potential unleashed for them. Their fun is contagious as is their camaraderie.
In fact, the conclusion where the rangers do morph and don their armored suits and drive their robotic dinosaur Zords may be the weakest part of the movie. The ultimate payoff feels a bit lackluster and mechanical, as if it's simply falling back on cataclysmic citywide destructive action because that's what is expected in these kinds of movies. Every person should anticipate a giant monster on giant robot brawl to conclude the story as it concluded every one of the 830 episodes. It's just not that interesting especially since the big bad Goldar is simply a big personality-free heavy that looks like he's made from runny Velveeta cheese. Rita, as portrayed with screechy, kooky camp by Banks (Pitch Perfect 2), feels like she's been transported from a different Rangers universe. She literally gobbles gold to summon her colossal champion. She didn't feel like an effective antagonist, and that's even before her wicked scheme correlated with shameless product placement. Rita, Goldar, and their overall evil scheme makes for a rather perfunctory conclusion that feels like a downturn from the earlier, better events. Director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) has a directorial style I'll dub "Michael Bay lite" considering how much his hyperkinetic, blue-tinted, light flared universe jibes with fellow Bay production disciple, Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). His visual compositions can get excessively busy at the worst times, making it hard to fully engage in the onscreen action especially during the climax. There isn't that much action until the final confrontation, and I think this unexpectedly works as an asset to a franchise-starter that functions as an origin tale. Akin to the elongated tease from 2014's Godzilla, there is a sense of relief from watching the rangers in their full suits and fighting with full powers. However, it lacks more payoffs. The movie expects that delaying the final presentation of its heroes is good enough to arouse audience satisfaction, and it's not.
The revised, souped-up Power Rangers (nee Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) is a fitfully entertaining movie that works more often than it doesn't. Fans of the TV show will probably be pleased with the big budget big screen heroics and the reverence shown, though older fans might feel a bit closed off from the teen-centric tone. The relatable angst and group camaraderie made for efficient characterization that helped make the rangers feel like people rather than suits of armor and superfluous gymnastics. I enjoyed the characters enough so that I didn't miss the scattershot action and its slow motion stylistic indulgences. The special effects are fine and transparent its filmic influences, from Chronicle to Iron Man to even The Breakfast Club. It feels familiar but yet still different enough from the cheesy TV show, so it manages to justify itself. As far as my own history, I was just a bit too old once Power Rangers hit, so it was never my nostalgia. I found the new movie an acceptable origin tale that walks a delicate tone that allows serious moments to have weight and non-serious moments to be fun. If you're a Power Rangers kid, I'm sure you'll find enough to sate your demands. If you watched the trailer and thought it looked like something worthwhile, you might find enough to be suitably entertained, especially with well-calibrated expectations. If you're anyone else, then I doubt there's enough to necessitate your mighty morphin' dollars.
Nate's Grade: B-
Dean Israelite's morphs a campy TV series into a full fledged action adventure with the Power Rangers.
Riding in at nearly 2 hours, the character buildup, at least for most of the characters, does its job. The first couple of acts of this picture takes its time morphing into shape, and this is good; the better parts of the film. The finale is where all the fun happens; however it speeds up too quickly for its own good.
The CG and action is a mixed bag, but more than tolerable. The finale showcases more than enough to go around.
RJ Cyler, Dacre Montgomery, and Naomi Scott are the heart of this picture. Ludi Lin, Becky G, and Elizabeth Banks, while integral characters, suffer from a sufficient lack of development.
While the Power Rangers isn't perfect, it more than satiates the hunger for an action adventure.
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