Tugging at the nostalgic heartstrings of adults across the country, Power Rangers was released March 24 to shocking results. The Dean Israelite-directed film is an adaptation of the hit ‘90s television show, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” a story of five teenagers with attitude who are given superhero powers from an ancient wizard to combat against the vile Rita Repulsa.
The phrase “teenagers with attitude” seems to be an understatement when comparing the original television heroes to their on-screen counterparts, and that is for the better.
The movie stars relatively unknown actors in the title roles of the Power Rangers, with the exception of Becky G, a widely known Mexican-American singer who is making her theatrical debut as Trini, the Yellow Power Ranger. Alongside her are the other power rangers: RJ Cyler plays the Blue Ranger, Ludi Lin plays the Black Ranger, Dacre Montgomery plays the Red Ranger and Naomi Scott plays the Pink Ranger.
Throughout the course of the film, each actor masterfully showcases the struggles of what it means to be a teenager in this day and age. The issues are relatable to a certain degree and it is especially nice to experience the first showing of an autistic and LGBTQ superhero on film.
Each actor gives believable performances, with some prompting the audience to shed some tears when watching a campfire scene during the film.
The Rangers are accompanied by the likes of Tony-winning actor Bryan Cranston and Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks who play the roles of Zordon and Rita Repulsa, respectively. Despite seeing only his face for the majority of the film, Cranston plays a key role as the mentor of the immature heroes and holds a secret that definitely shakes up the plot.
Banks, while a bit over the top at moments, gives an electrifying performance as the main villain of the film, with some scenes being downright menacing.
The plot of the original “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” while beloved by many, was always stale at best. Although proving to be a challenge, the screenwriting team behind the movie definitely gave its best to adapt the mythology and lore of the series to the big screen. The plot may be cliche at times in line with other superhero origin films, but it is obvious that the film packs a ton of heart that would win over any skeptic.
Perhaps the biggest negative of the film, besides some occasional cheesy dialogue, would be the long second act. The first act does a great job introducing each Ranger and the struggles they face, but the second seems to drag a bit as the Rangers train and learn the value of teamwork in time before Repulsa’s impending doom.
Over an hour into the movie, the heroes still did not morph into the color-coded armor-wielding Power Rangers. However, the long wait does pay off in some aspects when the audience finally sees the five teenagers walk down a hallway with a brilliant musical score composed by Brian Taylor playing in the background.
The second act is completely devoted to character-building, which may turn many people off—especially children—but in the end it goes a long way for making the audience care for characters when they finally go off into battle.
The third act of the film is pure adrenaline-packed action as the Rangers finally don the suits and battle the “putties,” Repulsa’s henchmen. Audiences may get just a bit giddy to hear the original 1995 “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” theme song play in the background as the Rangers jump into their Zords—giant Transformer-like robots themed after dinosaurs—in a scene reminiscent of the original show.
The action kicks to another level when the Zords combine to make a giant robot, which Cyler’s character names the Megazord, and proceeds to face off in a Pacific Rim-style showdown with one of Repulsa’s baddies, Goldar.
The film does a fantastic job at introducing the world of Power Rangers for new and old fans alike. Audiences can head into this movie with no previous knowledge of the children’s action show and leave knowing all they need to know for the guaranteed sequel.
At the same time, the movie does an excellent job at providing nostalgic value for all the long-time fans of the series who came in hoping to release their inner child—especially when one stays for the mid-credits scene.
Power Rangers exceeded studio expectations this past weekend at the box office with a $40.5 million release, although anyone who watched the film would not be surprised.
While obvious that this film was made with the intentions of a future franchise in mind, the film deserves every penny doing the one thing many fans did not expect—a mighty, satisfying, reimagined reboot of a cherished children’s television show.