Disclaimer: before watching this film, I knew nothing about Power Rangers apart from they came in different colours. In reception year at school I was second understudy Pink Ranger & that was about it. But, I did watch this film with some very big fans of Power Rangers & they got very very excited.
It’s Dean Israelite directing a mostly fresh cast of up & coming actors, with Elizabeth Banks, Brian Cranston & Bill Hader as supporting roles all following a screenplay by John Gatins. The film is about five teenagers who all stumble across the power ranger coins & become the first team in 65 million years, & have a big bad to defeat.
The characters are all pretty great, & not all superhero-y perfect either – they all meet in detention after all. That’s what the Power Rangers are meant to be anyway; a group of imperfect teenagers who save the day every now & then.
Here’s a run down of each one of the rangers (& a couple of others too):
Jason – Red Ranger
Jason is who the film starts with, & the character who guides us through it. He’s completely off the track in life but still is a good person & a natural leader, & someone you can trust. He’s played by Dacre Montgomery, who’s also been cast in season two of Stranger Things.
Billy – Blue Ranger
Billy is smart, calculated in a light hearted way & funny – & totally open about being on the autistic spectrum. He’s a superhero with autism!! How cool is that!! He’s the glue that holds the group together, & he’s played brilliantly by RJ Cyler, who you may have seen in Me, Earl & the Dying Girl.
Kimberly – Pink Ranger
Kimberly is experiencing being unpopular for the first time in her life. She did an awful thing that she truffles to deal with, but manages to come out a better person through it. She’s vulnerable but strong & committed to the team, & Naomi Scott plays her perfectly.
Trini – Yellow Ranger
Trini is an outsider, more so perhaps than any of the other rangers. She moves schools a lot & never allows herself to get close to anyone, & constantly weighs herself down with the fact that her parents can’t understand her. She’s moody but dedicated when she lets herself be involved in something, & she’s also the first gay superhero!!!!! This film guys!!! Trini is played by Becky G & she is great.
Zack – Black Ranger
Zack is one of those kids who’s a bit of an arsehole just because he’s lashing out due to actually being sensitive. He’s got a really big heart & can actually open up easily – I think he’s reckless because he wants to live a little (no spoilers but he’s tied down with big responsibilities at home. Ludi Lin plays him & is really good at balancing both the caring & daredevil sides of him.
Zordon is an original Power Ranger who’s trapped in the underground ship after he was killed 65 million years ago. He’s the one who decides how to train the new rangers & teach them about their new responsibilities etc, but in all honesty he’s just a bit of an arsehole. He does have redeeming moments but he is a way harsher Zordon than I think people were expecting, but it’s not necessarily in a bad way. And of course it’s Brian Cranston, so he’s excellent.
Alpha 5 is the lovable little robot thing who’s the face to face teacher of the Power Rangers He follow’s Zordon’s commands & does all that jazz, but we loved him most because at one point he accidentally dabs. No jokes. Oh & he’s voiced by Bill Hader which is almost a perfect pairing.
While I do think that Rita is a bit of a ridiculous name for a super villain, I can’t not admit that she was cool. She was the perfect level of scary supervillian you need to defeat that was also still defeat-able by a group of fresh superheroes. Also, can Elizabeth Banks even do any wrong? She’s really excellent as Rita & I love it.
And hey! Let’s take a second to acknowledge that diversity! Out of all the rangers only one is white, one is gay & one is autistic. I AM ALIVE. It’s ridiculous that it’s 2017 & only now are we having the first LGBT superhero, but I am so happy the day is finally here. The best thing about the diversity is that it isn’t made a big deal of – it’s acknowledged but not made a prominent part of the stories at all. It’s just five normal teenagers who are all totally different, which is so refreshing.
I thought the writing & story were actually pretty decent. Despite the entire storyline being a little stereotypical cheesy superhero origins story, there weren’t many individual cheesy moments. It felt a little more adult & had a pretty solid story arch, acknowledging that it’s not an easy premise to make not cheesy & therefore trying to excel in elsewhere. It just makes it really fun – it knows it can’t be brilliant because of what it’s working with.
There’s a few references to Power Ranger adaptations of the past too. There’s “Reefside” & “Ocean Bluff Rd.” signposts that are nods to 2004’s Power Rangers DinoThunder & 2008’s Power Rangers Jungle Fury, which were set in the cities of Reefside and Ocean Bluff. There’s also small cameos from Amy Jo Johnson & Jason David Frank, who were Kimberly & Tommy in 93’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers which will make fans very happy.
The costumes are really cool! There’s little hints of each ranger in their clothing all the way through, which designer Kelli Jones did in a subtle way rather than having them all wearing their designated ranger colour all the time. And their actual Ranger suits have been given a cool makeover to a more armour like appearance rather than just the lycra body suits they’ve previously been famed for wearing. My favourite costume above all thought is Rita’s – it’s an adaptation of her original green ranger suit that’s transformed into something almost unrecognisable. It’s torn & appears to be growing as it’s own thing, & looks so cool. Elizabeth Banks wears it so well.
Can we talk about that soundtrack? It’s so good! It’s also not forced – the songs all work with the film & aren’t just thrown in to make it seem better than it is (& of course they play Go Go Power Rangers).
Overall I’m pleasantly surprised. I honestly thought it was going to be a cop-out, really shit reboot but it was really decent! It was fun & serious at times, acknowledged the cheesy points but still making it genuinely exciting & enjoyable.
As a newcomer or a fan I think it’s safe to say you’ll have a lot of fun with it.
Power Rangers is out now