“You five are the Power Rangers.”
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks
Synopsis: Imbued with mysterious new powers of strength and agility, a group of teenage misfits is brought together to fight the evil force that is Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks).
Ah, the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Such glorious stuff! Complete with lo-fi monster battles, kickass martial arts, guitar riffs and unbridled cheesiness, it was pure ’90s perfection. Here we are, many moons later, and the gang is back on the big screen. And though the series has moved forwards in many ways, it’s lost much of its charm in the process.
Whereas the original show knew exactly what tone it was aiming for (i.e. all out ridiculousness), Power Rangers finds itself caught in two minds. Yes, there are plenty of quips to be found still. And yes, Elizabeth Banks chews the scenery wonderfully as the villainous Rita Repulsa. But those elements can feel at odds with attempts that are made to alleviate some of the cheese, the film suffering from a serious lack of the colour and vibrancy associated with the franchise at large.
There’s some nice set up initially as the team is established (with RJ Cyler’s excellent Billy standing out in particular), and points should be awarded for the diversity – one of the aforementioned steps forward for the series – but once that makes way for endless montages and a CGI mess of a final act it all becomes a touch disappointing.
Lore changes I can live with (except for Alpha 5’s new abilities – bleugh). But the tonal shift I’m less forgiving towards. We get a maximum five minutes of the fully trained Rangers in hand to hand combat, and roughly ten seconds of Zords stomping across the screen to the classic theme tune. It’s exactly that which the film could have used more of. This just isn’t how I remember the Power Rangers at all.
Rating (out of 5):