Back when the movie released our site wasn’t publishing reviews and so we never reviewed the film. I had the privilege of watching it again this weekend and thought a review would be a fun idea. I saw the film in theaters back when it came out and enjoyed it. I thought it was an “OK” film and wouldn’t have been upset if there wasn’t a sequel. Likewise, I would have been happy to see a sequel. After my second viewing I will say, I hope they do more.
Power Rangers feels very self aware. It uses high school stereotypes such as the popular jock, nerd, cheerleader, cast away and more for each of the characters. What is great is that it uses these personalities to shape the story and the character development. For instance, Jason was the star quarterback, popular and then he injured himself. He uses his status and popularity to help Billy and to ultimately be the leader of the Power Rangers. It isn’t necessarily deep but it works. Further, the film doesn’t shy away from high school drama and immaturity and I love this. While I don’t miss my days in high school at all, the Rangers was always about a bunch of high school kids and the film portrayed the teenage angst quite well. Early in the film, these teenage stereotypes are clearly seen and it sets the stage for what is to come.
When the trailers were released I was skeptical about the film and there was one major reason. Unfortunately it still holds true. Elizabeth Banks as Rita was a terrible casting decision! Why they ever thought this was a good idea I will not understand. Don’t get me wrong, I love Elizabeth. Her time on Scrubs as Kim (the mother of her and JD’s child) was outstanding and she is great in other roles such as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games trilogy. Rita is the classic Power Rangers villain and I honestly didn’t mind the twist that she was the green ranger. While her look was also not great, it was mainly Banks’ performance as the iconic character. I’m used to the comical ravings of the Riva and Goldar below:
Banks’s Rita was obviously written differently but it was a character that is far out of what she is apt to portray. This was a role meant for a different actress. I would have loved to have seen someone like Cate Blanchet, Tilda Swinton, Helena Bonham Carter or any number of other actresses in this role. Banks was poorly cast and it took the score down quite a bit from what it could have been. All in all, the villain was poorly done and it was a massive let down for this long time Rangers fan. The same can be said for Goldar. Sure, the Gorilla from the original show was pretty cheesy but at least he had a mind of his own and could talk. I didn’t like that Goldar was just a giant monster made of gold that didn’t have a mind of its own or any real character at all. Overall the villains in this movie were a massive let down.
While the villains were a massive let down, the Megazord and the Rangers in costume were not. I was skeptical of the outfits at first but ended up loving them in the final release. I like them enough that when people say that Ezra Miller’s flash looks like a Power Ranger, I think it’s a positive thing which is very unlike how I felt when people compared Oscar Issac’s Apocalypse to Ivan Ooze from the Power Rangers movie in the 90’s.
The Rangers have come a long way and gone through massive transformations. Interestingly enough, their new Megazord looks like a Transformer straight out of the Michael Bay franchise but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Megazord scene was one of the best parts of the movie. The Rangers had to come together to work as a cohesive team unit to take down Goldar. Again, the character of Goldar was pretty pitiful but the fight scene was epic.
Overall, Power Rangers was a solid movie that is worthy of a sequel. The characters are endearing and likable for the most part and function well as teenagers. The film captures the teenage angst and immaturity that I would expect from a film about teenagers who become heroes unexpectedly. The relationships and teenage portrayal are some of the best part of the film. It simply works but, unfortunately, the villains did not. Elizabeth Banks as the Green Ranger/Rita was atrocious and one of the worst castings I have seen in a long time and Goldar was a major let down when he ended up being an emotionless and wordless monster. Yes, even the emotionless monster helped in a great fight with the center point being Krispy Kreme (the product placement here was so in the face but still funny). The Megazord and Goldar battle was a great lesson in how to work as a team and truly saw the Rangers bind together to accomplish a heroic deed. Power Rangers deserves a sequel. Hopefully it get one due to how well it performed overseas. I’m interested to see what they do with the franchise and look forward to seeing the Green Ranger (my favorite) in action. I hope to see this franchise go on into the future enough that we get the white and gold ranger variations on the Green Ranger but time will tell on that front.
3 out of 5 Couch Cushions and a throw pillow (3.5)
For more superhero coverage check out Review: Marvel’s Inhumans and Opinion: DC is Clueless and I Hope it Changes Fast