Power Rangers is a new blockbuster based off the old TV show of the same name, focusing on a team of heroes in different coloured suits with giant robot dinosaurs, I’m pretty sure everyone knows what the power rangers are. This film follows a group of different high school students, Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Trini and Zack, who are all isolated, and when the group find a collection of coloured coins, and an alien spaceship carrying the AI consciousness of an alien hero, in the town quarry, they are transformed into the super powered rangers, and must train to defend the world from the evil Rita Repulsa. This film takes itself more seriously than the show used to, gone are the swooshing fists and over the top, well, over the top absolutely everything, but this film isn’t like all the dark and depressing DC films either, there is a lot of fun and excitement to be had. It reminded me a lot of Pacific Rim, the sort of film that is fun to watch because of the big, and really well done, CGI action that’s just supposed to be cool, but then if you actually think about it you know it’s got a lot of problems. I had a lot of problems with Power Rangers, there were so many things that annoyed me and were just plain stupid, but despite that I actually enjoyed the film quite a bit, even though I never watched the TV show as a kid. It’s a fun popcorn film that if you switch off your brain you can have a blast with, and none of the issues are offensively bad, there actually quite fun to laugh at, so bear that in mind as this review is probably going to sound very negative. This film is directed by Dean Israelite, and stars Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G. and Ludi Lin as the Red, Pink, Blue, Yellow and Black rangers, with supporting roles from Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, and Bill Hader.
I think the reason why the film is much better than I was expecting is the effort and care put into the five main characters. The group chemistry was excellent, and there was so much energy and fun behind all five performances, so it was just fun watching the group interact with each other. The film takes ages to even get them into their Power Rangers suits, which was annoying, but the fact that the group meshed so well together meant I wasn’t sitting there waiting for the suits to come out and the action to start. The film focuses a little bit more on Jason, Kimberly and Billy (the Red, Pink and Blue Rangers) than on Trini and Zack. We see more of them three in their ordinary life before they get powers than the other two, who don’t turn up until right before they find the coins, and while we do learn more about Trini and Zack (Yellow and Black) later on in the film, I wish they’d been given the same attention earlier on as the other three. The five felt a lot like they were in the Breakfast Club, they each had a distinct personality (and they match the five in the breakfast club pretty closely) and secrets that they’re ashamed of, they even meet at Saturday School! Billy, played by RJ Cyler, was by far the most interesting and engaging character, the film sets up Jason as the main protagonist and the leader of the group, but the film feels like it’s more about Billy. He is incredibly funny and likeable and is on the autistic spectrum, which they handled really well. All the other characters were great as well, but RJ Cyler made the film with his performance as Billy. The action was surprisingly sparse, as I said the suits don’t come out for ages. There’s a lot of training montages though, which were funny if nothing else. I would have preferred more action in a film like this, but as I said the great group stopped it from being boring. When the suits did come out, it was very exciting and well done, and even though they’re fighting a faceless army of CGI rock monsters, you can enjoy it, because that’s what you’re expecting with a film like this. The robots are fun as well, although the CGI for them looked a little sloppy at points. Actually, I think the film lost quite a bit of steam just towards the end, during the robot scene, it felt more like Transformers than Pacific Rim. There were some cool things in there but overall once the robots came out it felt more generic and dull. The film didn’t really seem to know what tone it was going for either. For the most part, it was having fun and not taking itself too seriously, it was funny while still being semi realistic. Then there would be points where it would go maybe too serious, like the fact that their suits are all dark and dull colours, rather than the bright colours of the show, and this scary nightmare sequence that felt like it belonged in Batman vs. Superman. Then, on top of that, there were moments that felt incredibly goofy and cartoony, and were probably forced in to get more nostalgia from fans of the show. For example, Elizabeth Bank’s performance as Rita Repulsa was so over the top, it didn’t mesh well with the more genuine performances from the Rangers. Also, at one point, out of nowhere, the “Go Go Power Rangers” music started! It was right in between two generic poppy/rap songs (on that note, the films soundtrack is pretty forgettable), and it felt so forced and odd it made me laugh for the wrong reasons. I was expecting it to appear at some point, but maybe during the end credits or remixed into a montage scene, but it was so forced in and it wasn’t good at all, and just made the tone feel very sloppy. The worst thing about the film though, by a long way, was the incredibly unsubtle and distracting product placement from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. They force Krispy Kreme’s into the films plot so sloppily that it’s just infuriating. I wouldn’t be surprised if they paid for the whole film. I would have been fine with a logo in the background or something, but having your main villain stop and eat a doughnut during the big fight is totally ridiculous.
I was surprised that I enjoyed Power Rangers, but I really did. It isn’t a good film really but it’s a fun one, and if you’re in the mood to switch your brain off and have a good time then you might like this one. I never watched the original show, although I know enough about it to get most of the references, but I still enjoyed this so it doesn’t rely on nostalgia. The five leads were brilliant and a lot of fun to watch.
P.S. There really was a breakfast club vibe, during the first half especially. It was quite funny imagining the five teenagers in that film becoming the Power Rangers.