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Power Rangers Review


Now on it’s 24th iteration, the Power Rangers is a t.v. show fuelled by nostalgia (and stock footage from Japan’s even longer running Super Sentai series). While it’s always gaining younger fans, the older fans drop in and out, spurred on by fond memories of colour coded teenage warriors beating up increasingly outrageous looking monsters and giant robots that combine into even bigger robots. And this nostalgia factor is something the big screen reboot of Power Rangers leans heavily on, while at the same time attempting to swap out the show's cheesy, too earnest for its own good spirit for something a bit edgier. But does it work? Well, yes and no.

Power Rangers is definitely a movie of two halves, a grittier, more grounded tone giving way to something a lot campier come the giant monster fight of a finale. Things kick off when five, outcast teenagers Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Trini, and Zack (Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, and Ludi Lin) stumble upon the power coins of the Power Rangers, an ancient group of warriors who have been protecting the planet for hundreds of thousands of years. While they slowly get to grips with their new found powers, they are charged by giant floating head Zordan (Bryan Cranston, doing fine in a role that is just there to spout off exposition) to stop the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) from finding the uber-important Zeo Crystal. That’s it for the story, and for much of its 124 minute runtime, Power Rangers is your typical, by the numbers super hero origin story. There’s no big surprises to be found in the narrative, and the movie just goes through the motions of the disparate team coming together (complete with training sequence montages) to kick evil’s ass.

Thankfully, the main cast of Power Rangers director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) has assembled more than make up for the trite story. In the original (and I am probably opening myself up to being ripped apart by rapid Power Rangers fans here), the characters felt defined by the colour shirt they wore. There is a lot more character depth this time round, with John Gatins’ script mining a rich vein of teenage angst, pairing it with a world weary cynicism that makes the cliches much easier to swallow. And fair play to the movie for tackling an on the spectrum character, in the form of Cyler’s Billy, with grace and respect. Never once does the approach to the character feel ham fisted or a caricature, and Cyler’s sweet, good natured portrayal may lead him to becoming your favourite character.

As I mentioned before, the tone fluctuates wildly as the movie marches on, and you can almost feel the campiness slowly takeover, especially with Bank’s villainess transforming from a genuinely creepy presence to a cackling bad guy that could have been ripped right out of the t.v. show. Any real Power Ranger-ing doesn’t actually happen till the last twenty five minutes, and once the costumes come on and the admittedly impressive looking CG Zords roll out, that’s when the camp fully takes hold, our heroes cracking wise and spouting dialogue that will put the Power Rangers fans in the audience into a sweet nostalgia coma. But even if it is a complete 180 of what came before, the finale is so much fun as giant robot dinosaurs bound around the screen destroying everything in sight. This sole action set piece is in fact so well crafted, that it is a shame that Israelite wasn’t given a chance to further show off what he can do.

A massive nostalgia hit for fans of the Power Rangers franchise, this big screen reboot is a fun distraction for everyone else.


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The Movie Bit: Power Rangers Review
Power Rangers Review
The Movie Bit
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