‘POWER RANGERS’ (2017) MOVIE REVIEW – It’s Morphin Time
GO GO Power Rangerrrrsssss, here it is, one of my most anticipated movies of the year as a Power Rangers fan….. and did it deliver? Well…. to put it simply, it was good, but ever so slightly. The movie follows a familiar story with 5 teenagers who develop super powers and must learn to train and fight as a single unit in order to defeat the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). This modern retelling is a more grounded and slightly more mature story as oppose to the very campy, silly, and pretty dumb tone of the original show and movie. And this is a change that had to be made to modernise the Power Rangers, appearance-wise all of the alterations to the franchise worked in the context of this world. It’s just that the story was pretty all over the place for the first two acts of the film with some highs that were entertaining and a little funny but also some stretches where it just wasn’t all that interesting at all. It picks up again in the last third for a strong finale where i was given more or less everything i came for, but was it too little too late???
Firstly i will say i did really like the new actors portraying all of the rangers, i thought Dacre Montgomery (Jason), Naomi Scott (Kimberly), RJ Cyler (Billy), Ludi Lin (Zack), and Becky G (Trini) were fantastic and all did a good job at bringing their characters to life with different personalities and many moments of really good chemistry. This movie for most of it would have been unbearable if the characters weren’t at least likeable. As for a good chunk of the film you are getting to know the new team and watch them grow to overcome their own imperfections and differences. If i was to pick a favourite it would probably be Billy or Jason who i thought had the strongest characters in the overall film. Trini was the one character though who really annoyed me in most of her early scenes, it is part of her character but she was just so shitty and pissed off all the time that it was hard to connect with her. The fact that we didn’t know why she was that way for a good chunk of the film also didn’t help.
As for the big name supporting cast i thought Brian Cranston (Zordon) was as good as you could be as a face on a giant wall sized ‘Pin Art’ toy. He is a talented actor and bought all he could to the film. Bill Hader as Alpha 5 was also pretty good, he delivered various bits of humour, managed to get in Alpha’s classic line, and was very serviceable in his role, nothing spectacular there. Elizabeth Banks for me was a little hit or miss as Rita Repulsa, she had some good scenes where she was terrifying, menacing, and appropriately evil. But she also had some scenes where she overplayed the crazy and felt like she was leaning a little too far towards the cheesy silliness of the character in the original series. Compared to the very grounded nature of the rest of the film she stood out and didn’t really fit that much.
Now where this film severely struggles is with the pacing of the first two acts and the way some of the story elements are told. For the first hour it is a literal rollercoaster of a film, every second scene or so i’m enjoying what i’m watching but then every other scene it just feels slow and like they’re buying time in order to get that runtime up to 2 hours. And the further into the film it got without getting to the morphing the more i was getting frustrated. There were bits of fun integrated into these first two acts so it breaks it up a little. Due to the very uneven pacing of events the slow moments were in small stints which i guess is better than a good hour and 15 minutes of straight up sleep inducing material. And there is one thing that happens right at the end of the second act that lasts a good 10 minutes and leads into the third act which i won’t spoil here but it really was stupid. I mean, the event served a purpose story-wise but it was just dumb, and literally there to draw out another 10 minutes.
But once that third act hits and you get the Rangers in their full suits shit goes crazy, and i loved every minute right up until the very end, especially being a fan of the series. This is what i came to see and i only wish this was at least half of the film as oppose to a quarter, but hey, it’s an origin story. You get plenty of fan service moments with cool action sequences that really close out the film on a high note. It still doesn’t bring back any of the silly campiness of the original but at least the fun is consistently present here where it definitely wasn’t in the rest of the film. Also Dean Israelite directs this film and you can definitely tell as the entire first two acts do feel like slightly under par version of ‘Project Almanac’. And if there’s one other good thing to come out of this film it’s that you have a drinking game; so whenever ‘Krispy Kreme’ is either mentioned or visually represented in the movie take a shot…… because i’ll tell you it’s a lot more than once.
So in the end this movie wasn’t all i really wanted a modern more grounded Power Rangers reboot to be but i feel like at least for fans of the original show there is enough in here to where you can definitely like the movie. But i just didn’t love the movie like i wanted to, the unevenness of the first two acts was the biggest killer here with some minor nit picks just etching away at that score. But i think it established a good team of Rangers and good groundwork to then shoot off for a sequel introducing new characters and not having to worry about setting up the world…. which only means more of the good stuff.