Despite some inconsistencies in tone and cheesy writing, Power Rangers sets strong characters to make the prospect of sequels exciting.
A group of five teenagers are somehow in the same place at the same time to develop supernatural powers. They come from different walks of life, in The Breakfast Club fashion, and otherwise would have never spoken. However, their training sessions are rushed, hurrying to stop Rita Repulsa from destroying the source of human life.
Power Rangers is commendable for its diversity. The Rangers come from a variety of races and backgrounds. Additionally, one of the rangers is on the autism spectrum while another might be LGBT. The latter is more of a passing remark, indicating that the character is questioning her identity. Before this may get overhyped, this moment is small, but it opens doors to explore this character more in sequels, maybe eventually firmly introducing her as a gay superhero. It is so important that this movie in particular covers such a range of representation, as this will likely introduce Power Rangers to a new generation.
Power Rangers struggles in switching between relishing its over-the-top nature and taking itself too seriously. It is so enjoyable when it is campy: it really leans into the inherent humor of the situation. However, it feels awkward and stilted when it becomes too serious. Thankfully, this does not happen too often, yet, when it does, it usually results in unnecessary inspirational monologues.
In addition, the dialogue is sometimes not crafted that skillfully. Some of the lines are noticeably cheesy, detracting from the experience. The script really has a problem “telling not showing.” So many of the lines are irrelevant because the audience can literally see what characters are saying. The script does manage to mostly redeem itself through some great humor.
Even though it spends about an hour on exposition, Power Rangers moves at a nice pace. It is refreshing that it is not inundated by numerous battle scenes, leaving time to explore the characters to some extent. However, once the plot starts revving up, all focus on characters is tossed aside for a lengthy action sequence. Unfortunately, the action scenes in general feel a little too chaotic. Especially at the beginning, where there are two car chases within about twenty minutes of each other. They feel exactly the same and it is practically impossible to figure out what is going on because it is filmed so poorly.
All of the Rangers give solid performances, committing to the cheesy dialogue. Their characters and relationships are the strongest aspects of the movie. Although this film did not have too much time to go in-depth into the characters, it will be exciting to see sequels explore character development more. This film is about the Power Rangers, but the adults give the most noteworthy performances.
Bryan Cranston does fine as Zordon. It is not the most challenging character and easily could have been played by anyone, but Cranston makes the most out of it. Bill Hader’s Alpha 5 is one of the highlights of Power Rangers. Alpha 5 feels like a droid right out of Star Wars, and it is easy to imagine that he would either be best friends with or hated by K2-SO. Elizabeth Banks plays Rita Repulsa with amazing sincerity. Her performance really emphasizes the over-the-top tone of the movie, yet is still genuinely scary.
Power Rangers is by no means a perfect movie, but it is still a lot of fun. Both fans and those who have never been exposed to Power Rangers can enjoy it. There are definitely a few in-jokes thrown in for fans, but most are not too obscure to be recognized by others. Power Rangers is an exciting superhero movie, working with an interesting combination of genres.