Power Rangers review: Mighty mediocre
It’s not too surprising that a new Power Rangers movie would share a lot in common with the new wave of superhero films.
It sits on top of impenetrably thick source material that the filmmakers needed to hack their way through to make a two hour movie to attract new initiates. The question this creates is: did it meander about and leave you wanting like Avengers: Age of Ultron, or did it show the source respect and love, and strive to make something new and exciting like Captain America: Civil War?
Since you’ve read the headline and probably scrolled down once to read the score at the bottom of the page, you’ll know that it is, unfortunately, the former.
Five teenagers, all in Saturday detention a la Breakfast Club and all social outcasts despite having supermodel good looks, find colour-coded coins in a mine that lead them to an ancient spaceship.
Inside of the ship Alpha 5 (Bill Hader) introduces them to Zordon (Bryan Cranston), a now dead alien who survives as an AI very much like Jor-El in Man Of Steel.
Zordon tells the kids that the coins can turn them into warriors known as the Power Rangers, the only force who can protect their town of Angel Grove against Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). Repulsa was a member of Zordon’s team before turning on them, and now she’s returned to retrieve a magical crystal maguffin, which holds infinite power and is buried somewhere in their town.
Cue training montage, cue poorly fabricated confrontations within the team, cue Repulsa doing evil stuff around town leading up to a big final battle and cue the Power Rangers finally morphing and having a big old CGI fest of a fight.
This story, while predictable down to almost every piece of dialogue, is serviceable. It’s just okay here because it does what it’s needed to do with not an iota more.
In my review of The Space Between Us I emphasised how a poor story (and film) can be rescued by stellar performances. Well, you won’t find many here.
Bryan Cranston really feels like he’s phoning it in for starters. You never see him directly – he’s either under a mountain of makeup or CGI – but you can hear it in his performance. He sounds bored in his delivery and, when he speaks an alien dialect, it’s like your unenthusiastic dad trying to read Klingon.
Bill Hader is adequate as a sassy robot that could have been copy pasted from a Transformers movie, and the five main characters are so laughably interchangeable that they don’t bear mentioning. They do their job fine enough with only one or two grating scenes between them.
The only outlier is Elizabeth Banks who steals the show. She lays on the cheese heavily and will probably be picking scenes of this movie out of her teeth for months to come. The performance was over the top and a little ridiculous, which is just want you want for this Saturday morning cartoon villain.
Some decent action scenes could’ve elevated this dreck, but unfortunately, the Power Rangers kick butt in a rather pedestrian way.
The Rangers don’t suit up until right at the end of the movie, and the choreography feels lazy and uninspired. The Zords again look like something left on the Transformers cutting room floor, and it really says something about a movie when giant robot dinosaurs can’t rescue it. After end battle when the Megazord pops up, it’s all over, and you’re left wanting.
The filmmakers didn’t take any risks, didn’t do anything special with a very special licence, and didn’t show enough love and care to make something, well, good.
This is when you, as a Power Rangers fan, need to make a choice. Is offence worse than a hack job like the Last Airbender movie?
If you’re answer is “no”, then you may find what you’re seeking with this movie. For everyone else in need of something similar, wait a little while for the next Marvel movie, or see something like Kong: Skull Island instead.