henever Hollywood attempts to reboot a beloved property on the big screen it always feels reconstructed to be acceptable for large audiences. The best thing that can be said about the 2017 reboot of Power Rangers is that it never feels like it's betraying the core values of the franchise, however that may be a disappointing selling point for those who never quite connected to the property in the first place, but are going in to expect a different or a darker approach than its previous incarnations.
Make no mistake this Power Rangers is still as campy and cheesy as the original Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, it just looks much better, this is a film for the fans who always wondered what Power Rangers would look like if the special effects budget matched the TV shows ambition.
Taking place in a small town called Angel Grove, the film follows the same basic stricter of the 1990s incarnation, it tells a story of what happens when five very different high school students stumble upon an ancient spaceship buried underneath their town. Discovered with it are five coloured disks that turn them into super-powered versions of their previous selves, stronger and faster than any normal person can be.
Of course those gifts do come with a certain responsibility when they learn that they have been chosen to be earth's newest team of Power Rangers, an ancient order of super powered beings that have fought to protect the planet since the dawn of time, with the villainous Rita Repulsa awaking from her slumber, hell bent on destroying all life on the planet they must learn to harness their morphing powers before Rita has the chance to complete her mission.
Luckily they are not alone in their quest but are guided by Bryan Cranston as Lord Zordon, a former Ranger who’s consciousness lives in the buried spaceship and his robot assistant Alpha Five voiced by Bill Hader. Both actors feel particularly perfect for their roles, with Hader bringing his usual charm and wit and Cranston using his grit and wisdom to lead the team against Repulsa. While the film tries its best to give each Ranger their own specific problems and pests its clear that which ones interest the filmmakers the most.
Jason, Kimberly, and Billy get the most to do throughout and young actors managed to bring likability and spirit to their roles, meanwhile Trini and Zack feel like the odd members of the team introduced later than the other three and given far less to do emotionally. Similarly Elizabeth Banks feels weirdly miscast as Rita Repulsa, whilst a traditionally cheesy character, Banks, goes way over the top with her performance.Unlike the rest of the characters' grounded performances in the film, Rita can’t quite but feel oddly comedic, rather than sinister and fearsome.
As a result Power Rangers can struggle to find the right tone at times especially after during the half-hazardly paced middle section. Occasionally the film managed to capture the sense of wonder and joy that audience wants from their superhero origin stories, but it also clashes with the much noticeability slower and easier paced opening act. It’s only during the final thirty minutes that Power Rangers feels like it’s succeeding in blending fun and emotion and stages a final battle that is as visually exciting as it is well staged and executed. On that same note the filmmakers are never afraid to have fun in this film, and this effort feels like it should be applauded.
Power Rangers likely won’t do much for those who never liked the property in the first place but for those who grew up with it or its many incarnations throughout the years; it provides the passionate and loving reboot that we very rarely see from the studio system nowadays. One it goes deeper into its mythology without ever losing the camp element that makes it so much fun in the first place.