The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is a series that holds a firm place in the hearts of those who remember the original series when it aired. Despite the dangerously low qualities of acting and effects that would make anyone under the age of twenty scoff, another outing for the classic Angel Grove teenagers feels long overdue. After twenty years since any Power Rangers graced the silver screen, it’s a surprisingly welcome return.
Following the story of Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery) as he is put under house arrest and sent to detention following a prank gone wrong. Along with fellow students in detention, they are recruited by Zordon (Bryan Cranston), the previous Red Ranger to become the new Power Rangers and protect the world from his nemesis, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks).
For this feature to have any chance, adapting to modern audiences was a crucial factor. This being the first Power Rangers movie to run over 2 hours, and not to have a PG certificate, the latter due to some amusing but risky jokes that will fly right over the heads of new fans. The new instalment also features a much stronger plot than its predecessors (can’t move for plot holes in those films) focusing on the meeting of the new rangers, learning their abilities and even features a brief history on Zordon. The production values have been greatly increased too, which thankfully allows for no more spandex costumes, Rita’s putty henchmen included. By far one of the biggest changes between the films is the acting abilities from the cast, Bill Hader and Bryan Cranston being the biggest names to grace the film portraying Alpha 5 and Zordon respectively both provide a bit of a deeper character than previous incarnations. The biggest standout from the new team however is RJ Cyler, who plays Billy Cranston, the Blue Ranger. His role being one of the most interesting, since he plays the first mainstream super hero to appear on the autistic spectrum. And in no half measures, it is not only referenced in dialogue, but his habits do feature as important plot points. This being Cyler’s second starring role following 2015’s criminally underappreciated Me And Earl and the Dying Girl, we should be seeing plenty of Cyler in the years to come.
This is not to say the acting is all round great but what is surprising is that the problems don’t really lie with the newcomers. Naomi Scott, who plays the Pink Ranger, Kimberly Hart, mostly delivers but there are a couple of instances with spectacularly weak delivery in what should be fairly-emotionally charged scenes. Probably most surprising however is Elizabeth Bank’s role in the film. Although she is fairly terrifying in her first few scenes, as the film progresses she seems to radiate the levels of cheese that emitted from the original series. The film does also focus perhaps a bit too much on the bonding of the new team causing quite a wait before any of the new crystal suits make their appearance, and even then, most of their outing is spent hidden away in the new Zords (Dinosaur vehicles for those new to the franchise). Product placement is also an issue, however they did at least integrate this with the plot and humour for example one instance could be seen as a subtle middle finger to the Transformers franchise, so thankfully not a repeat of I, Robot.
With overall an admirable performance from a relatively unknown cast, a Stranger Things-esque score from Brian Tyler (Keep an eye out for Dacre Montgomery in season 2 coming this year) and a this still holds up as not only, a pretty entertaining film but also quite respectable, as unbelievable as that is, despite a couple of flaws. However as revealed by Variety magazine, the producers have a six-movie story arc lined up. With the first outing making a good way in finding the footing for the saga, good things should be following in the coming years.
And don’t worry, yes the original theme makes an appearance.
Rating: 5 Slices out of 8