Director: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G., Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston
Don’t go into this third outing on the big screen for the Power Rangers (following ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie’ and ‘Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie’) expecting it to be (you guessed it!) a Power Rangers movie. It may do the usual trick of serving as a reboot of any former timeline and characters, but it does it in a very boring, run-of-the-mill and annoying way.
I assume most people will come to this film as either adults who grew up with the 90s popular television show and hope for some sweet nostalgia, or they’ll bring their teenage children to introduce them to what they loved as a child. Sadly, both parties will be disappointed. There aren’t enough positives here to balance out the negatives to make this a satisfying experience.
The main issue comes from our leading stars. All relatively unknown actors who need to do two things; make you care about them and make you want them to succeed. I failed to do either. I tell a lie; for the first 15 minutes or so I understood each of them and their issues, but when the same issues were fronted for 90 minutes before any slap-dash resolution to them, I was increasingly bored hearing and seeing them go over the same subject with the same doubts, same bratty attitude and same forced humour to try and make it funny.
Director Dean Israelite did a goob job making audiences think these new Rangers were addressing diversity. They don’t. Trini is supposed to be the first ever gay superhero, but nothing is addressed about it; she spends her time sulking, being distant and not even hinting she is in a relationship. All she does after 90 minutes is say she doesn’t like her family giving her a label. That’s it. Why can’t she be in a happy relationship for people to see?
Same for Billy being autistic. He’s certainly not truly autistic – take it from a Daddy to a mild/severe Autistic 6 year old – and is most certainly high functioning. All we get to hint that is him saying “I’m on the spectrum” and his character being a typical Hollywood Autistic person; a quirky genius who talks fast and has to keep things in order or in neat piles. That’s it. Beside his “mental disability”, he can drive, create gadgets, fight and do everything the others do. There’s no challenge presented here, and certainly no resolution or awareness. It seems being gay or having autism is something Hollywood can inject into a film and hope it comes across as revolutionary. This isn’t. It’s just insulting.
And while Bryan Cranston spends most of his time as a CGI face (easy pay-check) and a forgetful Bill Hader brings an unnecessary CGI Alpha-5 to live, at least Elizabeth Banks as Rita seems to have some fun. A little, anyway, because all she does is walk around with a golden staff in front of explosions or CGI henchmen, scream orgasmically at her enemies and eat a donut. That’s it.
While Angel Grove is itself a nice enough place to be set in, the cinematography is standard and the editing is sloppy. The locations are basic, from high school to a rocky mine to a strangely nearly non-populated city, and the main focus is the set of Zordon’s spaceship which is decent in design but small in scale. The soundtrack by Brian Tyler is also standard and forgetful. That’s the issue here – everything is forgetful.
The angst of teenagers has been present in every film aimed at kids/teenagers for years and they all soon blend into one. It’s a checklist of what we expect from the jock, the geek, the rebel, the outsider and the sweetheart, except here they are all repeating the same thing for 90 minutes.
I keep saying 90 minutes because out of a 118 minute film, it takes that long before we actually see the Power Rangers on-screen in their iconic armour. It takes an hour and a half of constant moaning and arguing about their “issues” and being “outcasts” before they are allowed to become the Rangers we want to see. And even then we get an abysmal “Morphin’ Time” that is muttered by a characters, and with no calling upon their prehistoric dino-power, and we get 1 minute…ONE MINUTE…of Power Ranger action fighting bad-guys. After that, it’s straight to them sitting in the cockpit of their CGI Zords (their prehistoric transformers) for a loud, disorientating CGI showdown with a huge CGI villain made out of gold and….eh. You get the idea. It’s nothing new, and we are really cheated on the Power Rangers we were promised. Even their armour dissolves so you can see their faces for some reason.
Can you tell I was dissapointed? I wanted to see Power Rangers in action for a new era – a little darker but with the sense of fun the show had. Instead I had to sit through a teenage coming-of-age drama that did what it could to avoid having fun, and even when it started to have it, the sloppy narrative and action sucked it all away. Even the iconic theme tune when it blasted out for all of 8 seconds gave me more excitement than the action.
And yes, there is already a mid-credit sequence teasing an obvious sequel. Bring back Ivan Ooze, or don’t bother.