By Grant Dillard, Staff writer
For over 20 years, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” has been known as one of the cheesiest and iconic TV shows from the ‘90s. Resulting in multiple shows throughout the years, as well as two theatrically-released films, the franchise still continues even to this day. Hoping to appeal to those who may not have been fans of the series in its early days, Saban Brands and Lionsgate have teamed up to create a film reboot that has a more serious tone and cuts back on the goofiness of the source material.
The story focuses on five troubled teenagers, Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Trini (Becky G.), Billy (RJ Cyler), Zack (Ludi Lin), and Kimberly (Naomi Scott) who come across a mysterious alien spaceship, as well as five colored coins that give them superhuman abilities. Upon exploring the spaceship, they find a robot named Alpha 5 (Bill Hader) and an ancient being known as Zordon (Bryan Cranston) who explains they have been chosen to become the Power Rangers. But when an enemy from the past known as Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) returns to Earth, the five heroes must learn to work together and stop her from destroying the world.
The best thing the film has going for it is its five main leads. Rather than the main characters being a couple of goody two shoes kids like in the show, each of the main characters have their flaws and have made some bad decisions in their lives. But deep down, they’re still good people who just don’t know their purpose in life. The film also makes some of the characters relatable to more audiences with Trini identifying as a member of the LGBT community, and Billy being on the autism spectrum. Though the heroes don’t suit up and fight the bad guys until the climax, the film never comes across as boring or tedious. This shows how interesting and complex the main leads are. One of the film’s best moments has to be a campfire scene where they talk and learn more about each other. This is where the audience can fully identify with the leads and care more about them.
Other actors like Bill Hader and Bryan Cranston play their parts well, but the oddball of the cast has to be Elizabeth Banks as Rita. While the other actors look like they’re taking their roles seriously, Banks apparently thinks that she should be as over-the-top silly as possible, resulting in a villain that’s hard to be afraid of and take seriously. Her performance ranks up there with villains from Adam West’s Batman.
By far, one of the biggest problems with the film is an obnoxious product placement for Krispy Kreme. With other movies or shows, they’ve had product placement in the background, but “Power Rangers” takes it to a whole new level. A Krispy Kreme establishment in the Ranger’s hometown actually becomes a major plot point in the film’s climax. It’s ridiculous and unnecessary, but at least Krispy Kreme got its money’s worth.
Despite an over-the-top antagonist and unnecessary product placement, “Power Rangers” is worth seeing for its great main characters, good story and fun climax. Viewers who are looking for a lot of action in a movie may be disappointed that there isn’t much Power Ranger combat until the climax. Still, “Power Rangers” is a good first installment for what could be a fun film franchise that will hopefully lead to even better movies.