If you’ve seen the classic kid’s show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, you know there is nowhere to go but up for Lionsgate and Saban’s new big budget remake Power Rangers. The classic TV series was a Japanese import full of men in goofy suits, bad dubbing and giant mechanical Zords which created one big MegaZord to defeat large monsters daily that threatened the Powers Rangers community of Angel Grove. The show was total garbage much like Land of the Lost and Saved by the Bell before it, but just like those two shows mentioned the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had its charm and garnered a huge fan base that is still present today.
This new origin story takes itself a little more seriously in Power Rangers, yet still remembers the material is supposed to be fun. I mean come on it’s about a bunch of teen super ninja that drive vehicles that look like prehistoric beasts. With that being said though, certain expectations should be left at the door when entering the theater to see this new squad of Rangers. Don’t expect a violent gritty take like Logan or a film that rallies the nerd community like The Avengers. Power Rangers is not those films, but it does have an edge for a movie based on a cheesy kids show. This new quintet aren’t model students and have personal issues that have been dragging them down. Their not afraid to drop a couple of four letter words from time to time or show a side of themselves that’s not always pretty. Believe it or not these new Power Rangers have depth to their characters including teens living on the spectrum, questioning their sexuality and finding a purpose in life after you squandered your future. Every member of the team in Power Rangers gets fleshed out, unlike a film such as Suicide Squad where people get their heads blown up before we get to know them.
Making the teens not so vanilla is a major positive in rebooting this series, because Power Rangers leans heavy on the origin story angle this time around. It takes awhile and a few training montages before it’s “Morphin Time” in this new take with gang learning to become a team in order to save the world. The crew may take their time harnessing their powers, but that doesn’t mean there is not plenty of action to keep you busy in the meantime. The film opens with the conclusion of a major battle that reveals a few cool surprises and sets this new story in motion. This new group of actors who play the Rangers are entertaining, but it’s the supporting cast that shine in Power Rangers. The always superb Bryan Cranston bring life to the holographic Zordon who serves as the Rangers Alien sensei in their mission to protect earth. Bill Hader brings some comic relief voicing the gang’s robot assistant Alpha 5, but the real star of Power Rangers is Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa.
Elizabeth Banks chews up every scene she is in as the Power Rangers’ nemesis and you can tell she’s having a ball doing it. Banks keeps you smiling as the villainess with a history of her own while we’re waiting for the teens to get their act together. This version of Rita Repulsa is a vast improvement over the last incarnation of the goofy villain from the TV series. Besides the depiction of Rita Repulsa by the scene stealing Elizabeth Banks, most everything in this new version is a major improvement over the source material. The final showdown is great big popcorn action fun with a cool new take on the classic monster Goldar taking on the Power Rangers and their giant mechanical Zords. Saban’s Power Rangers is by no means a film masterpiece, but it’s a good time in the vein of an old school Sci-Fi matinée that has characters you care about and giant robots fighting monsters. What more could you ask for at the movies?
Overall, I give Saban’s Power Rangers 3 out of 4 fun stars.
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