Friday, March 24, 2017

Power Rangers Review: Morphing Into An Electric Superhero Blockbuster!

Superheroes are no longer strangers to the world of film. What was once a rare occurrence has become a major part of the movie season as the likes of Marvel and DC have a multitude of releases in a year's time. Yet even with series such as Batman, Superman, X-Men, Spider-Man and the Avengers playing pivotal roles in the movie world, they are not the only superheroes around. For those who grew up in the 90's the name Power Rangers should sound quite familiar. Based on the Japanese Tokusatsu franchise ,Super Sentai, Power Rangers was the American adaptation of the series, and it did not take long to become a hit in pop culture. Since its inception Power Rangers has had several series to its name as well as expanded to mediums like comics; and the franchise even has two movies to its name. So it comes to no shock that Power Rangers has a received a new adventure on the silver screen. Directed by Dean Israelite Power Rangers is reboot for the film series as it retells the story of the original series. With interesting direction and entertaining aspects, this new film looked to be (at the very least) an enjoyable blockbuster. However can this reboot bring the power to this franchise, or is this just not Morphin Time for the Power Rangers?

Power Rangers centers on five teenagers: Jason(Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Tyler), Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G). One night these strangers stumble across five mysterious coins within the rocks of a quarry; and after touching the coins, each of the teenagers gains superhuman abilities . The five return to quarry to find an ancient alien ship within the caves. There the group meets Alpha 5 (Bill Hader) and Zordon (Bryan Cranston) who tell them that they are the new Power Rangers. Coming to terms to this realization the five decide to stay  to become the Power Rangers so they can stop the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) from taking the Zeo Crystal and destroying Earth.


When it came to the story to this blockbuster I must admit that I was not expecting much. Not only did the plot seem like a typical one but the source behind this movie was not known for its complex storytelling (although it could be surprising from time to time). Yet I never imagined that Power Rangers' plot would not only meet my expectations but exceed them. The story uses similar elements from movies such as Spider-Man and Iron Man, but this was not a bad thing as it used these traits to the best of their abilities. However it is in the movie's character driven narrative where the story truly shines. The tale of these five teenagers brought a sense of complexity to the overall plot which made the movie all the more captivating. The pacing was handled quite well as it gave the story the time that it needed to tell the Power Rangers' origins and establish the lore behind this movie. The film's precision at storytelling had me ecstatic to see its payoff which, although a bit underwhelming, was still worthy for a blockbuster such as this one.

When it came to the cast the five leads were a decisive factor for the movie, and it payed off as this group were more than just teenagers with attitude. This cinematic interpretation of the Rangers brought new elements to the characters such as Billy being autistic or Trini being gay, and these changes only added to each characters' development. Yet despite the differences each of the characters found away to be  respectful to their televised predecessors. Together the five leads made a formidable group that featured the right chemistry for any superhero team. The supporting cast, although not as complex as the leads, remained to be a decent group of characters. Bryan Cranston's performance as Zordon brought a new dynamic to the Rangers' mentor; while Elizabeth Banks was just delightfully evil as Rita. I wish the movie went more into the story of Zordon and Rita, but the performances from both actors more than made up for their characters' shortcomings. Bill Hader was surprisingly delightful as Alpha as he brought the right sense of humor and drama to the side character. The movie also featured several minor characters that could be inconsistent. Some of the characters seemed a little far fetched while others were rather intriguing-such as Jason's father Sam (David Denman) .

The technical aspects to Power Rangers went as expected. The movie's effects used many directions seen in both superhero movies and blockbusters; and while they may not have been awe inspiring it did manged to work for the movie's concept. I particularly liked the movie's sense of design, such as the Rangers' armor, as it blended the look of television series with the ideas seen in both the superhero and sci-fi genre. When it came to the movie's action it was effective-though I thought it could have had a stronger execution. The movie's comedy, while spotty, proved to work for the both movie's direction and tone. The score by Brian Tyler was a highlight for the film as (much like the film's design) it blended the sounds of many genre to fit the Power Rangers perfectly. Although I felt that the movie had a few too many pop songs, but  that was to be expected; plus the movie did play the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme song and that certainly did not hurt the movie's presentation.

Power Rangers was certainly a surprise. Although it uses elements and concepts seen in previous superhero movies, the movie was able to use these aspects like story and characters in a way that was both different-not to mention effective. Along with its stellar direction was a tone that made this film just an enjoyable blockbuster to watch in theaters. It is because of these reasons that Power Rangers is not just worthy to be part of the superhero genre, but it also lives up to the name Power Rangers.