It was the moment we had all been waiting for, that 90’s-nostalgia reboot! I was a huge fan, like most 90’s kids, of the Power Rangers however it was with mixed emotions that I saw they were bringing out a film and rebooting the franchise. For me, the 90’s were perfect for the cheesy comedy parts, Power Ranger Outfits and high-school heroes, how would it all hold up now in the R-Rated era?!
I am going to start with what was without doubt the stand out moment of the movie. First I need to introduce you to RJ Cyler who gave a jaw dropping performance of Billy Cranston, the Blue Power Ranger billed as the only superhero with autism. Right from your first glimpse of him re-arranging pencils on his desk, through to him announcing to Jason that he is on the spectrum, you are enthralled by this young actors performance. This is also the one Power Ranger whose personality you instantly connect with and have a genuine will for him to succeed. If this film does nothing other than promote Autism and give children, who are also on the spectrum, the confidence to stand up and believe they can do great things, then forgot the financial performance, for me the film will have been a success!
Now to the big scene! The Power Rangers are struggling to morph and are captured by Rita and upon forcing Billy to reveal where the Zeo Crystal is, she kills him and releases the others. What ensues is a pivotal moment in the film as there was genuine shock that the character dies. The whole direction of the next 10 minutes or so is just brilliant, as the action stops, the remaining Power Rangers are distraught and in slow-mo carry his body off to Zordon to see if he can resurrect him. The first thing I did when I left the cinema was to search the song they had played during this moment as the lyrics were familiar, Stand By Me by Bootstraps is the answer. How that whole segment played out was just fantastic and then at first when Zordon admits there is nothing he can do, again you are left shocked at what just happened. This is then the first moment the rest of the team really come together and Morph, at which point Zordon sacrifices his own resurrection to bring back Billy and all is right in the world again!
If that dark, edgy & gripping action stayed throughout the rest of the film then I can honestly say it would have been an absolute smash hit in my eyes. However as much as it was fun and entertaining to watch, it just didn’t reach the heights of a classic Avengers or Deadpool movie. Aside from Billy, the rest of the cast is forgettable and there is no real personality driven through the movie. I was left frustrated at the reason that Kimberley, the pink Power Ranger, had been labelled an outcast was from sending one inappropriate picture of her friend to her boyfriend. They made such a big deal of this and cyber bullying is a huge issue amongst teens, however they really could have done more with this and as such, rose the awareness of this as they did with autism. The same can be said for Trini, the yellow Power Ranger, who was struggling with her sexual orientation. Again such a huge obstacle in teenagers growing up but she was the character that was really in the background and you didn’t get a sense of her personality at all. She also struggled to share her secret and again the movie had the perfect opportunity to show that actually if you are going through that, then it is okay to share, however she didn’t do that, even at the end.
I might be sounding harsh that a 90’s rebooted superhero film didn’t do a great job of driving awareness of these issues in this film. If that is the case, then just don’t put them in at all and just have them as teenage outcasts that have been misbehaving in class. I believe they really missed a trick in this aspect.
Another real let down of the film was the enemy, Rita Repulsa, who was an original character from Season 1. Her obsession with gold and the creation of the truly awful Goldar, was just abysmal. I didn’t buy into the character at all and the final battle was a very poor showing. I am not denying it was good to see the dinosaurs back and how they combined to form Megazord, however that was it, it was just good and not spectacular as that should have been. The ending where Rita leaps at them and she literally just gets back slapped into space was extraordinary and not in a WOW that was awesome moment.
The Power Rangers movie couldn’t make its mind up, was it a gripping, darker, edgier version that was going to deal with important real life everyday issues that teenagers face as they grow up, or was it the cheesy comedy superhero franchise that made Bulk & Skull famous?! With the after credit scene of a teacher shouting Tommy Oliver, the green Power Ranger, it shows that there will be another one. I am just hoping it is the alternative version that we got glimpses of during this re-introduction.
Power Rangers worked so well in the 90’s as we were not inundated with superhero after superhero film. However with the success of The Avengers franchise, Deadpool upping the game even more and then the much anticipated Justice League coming, there is no room for the safe slapstick franchise! Those 90’s kids have grown up……….