Brandon Richardson | 27/03/2017
In a market that is saturated with superhero films, it would seem almost suicidal to try and boot up a completely new franchise. Yet, here we are with yet another stock-standard blockbuster.
Power Rangers follows five stereotypical troubled teens that happen to stumble on five mysterious stones at the same time. After discovering the stones have given them superhuman abilities, the group becomes unlikely friends. As Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cyler), Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G.) begin to explore their new powers, they stumble across an old alien spaceship housing quirky robot Alpha 5 (voiced by Bill Hader) and the spirit of fallen ranger Zordon (Bryan Cranston). Although their new powers seem fun, they soon find out that extreme danger is lurking around the corner, and their only chance to save the world is to fully realise their power and friendship.
There is enough to like about this film to keep the viewer amused, if not entertained, for much of the 124-minute runtime. The entire script has been designed to capture the new adolescent audience that might not be familiar with the series, and is filled with plenty of tongue-in-cheek adolescent humour. The action is on par with other big budget films of its type, and the story has all the standard elements. The cast has some enjoyable chemistry and the whole film manages to capture that trashy entertainment feel the TV show is remembered fondly for. Despite all this, Power Rangers doesn’t give us anything that other films of the genre have done better.
This film probably ticks off every action and teen drama cliché possible, from a training montage to the unreasonably moody teenager. The dialogue is incredibly corny, but only rarely do the one liners pay off. The plot is so vanilla that any person who has seen films over the last decade could probably explain it to you in exquisite detail without even seeing the film. But perhaps the strangest aspect of Israelite’s direction is the injection of social issues merely for the sake of it. His choice to make Blue-Ranger Billy autistic is understandable, and even admirable, but he proceeds to use the character for the brunt of the comic relief, potentially undermining his intention. Similarly, a fleeting allusion to one of the other ranger’s sexuality in one scene is not touched on or developed again. Perhaps these themes would be further developed in the sequel that is bound to come, but here they add nothing tangible.
Dan Israelite’s attempt to bring the 90s classic TV show to the big screen will not revolutionise the genre, but will probably hold the interest of teens for the time being.