Power Rangers (2017)
The Power Rangers concept has gone a long way. They were originally simply a martial arts show from Japan. The American networks took the fight scenes and pieced them together with their own written narrative. There have been multiple incarnations over the years, but they seemingly died down in the early 2000s. Now, however the franchise has been rebooted as a film instead of the original TV series.
The new Power Rangers follow five outcast teenagers who stumble upon five magical gems in a mine. They are led to a spaceship where they find out they’ve been chosen to protect the world against the evil forces looking to destroy it; this film’s villain being Rita Repulsa (Elisabeth Banks).
I have to say that I was surprised with this film. Director Dean Israelite was able to hold back and let his exposition reveal itself to his audience slowly and naturally. This structure makes the final reveals and fight scenes all the more exhilarating. The tone during most of the film was less like a blockbuster and more like a high-school movie, and this pays off for this super-hero saturated audience.
As for the talent, Israelite went with relative unknowns for the protagonists, something I highly admire as studios have become more conservative with their casting choices, choosing star-power over talent. The young cast more than pull their own and break into the Hollywood spotlight, with notable performances from RJ Cyler and Ludi Lin specifically. As for the veteran cast we have the likes of Bryan Cranston and Bill Hader in small supporting roles, but it is mostly Elisabeth Banks who commands the screen from amongst the three. Rita was a well-written villain and her character was even filmed with a true horror appeal; the problem with her was Banks’ performance. Banks is a talented actress, but I feel like she just didn’t “get” her character here, she frequently over-performed her scens and ended up satirizing her role. It makes for an uncomfortable clash of tones.
In the end however, I have to say that I was very pleased with Power Rangers, I was never a fan of the original series, but perhaps my low expectations for this film or simply a well-crafted origin story make this an entertaining and recommendable film.