Power Rangers (2017) – Review

Director: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G., Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston

The Good
When a film near enough instructs you to “leave your brain at the door” in order to enjoy it, then you kind of know what you are letting yourself in for, and Power Rangers is absolutely that sort of film. If you are somehow able to firmly switch your brain off, then there is some good to be found in watching it. Granted this might only be if you consider Michael Bay to be somewhat of an auteur and think that the Fast & Furious films are amongst some of the finest of the last decade, but that is not to say there is nothing to enjoy here.

For 90s kids and those who grew up with the TV show and action figures, there are a couple of neat moments of nostalgia, and it is impossible to feel nothing when you hear “it’s morphin’ time” and even a snippet of that oh-so-90s original theme song. However, it takes so long for the aforementioned catchphrase to be uttered that you might be forgiven for temporarily breaking the cinema code in order to let out a rather exasperated “well FINALLY”!

The Bad
So yes, Power Rangers is bad. Woefully bad in fact, and no amount of nostalgia is enough to pull this one back from the depths. It is hard to decide who exactly this film is for, and therein lies one of its biggest problems. It is a 12a certificate but a little scary in places for a young audience, yet the dialogue and attempts at humour are so infantile that they’ll do nothing but get the adult audience eye-rolling. If it had been nothing but nostalgia it would’ve been annoying, but it throws nods in seemingly as just a means of ticking a box, when everything else leading up to it feels underdeveloped and lazy. In its attempts to please every body all at once, it actually ends up pleasing nobody. 

It exhibits the same shameless product placement that made the Transformers franchise so abominable, and there’s even a horribly on-the-nose reference to the aforementioned autobots which only adds further insult to injury. It is great news if you’re a really big fan of a brand being unashamedly waved in your face, but not such great news if you find this sort of thing incredibly annoying. 

The characters are bland, uninteresting and generic, and the acting across the board is pretty amateurish. Elizabeth Banks has a lot of fun as Rita Repulsa and is at least watchable, but compared to the teen heroes, she has very little screen-time. There are some interesting elements to the characters, but sadly it glosses over the two which do have a different arc – namely the one with a mental illness, and the one who has questions about her sexual orientation – in favour of wasting too much time with the “jock” and the “pretty, yet rebellious girl”. YAWN. We’ve seen this all before! For a film which so relentlessly rams the notions of friendship and teamwork down our throats, it actually gives us a cast of characters that are very difficult to like and a unit which isn’t believable or easy to side with. 

The Verdict
I saw this movie so you don’t have to. Power Rangers is quite frankly awful, failing to fully satisfy everyone who needed the nostalgia kick and ultimately failing to reignite the franchise for a new audience. Its problems boil down to too much teen angst, and not enough morphin’, suffering from “Fantastic Four syndrome” with a build-up which moves at a positively glacial pace, leaving what feels like seconds of actual ass-kicking in a finale so generic it’ll make you wince. I’ve no idea who this film is for, or who would want to see anymore of these films, but lets hope this is a franchise which doesn’t outstay its welcome. Avoid! 

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