An adaptation of the beloved children’s franchise, “Power Rangers” captures the heart of the series through its lovable characters and over-the-top nature.
The film follows five teenagers as they stumble upon a mysterious alien force and must work together with Zordon (Bryan Cranston) to stop the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) from destroying the world.
The first in a planned series, the film serves as an origin story for the titular characters. Because of this, not much happens in the long run, though there is lots of setup for future plot points. This leaves the film feeling average plot-wise, especially when the biggest issue comes from the disparity in it’s tone.
The first two acts of the film are a more serious, character-driven drama that focuses on who the Rangers are beneath the suits. This gives the film a nice flow as it follows the cast through their initial meeting, training and more. The last act, however, is an action-packed finale that perfectly captures the over-the-top tone of the series. While the two tones work individually, the film faces a slight identity crisis as it decides which it wants to lean towards.
Thankfully, everything else in the film is strong enough to make up for this, especially the cast. The film is cheesy in every way, but it works thanks to the lovable nature of the actors. RJ Cyler is the standout as Billy, giving a performance that’s believable and full of heart. Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Bryan Cranston and Bill Hader also give great performances that stay true to the source material while still feeling fresh.
The only one who doesn’t blend as well is Banks’ Rita. She seems to fully immerse herself in her role, which works at some points and compliments the Rangers well. Unfortunately, there are multiple moments when Banks goes a little too far, making her come across as silly rather than the scary villain the film intends.
The strong acting also compliments the incredible character development. Each of the Rangers has a unique personality that clicks with the others, making the group dynamic fun to watch and their friendship believable. Each of the characters also has a complete arc that emphasizes their growth. This makes the characters feel like real teenagers facing real problems, and works wonders in regards to the character connection it provides.
Visually, the film also does well. The CGI is good but sometimes stands out against the more natural look of the film. This is emphasized by the suits and zords, which have a plastic sheen that makes them come across as cartoony. The natural shots, however, are much stronger and lend themselves to some incredibly well-done camerawork. This, along with the use of color to help emphasize specific aspects of the film, add life to the visuals and make everything more realistic.
Overall, ”Power Rangers” feels like an adaptation done right. It captures the heart and feel of the series while providing enough new material to make it worth watching. Because of this, fans of the series should definitely check it out, especially for the characters and throwbacks. While the open embracing of cheesiness may be a put-off for non-fans, it gives the film charm that adaptations like “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” don’t have.
Strong characters, a lovable cast and a lot of heart combine to turn “Power Rangers” into an adaptation worth watching.