The superhero movie no one wanted, needed or expected, Power Rangers isn’t half as bad as we might think, but it falls short of rivalling Marvel.
A playfully romping tale set in the sleepy town of Angel Grove, we’re presented with a group of plucky mature-looking teens who come together through the might of alien technology and platonic love. Their goal is to become the Rangers and protect the giant life-giving crystal from Rita Repulsa, conveniently located beneath a store that’s also great for product placement.
Director Dean Israelite has obviously invested a lot in his team of heroes; bolstered by a muted colour palette and rawer action scenes, the payoff is a believable gang of misfit friends. Notable for it’s diversity in casting, Power Rangers is a surprising addition to the ranks of the Bechdel test, and briefly manages to mumble something about LGBT issues, much to the outrage of Russia and Malaysia, where this film is banned.
In this sense, the 20-somethings cast of a tween flick has never been more relatable, or feminist, and this adds an unexpected depth and relevance to the characters, which is so often lacking. Audiences get a real feel of the team behind Power Rangers trying to break away from the standardised hero adventure and ground it in reality.
The resulting cinematic style is a bildungsroman reminiscent of a Stand by Me crossover with DC. And despite some eye-rollingly “selfless moments” and dated quips. there are moments of freshness that feel genuine.
What holds this film back, though, is it’s inability to come to terms with its heritage. The struggle to merge both old and new is most apparent in the vibrant armoured costuming, which jars with the earthier tones and feels clunky and disparately camp in comparison to the sleek, mostly realistic vibes we were introduced to.
In spite of its silliness, Power Rangers is good-natured and enjoyably fun, with a likeable cast all shot in a nostalgically wholesome way. But like it’s allegedly adolescent main characters, there are plenty of growing pains for this movie. An inability to settle on a gritty origins story or wryly self-aware reboot results in some serious mood swings; but the sheer energy will make this a fun watch for younger audiences in particular.
Power Rangers is released nationwide on 24th March 2017.
Watch the trailer for Power Rangers here: