Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks
Runtime: 124 min
Five high-school teenagers, who all have personal troubles of their own, discover these five "coins" in a mine construction site.
They get superpowers from them and soon they need to save the world from a destructive villain that is brought back to Earth's surface.
I used to watch Power Rangers, the TV series, when I was a kid, but honestly, I was never a big fan of that show. So, forgive me if I don't give as much credit as hardcore fans do, to all of the obvious Easter Eggs that I most certainly missed. Either way, the fanservice scenes are never the main source of entertaining or overall quality of a movie, even though they are pretty cool. So ...
Despite Dean Israelite's Power Rangers not being a disaster, it isn't that good of a movie as well. There are some good achievements that I have to praise, starting with the costumes. The suits or armor, whatever you wanna call it, are visually stunning! They look awesome when fighting the bad guys and the first time they morph, it's definitely a standout scene for every fan (hardcore or not).
The five Rangers are the best of what the film has to offer. All of them have compelling and emotional (back)stories that ground them and makes me care for them. Their motivations are clear and the cast delivers a surprisingly great job portraying each character. Their chemistry is palpable and very cool to watch. A special shout-out to Dacre Montgomery (Jason Lee Scott / The Red Ranger), who leads not only the team but the entire movie brilliantly. As for the rest of the cast, congratulations! You all deserve a place in Hollywood and I hope I can see each and every one of you on some future big-budget films.
The action scenes are pretty nice, but here's where the movie starts to crumble. A lot of the action is pushed too far and it just looks dumb. It truly does. Not only there's very few action until the third act, but when it's actually going down it doesn't elevate the film to a new high level of entertainment. Also, the visuals effects ... Well, some are pretty good, but there are a few scenes where it really, really sucks and every single person can tell it's a freaking green screen. It's just bad CGI.
The villain, both the character (Rita Repulsa) and the actress (Elizabeth Banks), is the weakest part of the movie. The character is just another cliche "bad guy", she wants to destroy everything and rule the universe because ... Power, I guess. Oh, she loves gold ... That's a thing. As for Elizabeth Banks, I love her, but in this film, she's way too over-the-top than what she was going for. It just looks like she's in a totally different movie since the tone between seriousness and comedy is terribly balanced.
Bryan Cranston (Zordon) is in this film as well ... Or his face, at least. Computerized. It's just weird, ok? It doesn't work for me having him there just for exposition-type dialogue or for a motivational team speech. His character is necessary for the premise of the movie, but he just gets in the story too much for me.
One of my main issues with the film is definitely its pacing. The second act is a dragging, incredibly boring slow-burn, where there's nothing happening besides some combat-training scenes that just become repetitive and silly. The action-heavy third act doesn't compensate the "sleepy time" that I had to go through and it starts to really disappoint when it reaches levels of pure nonsense.
The coordinated strategy, the handling of their armor and their Zords (FYI, this isn't a spoiler ... Come on, if you're going to see a Power Rangers film, you know that there are going to be Zords to fight with ... They're in the freaking poster and on all of the trailers!), all of that makes no sense whatsoever having in mind what the movie showed me during the runtime.
Finally, the plot point that left me so frustrated that I just started laughing for the sake of my sanity. Without spoiling anything, of course, I need to say that there's a VERY important plot point that is one of the laziest, crappiest product placements I have EVER seen in cinema's history. It's like the writers just gave up and said "f*ck it, just put it in there ... I can't imagine a single moment where this makes any sense ... They paid a lot, so just do it."
All in all, Power Rangers is able to bring some nostalgia back for the hardcore fans, but I'm not sure they will enjoy it as much as they expect. The cast's chemistry is the film's engine and what keeps it going without fully falling apart, as well as their characters, who are compelling and interesting, with some visually great armors. However, the movie's pacing heavily brings itself down to a slow-burn. The action scenes lack in amount and quality, either by bad visuals effects or by the story that doesn't justify the unbelievably coordinated way that they are able to fight with. The villain is disappointingly cliche and Elizabeth Banks unbalances the whole film's tone with her over-the-top performance. To top everything off, that product placement as a major plot point ... Yap.