There’s no denying the incredible hold superhero movies seem to have over cinema nowadays. Between Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, the X-Men Universe and the DC Extended Universe, there’s not much room for anything else to be a major success. If anything outside of these realms does extremely well in the box office, it makes headlines across the globe. And if a film doesn’t do as well as expected, especially when coming off the back of a huge franchise, it’s torn to shreds by much of the mainstream media. One such example is this year’s Power Rangers release.
Only making $141 million in the US box office, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a flop; something you shouldn’t bother to try and see even if you get the opportunity. Having picked up a copy of the Blu-ray, we have to disagree. The film is one of the best superhero movies of the past few years, despite only just about breaking even in the box office. The fact it did so poorly with those numbers is a travesty and we hope that if a sequel does happen in the future, it’ll be given more of a chance to succeed when it hits movie theatres. With all that being said, let’s delve into the film…
Power Rangers kicks off with an action sequence that takes place many millions of years in the past, when a different species ruled over planet Earth. As the fate of the planet looked to be in question, a team of Rangers did their best to protect the world, but all looked lost. Fortunately, team leader Zordon, aka the Red Ranger buried the Power Coins on the planet before ordering a meteor strike that would not only wipe him out following the deaths of his team members, but wipe out the rebelling, power-hungry Rita Repulsa, who had once been the Green Ranger.
Zooming forward to the modern day, viewers then catch up with a series of rebellious, relatable teenagers; Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cyler), Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G.). You watch the beginning of the film and with most of them, you find it hard to empathise with their struggle. They can be brats. They break the law. They don’t know how to fit into society and become a positive aspect of their community. But, as the film progresses and we find out a little bit about how each of these teens struggle and have reasons for much of what they do, we relate to them more than we have done any other big screen hero before.
The one constant amongst the team is the loyal and ambitious Billy. Though he’s on the spectrum for autism, it’s not an aspect of his life he allows to rule over him. He has his quirks and his differences to other people his age, but instead of letting that get him down, he aspires to be something special. He’s allowed that very chance when he and his fellow detention-doomed future friends find the Power Coins that Zordon dug all of those millions of years before. From that moment, the five begin a journey they never even knew existed, becoming a brand new team of Power Rangers that would go on to battle against Rita, following her dramatic and villainous comeback.
Elizabeth Banks is fantastic in the role of Rita. She brings a brilliance to a villain that could very easily become one-dimensional. It’s hard to imagine another actress in her position now that she’s taken on the mantle, and if Rita’s to return at some point in the future, we’d hope she’d be on board to bring her to life once more.
Bill Hader also shines throughout the flick, lending his vocal abilities to Alpha 5; the robot that shows the new Rangers the ropes of fighting, alongside the help of Bryan Cranston’s Zordon.
What Power Rangers manages to do perhaps better than any other superhero movie out there is balance both action and humour, bringing just the right amount to the screen to ensure that one or the other doesn’t bog down proceedings. When the action comes, it’s thick and fast, beautifully choreographed and showcasing each and every punch thrown. With the comic relief, the timing is perfect and characters are able to charm through their witty one-liners.
Though the ending is something that has raised many an eyebrow, director Dean Israelite ensures everything is tied up nicely but leaves a couple of teases for the super fans. If this is the end for the new franchise, before it’s even given a proper chance, it would be a real shame, but the story told in this movie would still make sense. If it does indeed make its expected comeback, it wouldn’t be surprising.
Tommy Oliver, anybody?
Power Rangers is available on digital download, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD now.