It’s been years since I’ve seen a proper Power Rangers movie, and if you’re wondering why I’ve taken so long since the release of the current movie, it’s because I’m sporadic about when I go to the movie theater (Living in the country has its drawbacks). I’m going to correct that now, and see if the new movie stacks up with the greats that we grew up with.
This post will have spoilers for the movie. Proceed with caution.
Bryan Cranston, the voice for many of the monsters in MMPR’s first season, returns as Zordon for the movie. Zordon is more involved in the plot in this iteration, having been a Red Ranger himself in the distant past. Him, Rita and Alpha are given a quick origin story at the beginning before introducing the future Rangers. For a moment, I didn’t know how to take Zordon’s early treatment of the Rangers, but I remembered that the original character was essential their mentor, with a few bits of plot here and there. The 2017 character is given his back story and character flaws in order to make him more interesting while retaining his purpose in the series.
Bill Hader’s Alpha 5 is entertaining and he does an excellent job of giving Alpha a quirky personality, but it’s never made clear how the alien from the introduction became the robot that the new Rangers meet. (Though this is likely material for a later movie)
The movie wastes no time in making the first two rangers likable, as they’ve stolen a bull which they think is a cow (and they successfully milked… I’ll let your imagination guess how). The entire crew is given time for character exposition and development as a team, and they stand apart from each other.
The story is great, considering that the whole point of the movie is to set the stage for the sequels. In that case, it makes sense that we don’t see much in the way of the Ranger suits.
This version of Power Rangers is more serious than the original MMPR it’s based off of, but there’s one particular plot point where the campiness shows no mercy.. anything involving Krispy Kreme. I’m a little bit conflicted when we go from a dramatic Power Ranger Transformation to “All right, team, we have to stop Rita from getting to the Krispy Kreme!” Most of the fan base for the movie are adults from the MMPR era, and I’d imagine that many of them welcomed the campiness of the ordeal, but the blatant advertising makes it feel a bit off as well.
The series has always been about imperfect teenagers who make the most of their circumstances to make a change in the world, and the current movie continues that tradition. The story leaves plenty of unanswered questions which the sequels will hopefully answer. For example, why did the Morphing Grid specifically target the group? Was it because they had their particular flaws? Hopefully Lionsgate will continue the arc they claim to have.