Review: Power Rangers
Directed by Dean Israelite
By Tristan Sherlock
Power Rangers is basically a two-hour long explanation of why Krispy Kreme is life, told by your friend over coffee. In comparison to other action films, such as The Last Airbender and Transformers, Power Rangers was decent. Not that that says much. Power Rangers was nothing too special but it wasn’t horrible (I could’ve been a lot worse). It was at a least a semi-enjoyable ride … I’m going to admit I’m being lenient.
The strength of Power Rangers comes from its diverse case, most of whom are exceptionally talented. Honesty, the acting held the film. Unfortunately, there is only so much the cast members can do when the script is a weak as it was.
With an overabundant use of clichés, outdated tropes, zero build-up and unrealistic dialogue, the script managed not only to sever any emotional bond the audience may have had with the characters but also take what could’ve been a decent film and, not kill entirely but comatose it.
Another issue with the script was how all over the place it was. It seemed like a bunch of ideas were spat out onto the script, most of which never got any resolution. The script attempted to tackle a lot more issues than the film could handle. The script’s lack of cohesion made the film far more confusing and un-engaging than it should’ve been.
Power Rangers seemed like every other Lionsgate action film I’ve ever seen. And now I do get that most films follow a formula but Power Rangers was next level. It added nothing to spice up the plot. Using one of Louise Belchers most iconic lines, “if [the Power Rangers storyline] was a spice it’d be flour.”
Not only was the script weak but the characters were ridiculously one dimensional (except Billy; Billy was great). Every time the film attempted to add any depth to the characters the poor script made it seem rather odd, or didn’t spend enough time working on the characters to begin with.
None of the characters get any real development (including Billy). Some of them get slightly more bearable (except for Billy; he was great to begin with) but there was no real change that made the characters seem worthwhile, or realistic.
I am going to praise the film for its cultural diversity, having a disabled character of colour and not relying on stereotypes. However, Power Rangers lacks in diversity when it comes to queer characters. Sure, we get a single queer character. We know because of the many articles that went viral on the internet. The problem is most people viewing only know there was a queer character in Power Rangers because of these articles. I’ll praise whoever had the idea, for trying and I love the idea of having a queer character who doesn’t blatantly state they’re queer. But, and this is unfortunate but, we don’t have enough queer diversity for this to work or be acceptable. Even if we did, society is far too heteronormative for this to impact any children, or people, who may be questioning who they are – which was the intent. It’s not all bad though, the forced heterosexual sub plot was cut!
While the main cast were relatively well suited (get it? Because the Rangers ‘suit up’) for their roles, Elizabeth Banks wasn’t. Elizabeth Banks basically just made Rita Repulsa a clone of Effie Trinket and it didn’t work well when portraying a villain.
In relation to the script, a lot of the content that was in the film was unnecessary. This content could’ve been easily cut out to make way for a couple more minutes of character development. There was an entire prologue that was later explained in two lines of dialogue. Why have a prologue if you’re going to tell the story of the prologue in two lines? It was so unnecessary. The film could’ve started with Jason arriving to his weekend detention (that would’ve really added to the Breakfast Club vibes). Scratch that the film could’ve started later considering the ‘my dad doesn’t get me story line’ was also a waste of time and should’ve been cut.
Speaking of Jason, he was the embodiment of straight white privilege. And I don’t think it was intentional. “My dad is upset because I threw my life away just to pull off a prank. He clearly doesn’t get me”. Jason’s character would’ve been 100 times better if he was actually an outcast. But he wasn’t. Like Kimberly, the film made everyone out to be bad for being against him despite it begin completely justified. A match made in Heaven (disguised as Hell).
The characters could’ve been great, every single one of them (again, except for Billy; he was already great). The potential for the characters to be complex was there, it just wasn’t explored. The exploration of the characters needed a simple ten to twenty more minutes and it would’ve helped a lot.
Now, if I’m being entirely honestly, I feel like the scriptwriters didn’t take this film seriously. Like, at all. There is no way you can begin a film with a joke about ‘milking’ a bull and expect the film to have any development.
The potential for the entire film to be great was there. The film had all the right elements it just didn’t use them well. If it wasn’t for the CGI, the lack of a romantic subplot, the soundtrack and the acting Power Rangers would be a definite one-out-of-five.