Justin’s Movie Reviews Episode III: Power Rangers

I’m sure there’s going to be lots of words written in the next little while about what a terrible movie the new iteration of Power Rangers truly was, but it really wasn’t that terrible of a movie to me. It was, quite literally, everything I expected to see out of that type of movie, and it really took me back to my childhood when I would rush home after school to watch the show. It gave me that same type of cheesy, fun feeling. It made me believe I could still be an actual Power Ranger.

One of things to remember with these types of films is that there’s going to be plenty of cheesy moments, and this movie certainly delivered on a few of them. It still had the bad quotes during a fight scene, the way too random emotional flare-ups between the characters, and the inner struggle about just whose team it really happened to be. Like, we all know Jason is the leader since he’s the Red Ranger, but Jason also sucks and no one likes him so we kinda always hope someone else takes over.

As I sat through the two hour movie, I was reminded of just how much of the actual show I loved. I was also reminded quite a bit of just how much this movie made me think of the latest installment of Fantastic Four. It had the same general principle. The first hour was a buildup to see the characters develop on their own, and then the next thirty minutes was spent building the plot line of the villain before the last thirty minutes finished with an all-too-rushed fight scene.

To be fair, though, I did like the latest Fantastic Four from a dark standpoint. It made sense as a movie, even with the rushed ending. And I generally felt that very same way with Power Rangers. To me, one of the coolest aspects of the entire film was that — !!!!!!!SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!! — we were introduced to the idea that Rita Repulsa, the main villain in the film, was the original Green Ranger. It was a rather cool quirk to the film, and one I didn’t personally see coming.


LET’S TALK CHARACTERS

As far as the characters go, Elizabeth Banks did a marvelous job as the evil being. Her ability to showcase a little bit of a nasty side, mixed in with the almost horror-like vibe she gave off, was quite compelling. There’s a scene where she’s in a jewelry store just chomping down on gold because she has to build Goldar – a gigantic golden monster in the movie – so that he can extract the Zeo Crystal from the earth. That crystal, in the movie, was hidden beneath a Krispy Kreme. I kid you not.

But that little cheesiness added some dimension to the movie, especially when Repulsa goes to the Krispy Kreme and starts to chomp down on a doughnut. The characters were fun, to some degree, but one of the most annoying things in the entire film was that, for some reason, no one could remember Trini’s name. She’s the god damn Yellow Ranger, was arguably the most important of all the characters from a social point of view, and they just kept an inside joke going about how everyone kept screwing up her name in some capacity. Twas frustrating.

Trini, as you find out in a bonfire scene that the five rangers have, is basically forced to move year-by-year by her parents. She doesn’t really have any friends, she’s an outsider, and her parents have been urging her to dress in more traditional ways. At the end of the vent session by her, Trini reveals she’s a lesbian. It basically has no bearing on the movie, but her ability to finally come out to people she now deems as friends is one of the cooler moments in the entire film. She finally found herself being accepted for who she truly was, and the inside joke about not remembering her name bothered me because it became more memorable than her actual journey. It ruined the story of her.

Then there was Kimberly, the Pink Ranger, who you quickly realize was kind of a major douche for doing something uncalled for. She ended up sending a nude photo – or at least it is implied that it’s a nude photo – of someone she once considered a friend to a guy she was interested in but had found out he was seeing this other girl, as well. Long story short, she did something vile. Like, extremely vile. And she ends up becoming a hero in the movie despite doing this. Oh, and when she sent the guy the photo, she sent something along with it that said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “is this someone you’d want to take home to your mother?” It was all strange.

Jason was kind of boring. He was the star high school quarterback who ended up doing dumb stuff like steal a cow and putting it in a locker room only to get chased by the cops before wrecking his truck and destroying his leg. In essence, a moron. But we’re supposed to feel sorry for him. He ends up becoming the Red Ranger, aka the leader of the Power Rangers because that’s how it works, and along the way he goes on a journey of self-discovery that leads him to realize he really isn’t a screwup. Because of course.

Zack, the Black Ranger, actually is quite interesting. He takes care of his ailing mother, and his greatest fear is losing his mom because then he’ll have no one left. He, like Trini, is basically a loner and an outsider. That is until this group gets together and starts to become pretty good friends with one another. You might say that this little friendship between these five ended up saving a few of them. It was purely harmonious. He’s also the one with the least amount of fear, which kind of made sense.

But the best character out of the five was definitely Billy, the Blue Ranger. He’s on the autism spectrum, and he has trouble understanding sarcasm and jokes. In a way, he reminded me of Drax the Destroyer from Guardians of the Galaxy. Billy, despite his limitations in social settings, is wildly intelligent and has a quick-trigger memory. He’s the one who ends up finding the five power coins, and the rest is history. Not to mention that he also finds out the location of the Zeo Crystal. Basically, the Power Rangers were fucked without Billy. Simple as that. His character was the best, the guy who played him was the best, and the movie just doesn’t work without him. He was superb.

Bryan Cranston plays Zordon, who was also the original Red Ranger and, as we find out, practically best friends with Rita Repulsa before Repulsa betrayed him to take over the universe. There’s a pivotal point in the movie where Billy dies and Zordon, who has been trying to bring himself back to life in a form other than a talking wall, must make a decision between himself or Billy as the one to get a second chance. He ultimately decides that Billy deserves it because of how much the team has come to realize they need each other. It was kind of a predictable moment since it’s not like they could kill Billy off, but it was also a cool moment to watch unfold.


After the battle to save Angel Grove takes place, which is a battle that happens way too late in the movie and takes way too little time to unfold, we’re given cameos from the original Green Ranger and Pink Ranger from the television show. That’s right, fans, Jason David Frank and Amy Jo Johnson make appearances at the end. And they do what any millennial these days would do – they record stuff on their phones and take pictures.

If you asked me to rate the movie, I’d probably give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating. It wasn’t terrible, it was quite fun at times, and it did remind me of my childhood. Sure, it really went along the same plot line as Fantastic Four did, but it still held up its end of the bargain by being a deep dive into how the five teenagers came to be close and ultimately end up as the Power Rangers. There were certainly some random happenstance things that occurred that never would occur in real life – for instance, all five ending up at that one specific area of the mine at the same time to find the five coins – but you have to suspend reality in movies like this.

Oh, by the way, be sure to stick around a little bit into the credits getting underway because there’s a slight little hint at what the next movie will be about. Here’s a hint: it’s about the Green Ranger and Tommy Oliver, who we don’t actually see in the scene but rather we catch a glimpse of a green jacket on a chair. There’s no telling whether the Green Ranger will be a male or female role, but it really doesn’t matter at this point. The fact we’re even going to get a Green Ranger again is dope in the first place.


MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT OF THE MOVIE

There were two, actually, but they involved the same thing. Twice, Jason, the Red Ranger, bitch slaps someone in the movie. The first time comes in the detention setting where Billy is getting picked on by a bully, so Jason stands up for Billy and flat out slaps the living shit out of the bully to the point where the bully is so bewildered and could only a muster a “di-did you slap me?” response. It was hilarious. Every bully should get slapped. It’d make for great theater.

The second time, however, happened while they’re in the Megazord. Rita is talking to the rangers after Goldar and her have been defeated. Jason is getting bored of her talking, so he flat out slaps the shit out of her and sends her into space. He literally hit her so hard she was sent hurtling towards the moon. But, not to be outdone, Rita gives a half-smirk as she’s floating in space. Does this mean she’s going to be coming back? One can only hope.


FINAL THOUGHTS

To me, it was an exciting film. Sure, there were some lulls and cheesy moments, but that’s what I expected going into the movie. It did remind me of my younger days, though, and that’s all I really wanted out of this. If we end up getting a sequel – and I don’t see why we wouldn’t since, at the time of this writing, the film has already made $65 million in five days – then I’m eager to see where they take the franchise. They could do pretty cool things with it, even if it turns out to be nothing more than something similar to the Transformers franchise.

If you want to have a fun little two hours of interesting theater, go see this movie. You won’t really regret it. I know I didn’t. Give us the Green Ranger, give us Rita’s return, and give us some form of Lord Zedd that we can latch onto. They could probably squeeze at least another two or three films out of this entire run, and that’d be perfectly fine by me. I never knew how much I missed the Power Rangers until they came back into my life. Bless them.