(Editor’s Note: TLDR: While not a perfect movie, or even a perfect representation of the franchise, this is a good movie and you should go support it so that they make more! I gotta have more Rangers!)
As I’m sure it is in many houses with boys, ours is a Power Rangers house. I don’t remember–and I don’t think–that Liam was a super fan. Aiden, on the other hand, loved the show from the first episode he watched. And Quinn is a super fan. He has watched parts of every season and will periodically rewatch parts of his favorite. He wore a Red Ranger costume around for the better part of a month a couple of years ago. He even wanted to wear the thing to go see the movie a few weeks ago.
That, of course, is why I’m writing the article. Christine mentioned that she wanted to take her dad to see the new Beauty and the Beast. As if by chance (and I”m realizing that there may not be any such thing as chance), I saw a trailer for the Power Rangers movie. It just made sense. She and her father can go to Beauty and the Beast and we go to see Power Rangers. With the plan hatched, all we had to do was bide our time.
The boys spent their time watching and rewatching old episodes on Netflix. I got into the fun because Twitch did a marathon leading up to the release of the movie. I also essentially put the trailer on a loop to hype myself even more. Hey, I’ll be the first to admit. I was excited to take the boys to see the movie, but I even said to Christine, “I think that this movie is just as much for me as it is for them. Maybe more.” I may be many things, but I’m not afraid to admit that I have never grown up. Have never and most likely will never.
The funny part about it is that I did not grow up watching Power Rangers like I did with some of my other childhood obsessions that have come back. I was a teenager when the first season released here in the states. I think that one of my brothers really liked the show and that might be how I got into it even though I wasn’t the primary demographic. Well, that and I had a crush on the pink ranger.
So, that’s how we ended up at the movie. The question begs, “Is it any good?” Well, that’s complicated. I know what you’re thinking. This is the guy who says he loves everything If he isn’t saying that it is unequivocally good, that’s a bad sign. Plus, it hasn’t exactly gotten the best reviews. Why should I see this movie?
Woah, woah, woah. Slow down there. First, yes i do like and can find the positive in almost anything. Also, I did not breathlessly state how great the movie is and that you should rush out and see it immediately. It is great and you should see it. Maybe not immediately, but soon and definitely in the theater. However, in an attempt to be taken more seriously as a critic and be more well balanced, I present a new format for reviews. While I will look and sound like a hypocrite and fraud after blasting Blizzard for doing this in many of my articles, I’m still going to call it “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. It’s a format I used when I was writing for my Steelers web page many years ago. In spite of the possible repercussions, it was a good gag then and I think it will translate now.
The Good (Always start with the good to soften the bad)
The highest praise that I can give this movie is that it’s Power Rangers. I mean, it’s not classic Power Rangers, but I understand that they couldn’t take the cheesy effects and bad acting, slap some shiny power armor on it, and charge upwards of 15-20 bucks per ticket. So, if you’re expecting the putty noise or Bulk and Skull shenanigans, you’re going to be disappointed. On a quick side not, I was disappointed that Bulk and Skull didn’t at least get a small part in the movie.
Other than that, though, this is Power Rangers. There is comedy that made both me and the boys laugh out loud more than once. There is legitimate drama. Of course, there’s action an dfight scenes. I’ve seen one or two complaints of not enough Power Rangers in this Power Rangers movie. That’s always the potential risk in origin stories like this. And, make no mistake, this movie introduces the characters. They are based on the originals, but they mostly have new stories to be told. Heck, there’s even Rita, Goldar, Zordon, and Alpha 5. It’s Power Rangers.
The criticism that I’ve heard most often and the one that I agree with the most is that the movie struggles to find its audience. It is only natural that a franchise that has been around for so long and has fans from 5 to at least 41 ifi you consider only our family demographics), you need to thread the needle a bit to try to give everyone what they want. In that regard, the movie suffers a bit from trying to do it all and almost doing nothing instead. Almost. There are a few sour notes, but overall, Power Rangers walks the tight rope successfully. Yay, mixed metaphor!
In addition, these comic book movies have a certain feel to them. Ever since Sam Raimi helped to revive the genre with Spider-Man all those years ago and Christopher Nolan Batman movies added their momentum, comic book movie have been HUGE! Some live up and add to the hype (re: Avengers/Infinity story). Others stall a bit and don’t quite reach their potential (re: Batman vs. Superman). More still have been determined not to be able to sustain a movie franchise and instead are TV shows (Flash, Luke Cage, etc.) and a few have fizzled completely. It is my hope that the fans of Power Rangers will be able to buoy the franchise against the tide of criticism enough to allow it to find that sweet spot that this movie only just missed.
I genuinely liked this movie, so this section most likely won’t be very long. But, I do want to expand a bit on that last point. Making movies, like sports, has become such a big business that there is little room for failure. This attitude pervades much of our society, but especially where there is money involved. Teams, studios, and fans can be brutal when assessing what is success. Sports fans, especially, are quick to define anything less than a championship as utter failure.
As I say, Power Rangers is being met with mixed reactions. I was actually surprised to see that the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low. Now, I’m not one to be swayed by critics, but perhaps borderline new fans might be. I just hope that not too many are turned off by the perceived negative reviews and give the movie a chance. It had a decent opening, so all of this worry may be for nothing. Then again, it has stalled some, so…*fingers crossed*
Also, and this gives me more hope (hey, start with the good and leave with good), this might be the type of movie that gains a following on DVD/Blu Ray/Streaming. Those on the fence might just wait until then because it is less of an investment and find that they disagree with the critics, love the film, and go see the second one in the theaters. Because I definitely want more. If they don’t happen, though, I’m glad to have had this one to share with my kids.