Don’t be fooled by cute memories of Lycra clad acrobats—Saban’s Power Rangers is a darker and more frightening reincarnation, aimed squarely at teens.
In 1993, a band of pre-Lululemon Lycra-clad superheroes emerged in the form of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a franchise that would continue in various incarnations, and even launch the career of Jennifer Garner.
Brought back to the big screen by the team that’s behind several of the bigger teen franchises today, the Power Rangers seemed an unlikely pick for a reboot. But, given the popularity and financial success of many superhero franchises, it’s little wonder it did.
The new Power Rangers are a group of teenagers who find themselves together in school detention, which leads to a night at an abandoned mine. There they discover five powerful coins and unearth a long buried force, which sees them become the protectors of our world. Also raised by this disturbance is a long buried enemy—Rita Repulsa (I kid you not, that’s her name, and she’s played wickedly well by Elizabeth Banks).
Rita and her large golden monster friend want to steal something from Earth, which will essentially lead to Earth’s destruction. The newly anointed Power Rangers must band together and master the secrets of their powers, if they are going to have any chance of stopping her.
I have a confession; I was never a fan of the Power Rangers. And, this latest incarnation has done little to sway me. Unlike the TV series, which seemed squarely aimed at children (although I appreciate it attracted some adult fans), this film is darker and deals with more complex teenage issues. The villain, too, is a bit on the creepy side for most under 12. I’m not sure what has prompted this change, but I don’t think it works.
The premise still feels childlike, yet the execution seems to exclude them. And while I applaud the way diversity is handled here (unlike its slightly dubious representations in the initial TV series), I’m not sure too many teenagers will find satisfaction in the narrative or action.
This era has presented teenagers with a host of interesting and multifaceted heroes who have not needed a cape to show their bravery. From the Hunger Games series to Maze Runner, today’s teenagers have come to expect more from their franchise films. Equally, the superhero genre has matured, with the Marvel and DC Comics franchises delivering blockbuster after blockbuster.
While the fandom of this franchise is undeniable, to me Saban’s Power Rangers is a little outdated and a little misdirected.
Director: Dean Israelite
Stars: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler
Runtime: 124 mins
Release Date: March 23
Reviewer Rating: 2/5
video via youtube