A lot has been said and discussed lately about super heroes movies, their strengths and weaknesses, and how a great heroes movie should be done. I’m gonna review this movie without recapping or spoiling it, because I want to discuss some important lessons that can be extracted from Marvel and DC’s experiences.
Power Rangers is an origin movie. No arguing about that. As far as origin stories go, they need space and time to present their players, who’s good, who’s bad, how everything came to be, and what is the mission planned for the heroes. Back in 2008, when Marvel started their Cinematic Universe, it seems audiences were thirsty for origin stories. Five years later the ensemble film The Avengers came to be, and while Marvel keeps on creating origin movies (Doctor Strange, Ant-Man), the focus shifted. People no longer wish to wait 3/4 of a movie to see the great battle. The recent Spiderman: Homecoming is a great example. Spidey was already introduced in Captain America last year, and each and every human being knows his origin story. That’s why his first solo movie doesn’t bother explaining anything about his origin.
The same can be applied to the Power Rangers. We all know how they came to be. Each and every one of us either watched one of the shows, read a comic or heard about it from a friend. That was, in my opinion, the movie’s greatest weakness: Too long origin story. But (and that’s a big but), origin stories can’t be completely skipped in order to rush an ensemble film: Just look to DC’s Batman vs. Superman, or Suicide Squad. They were good movies, but the character’s presentation was lacking. So: We needed to learn about our new rangers, but we didn’t need 90 minutes for that.
While we are familiar and care about Zordon and Alpha, we didn’t care about the new rangers when the movie started. A great origin story makes you care about the characters, but, using a strong and dramatic plot of fight and sacrifice makes you care about them. Slowly (too slow), we learned about our heroes, but their inability to progress with training was infuriating. While that happened, some great things happened: Rita threatened Trini, and turned everything upside down later on. While it was a familiar plot device, it did the trick, both for us (we suddenly cared about the rangers), and for the rangers (who took control). From there on, it was a great half hour, full of funny moments and filled with action. Couldn’t it happen sooner? It was nice to learn, together with the rangers, about their powers and what they can do. This is the best part of origin stories.
The casting of the movie was great: Dacre Montgomery, a rather unknown guy, was charismatic enough to lead the group. Naomi Scott was awesome, and did her best to hold the group together (she’s also a great singer, check her out!). RJ Cyler was probably the best nerdiest ranger ever. Ludi Lin and Becky G did good, but only blossomed by the end of the movie. And Elizabeth Banks, oh my god! She was simply terrific as Rita Rapulsa, an unbelievable casting, as Banks usually is one of the good guys. Bryan Cranston as Zordon was cranky, and Bill Hader as Alpha was funny as hell.
Still, this movie was good, and I believe that if a sequel will be made, it can benefit from the long origin story and elevate the storytelling and the complexity. All and all, I recommend this movie, mostly for its characters and humor.