Power Rangers: Innovative, Fun, And More Relevant Than You Think
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Power Rangers: Innovative, Fun, And More Relevant Than You Think

Don't let the cheesiness turn you off to seeing this film and its important messages.

Power Rangers: Innovative, Fun, And More Relevant Than You Think

For a while now, I had predicted that March would be great to me and bad to my wallet, and I have to say I was 100% correct.

A few months ago I had made an article about the new “Power Rangers” reboot movie, about how I was excited about it and how I wanted everyone else to be excited about it too. Well, this past Friday the movie finally came to theaters, and my expectations were not just met, but completely surpassed. So much so that I have seen it twice already! And will probably go see it two more times. And maybe two more.

In case you do not know the film’s plot, here’s a brief spoiler-free summary. Five teenagers with attitude — Jason, Zack, Trini, Kimberly, and Billy — find mystical multi-colored power coins that grant them superhuman abilities. They discover that the coins were hidden on Earth 65 million years ago by the alien Zordon and his trusty robot sidekick Alpha 5 in hopes that one day a new team of rangers would find them and protect the Zeo Crystal, the source of all life on Earth, from the evil Rita Repulsa. The teens spend the movie trying to come together as a team despite personal problems in each of their lives. It’s basically “The Breakfast Club” but with aliens and superpowers.

Now I know this premise sounds silly. The original show has a reputation for being extremely cheesy and campy, and as a huge fan of it, I can attest that that is perfectly true. After all, it is a show about brightly-colored spandex-wearing teens that use giant robot dinosaurs in order to beat up monsters. And this film has that same level of campiness. But let us be real, did anyone want a serious and gritty “Power Rangers” film? Where is the fun in that? This movie does have its serious moments — Rita Repulsa, played up to eleven by Elizabeth Banks, is legitimately terrifying and there are a few onscreen murders. The rangers deal with heavy personal issues, ranging from harmful mistakes to family troubles. But underneath the heavy stuff, there’s that same lighthearted theme from the original show — that at the end of the day, issues can be resolved as long as you band and work together with all kinds of people instead of pushing them away. And in today's divided world, that kind of moral is extremely comforting and relevant.

I mentioned how Elizabeth Banks plays the terrifying villain to full effect, and the other stars Bryan Cranston and Bill Hader play their roles of Zordon and Alpha 5, respectively, extremely well too. But those are big name actors; people expected them to be good. How about the rangers, who are played by mostly new names? All I can say is that I hope these actors go on to do more, because everyone did a fantastic job in their roles. Special mention should go to RJ Cyler, who plays the bright and inquisitive blue ranger Billy perfectly, and Ludi Lin, who plays the crazy rogue black ranger Zack with as much emotional depth as he does swagger. And I do not want to give away spoilers, but there is a certain scene in the movie that is very heavy and emotional, and the actors portray the sense of grief needed perfectly. Bring tissues, you will need them.

Something that I have addressed in my previous article is the film’s diversity — in the core five team, every member is a different ethnicity, with only one white member. That is already a huge step up in superhero films, but they take it a step farther with the actual characters. Trini, the Hispanic yellow ranger, is part of the LGBTQA community — mostly implied to be a lesbian, as during the movie she is asked if she has “boyfriend troubles” before changing the question to “girlfriend troubles.” Billy, who is African-American, is also autistic. Unlike Trini’s situation, his is definitely not implied; during the movie he proclaims how he is on the spectrum, and shows many of the symptoms of people with autism: he stims, he does not understand sarcasm or humor, he is incredibly smart, and good at remembering small details, just to name a few. This is the first superhero movie to have characters that are part of the LGBTQA community and autistic. And neither of the characters are ridiculed or try to be “fixed” by their team; instead, these traits are embraced and the characters are accepted for who they are. As someone who personally deals with both of these situations, seeing these two characters on screen being celebrated for their differences instead of talked down too was amazing.

I guess I should probably talk about the actual “Power Rangers” elements, shouldn’t I? A big part of the movie is the team learning to work together and essentially trying to “earn” their armor instead of just gaining it right off the bat. Because of this, we do not see the armor and zords in use until the last act of the film. While this might be disappointing to some people, in my opinion the long wait makes the actual morphing and battle a lot more satisfying. In both showings I saw, the entire theater cheered when the zords came out, and the original “Power Rangers” theme song played.

Nothing much else to say but go go see “Power Rangers”! And do not immediately leave once the movie is over. There is a mid credits scene that has an especially exciting sequel tease that long-time “Power Rangers” fans will recognize!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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