By Dave B.
Pretty much every person from the age of about 30-40 knows at least the general premise of the Power Rangers. Five teens from the town of Angel Grove gain fighting powers and robots from aliens and defend the Earth from various villains. Power Rangers (2017, currently on Hulu) follows that formula exactly. Five high schoolers, who barely know each other, stumble upon a spaceship that’s been buried for 65 million years. They discover coins that give them the power to save the earth from the evil Rita Repulsa and her minions.
I decided to make Power Rangers my first review of 2019 for a simple reason: it sucked less than I thought it would and maybe that's a good portent for the year. That’s not to say that that the movie iteration of Power Rangers is good. Actually, it's…kinda odd. I was expecting a campy homage to the 90s TV series, but that’s not what this movie offered. Instead, Power Rangers is an occasionally humorous, but serious-minded take on the superhero team and I can’t decide if going in that direction is a mistake or not. The acting is passable, the dialogue is mediocre, and the script itself is just about as predictable as it can possibly be.
However, Power Rangers is one of the most well-paced movies that I’ve seen all year. It’s long at 124 minutes, and a good chuck of that time is filled with training montages, but at no point did I feel like the movie’s momentum was flagging. There were no periods of time where I was particularly bored and viewers may find themselves surprisingly invested in the outcome of the film (at least as invested as one can be when they know pretty much everything that will happen the entire time). I chalk this impressive pacing up to the fact that Power Rangers the movie takes itself significantly more seriously than Power Rangers the show, ever did.
Replacing campiness with drama can be disastrous, but Power Rangers successfully pulls off the switch (to some extent) by reveling in the sheer joy of relatively kind-hearted, but troubled young people finding a purpose for their lives. In other words, the movie’s tone is rather infectious. That said, I don’t recommend Power Rangers because….well, everything about it aside from it’s pacing and tone is just a bit on the wrong side of mediocre. It’s not a movie I’m inclined to hate, but in the genres of superheroes, giant robots, and/or monsters, it’s firmly in the bottom half of the pack.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.