Diversity, donuts, and robotic dinosaurs. What’s not to love? With those three bases covered, it’s safe to say that Power Rangers pretty much has it all.
Fangirlish attended the Los Angeles premiere of Lionsgate’s new take on the phenomenon earlier this week. Despite only having slight familiarity with the franchise going into the movie, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Power Rangers defies convention with a diverse cast of characters that keeps you guessing, brings the laughs throughout without being cheesy, and hits you right in the feels.
Let’s start with the basics: the characters. Much of Power Rangers focuses on the five core teens – played by Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, and Becky G. – discovering their powers and training to control them. Their mission is to prevent Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) from acquiring a crystal fragment that would give her the power to create and destroy worlds. Pretty low-key stakes, right?
Though many of the teens at first appear to conform to familiar tropes and stereotypes – the charismatic jock, the cheerleader, the angsty outcast – the film quickly subverts expectations for each, creating complex and unpredictable characters you will love. The core cast is also very diverse, with the Power Rangers including several different races, an LGBT member, and one who falls on the Autism spectrum. They’re all outcasts in their own way, and watching them learn to work together is satisfying in a way that many other team-building sequences aren’t. This group doesn’t just work together because they have to, or because they’re good at it. They truly learn to respect and love each other, and that brings emotional significance to what might otherwise be a flashy spectacle with no substance.
On the villain side, Elizabeth Banks slays (as per usual) as Rita Repulsa, the murderous baddie with a penchant for gold. We don’t want to give too much away, but her backstory adds to the importance of the Power Rangers – past and present – and helps contextualize their mission. Banks is by turns intimidating and hilarious (in a deadpan way), which is exactly the right balance for this movie.
Beyond the diverse, lovable cast of characters, I enjoyed Power Rangers because it made me laugh – over and over again. Let’s put it this way: the movie starts with a cow dick joke and builds up to an outrageously obvious but oh-so-perfect use of product placement that plays a key (and hilarious) role in the plot. No spoilers, but you may want to have some donuts on-hand after watching.
The film is rounded out by a strong soundtrack, great effects – including the Rangers’ dinosaur-like robots (what’s a girl gotta do to get one of those?) – and a good balance of badass fight scenes and emotional moments. It feels like a summer sensation waiting to happen, so fingers crossed that its spring release date doesn’t hurt its chances.
Power Rangers isn’t perfect, but it is a whole lot of fun – and we definitely recommend that you see it. It’s morphin’ time.
Power Rangers is in theaters now.