With everything getting remade nowadays, it was inevitable that a new Power Rangers film would arrive. Now, the latest reboot off of Hollywood's conveyor belt brings the "darker and grittier" Power Rangers, and our verdict is in.

2017 is clearly the year of reboots of properties I grew up with as a child; just in the past month alone, we've had a new King Kong film, as well as a new Beauty and the Beast one and now the Power Rangers are back too! I loved the Power Rangers TV show as a kid, it was just such a fun and silly show. When it was announced that the team would be getting the Nolan treatment and being reboot as "darker and grittier", it was met with much skepticism - from myself too. And then we got our first look at Rita and the costumes. And then a trailer. And another. And it did not look promising. However, the film itself surprised me completely. I went in expecting another bad, unnecessary reboot but Power Rangers was an absolute blast; it may very well even be one of the most fun movie-going experiences of the year.

After a prank gone horribly wrong, Jason (Dacre Montgomery) finds himself placed in detention alongside the likes of other troubled youngsters Billy (RJ Cyler) and Kimberly (Naomi Scott). When the trio all end up together at a mine, alongside other teens Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G), and come across five mysterious coins, the group soon find they have been given extraordinary abilities. When they uncover an alien ship and realise they've been chosen by fate to become the Power Rangers, the teens must put aside their differences and come together as a team - under the mentorship of former Ranger Zordon (Bryan Cranston) - to stop an old enemy that has awoken, Rita Repusla (Elizabeth Banks), from destroying their small town, Angel Grove.

Whilst Power Rangers always delivered cheesy, fun action, it was only as enjoyable as it was because of its characters. Whilst this may be an "edgier" re-imagining, what makes director Dean Israelite's film so great is that, at its heart, its also all about its characters. Not even the Rangers. But the actual teenagers themselves. They are the soul and life of this film and their writing is so excellent, with the screenplay crafting such genuine, likable three-dimensional characters in our five leads. They're flawed, and they're all very much so struggling with adolescence and they all have their own tough situations going on that they have to deal with and they feel so real and relatable. Dacre Montgomery, RJ Cyler, Naomi Scott, Ludi Lin and Becky G honestly feel so perfectly cast here; their performances are astounding and they have some of the best, most believable chemistry I've seen in a group like this, which only further grounds their characters and adds to our investment in them.

The first two-thirds of this film focus on the group coming to terms with not only their newfound abilities but with one another too. There's definitely an almost "edgier, grittier" Breakfast Club vibe to the proceedings and to our titular team. We find ourselves really invested in their journey as friends and Rangers, again, because of how sharply written these characters are and how much we care for them. This isn't quite so much a "dark" Power Rangers film, but rather tries to feel somewhat more grounded and real - there's plenty of surprisingly good humour on offer throughout to add some levity. And it works for the most part. Our leads feel so real and their dialogue seems real and everything feels real right up until we meet Elizabeth Banks' Rita Repulsa. Banks is a very talented, very capable actress but, here, her performance just feels so over-the-top and contrived to the point where it becomes quite grating and annoying after a while, and it doesn't help that - tonally - it really conflicts with this more grounded tone the film was aiming for. She feels so out of place.

The entire third act, in fact, feels so in conflict with everything that came before and that's where the film starts to falter. Funnily enough, it's actually when the film focuses on the group as teenagers that it's at its best. But, as soon as they actually become the Power Rangers, it begins to get too messy. The third act, whilst fairly enjoyable for it's over-the-top, cheesy action sequences, can't help but feel so convoluted and over-bloated - coming at odds with all of the genuinely great, grounded material beforehand and becoming generic, overstuffed blockbuster finale fare instead. There's just so much going on and it's unnecessarily loud and chaotic and messy. Again, it's still competent enough to watch but it does deflate the great first two-thirds before it. Visually though, Power Rangers has some gorgeous cinematography and is very pulpy, stylish and slick. However, the CGI is pretty questionable. This film is still a total blast, though, and it's packed with some great heart, charm and action. But what really makes this film shine - and even has me excited to see more (do stay for the post-credits stinger, especially if you're a big PR fan familiar with all the lore etc like myself) - is the titular team themselves. Because they're awesome. Do yourself a favour and go go watch this film now.

VERDICT:
Power Rangers is a total blast, packed with loads of heart, charm and great action; however, it's our titular team of characters that make this journey one that's so worthwhile.
 
 

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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