For context I never dismissed this or assumed it would be bad prior to watching it. The only thing I pre-judged were the suits and Zords which do not impact the quality of the movie but certainly impacts a Power Ranger fan like myself and would make the action less appealing if they’re bad. I didn’t like either set of designs and I certainly didn’t want any of the toys. The Rangers don’t even say their Zords’ names in the movie. Probably because even they can’t tell what animals they’re supposed to be.
I think the best way to put it is that this is a pretty good movie, perhaps a pretty good Power Rangers movie, but it’s not quite the Power Rangers movie someone like me wanted.
The characters are well-defined, relatable, and the cast is likable. Time was spent on each of them though I can’t say equally spent. Trini has the least to say and the least screentime which is in character for her but I don’t know if a lot of people would say she’s their favorite over the others. Maybe I’m wrong.
I can’t say this hurt the movie, but perhaps it hurt the Power Rangers aspect. There’s too much human screentime. Usually that applies to the live-action Transformers movies and shouldn’t apply here because the humans ARE the Rangers. However, actually suiting up and fighting is literally the last 15-20 minutes of this two hour movie. The characters, bonding, and team-building are well done, but it’s always going to bother me that there isn’t much Power Rangers in this Power Rangers movie. The movie and characters are fine, but if those aspects were in a different movie minus the Power Rangers elements, I probably wouldn’t see it. Power Rangers fans initially stuck around because of the martial arts and Megazord fights. Those elements are here so they didn’t lie to you, but they’re not THE prominent feature nor what people will be talking about leaving the movie.
Alpha 5 wasn’t the disaster his design implied. I warmed up to it after seeing it move but I’ll always wish he was a practical effect. Zordon I’m mixed on because he wasn’t quite a mentor figure here. He’s far more layered than the original for sure but he isn’t very likable and the writers lose points for not making him say “May the power protect you.” before the Rangers leave for their first battle. That’s a nitpick that really bothers me.
I didn’t like Rita here because she’s unnecessarily scary and bland. After reviving, she can’t speak very well and was too insane for my liking. Unlike the original, she has no one to talk to or play off of, which is why making Goldar… what he is in the movie is a shame. Any interest I have in her is solely tied to her past and relationship with Zordon. I don’t doubt Elizabeth Banks had fun here but Rita could’ve been anyone. Also, no headaches. 0/10.
We do not see the Morphers nor is there a “morphing sequence”. The Morphers are on the suit, but not used in any way. To morph in this movie all you need is the coin to be somewhere on your person. Not in your hand. No poses. No activation call. Also, there was some worry about “civilian powers” from the trailer because the humans had super strength. It’s not unnecessarily tacked on like the Disney seasons of Power Rangers, but these humans have all their “powers” without the suit. The suit itself is nothing more than armor that can connect to a Zord. That’s disappointing because based on this movie, there’s no need to Morph except for insurance. The humans fight no better in the suit than out of it. They’re just as effective offensively without Morphing. Plus, the Red Ranger’s the only one who has a weapon. What…?
Regarding the disappointing action climax… When the Rangers suit up, they fight the Putties. This is maybe three minutes at most and it’s all CGI which is lame. They have physical Ranger suits but the Putties don’t, so CGI all the way! Then it’s slow-mo fighting like the live-action Transformers. We see a lot of the individual Zords, mostly because the Rangers don’t know that they can combine. Once they do, it’s 99% offscreen. We just see the Megazord FROM THE BACK rise from the MacGuffin hole. Then it does like three physical moves and stabs Goldar. No grand finisher with its blades. Give me a Mighty Morphin’ Zord battle any day. There’s nothing special here.
We all knew the theme song would be in this movie, but how would it be used? They have the Apollo 13 shot where the Rangers semi-slowly walk out of the Command Center after morphing the first time. Does the theme play here? No. Then they fight Putties. Does the theme play here? No. The Zords start running towards town. There it is… for mere seconds. Well, they used it so it doesn’t play when they fight/defeat Goldar/Rita. To add insult to injury, does the theme play when the credits start? NO! They thought it’d be cute to play an old song that has “power” in the lyrics. It’s not like they had a more appropriate song on hand or anything. Finally, during the all text credits somewhere, you get under a minute of an instrumental version of the Mighty Morphin’ theme which after hearing it would’ve been PERFECT for the Apollo 13 shot. Someone needs to edit those together because it’s criminal otherwise.
Product placement was really… repulsive. When the company’s name is said more than twice in a film especially as many times in the action climax, there’s a problem. Is this a nitpick? Yes, but it still needs to be said. I don’t know why Krispy Kreme is so prominent here. Do they have the kids meal toys? No? Then get more than one sponsor or one with tact. Man of Steel had different kinds of product placement in the background, but Superman didn’t state each establishment he was going to tackle the bad guy into.
Finally, before the movie I saw an ad for Mega Construx (formerly Mega Bloks) who makes Power Rangers building toys. However, this ad didn’t feature any of their Power Rangers products… Why? Is it because if they showed off their Mighty Morphin’ products people would realize how bad the movie designs are?
From what I’ve seen, Power Rangers fans are liking it and at the end of the day, that’s a good sign. If the Transformers movies are still “doing well” at the box office, Power Rangers is in good shape. It’s way more character-driven which should be a priority for something like this.
I have a lot of problems with it, but it’s definitely not a bad movie. It’s just not the most balanced Power Rangers movie they could’ve done. Decent characterization, mostly likable characters/cast, setting the groundwork for better movies to come, but the imbalance of not enough Power Rangers content, a lackluster action climax which is inexcusable, misuse of the theme song, and the most annoyingly blatant product placement makes it a 7/10 for me. I don’t have much motivation to see it again any time soon, but I was entertained and there was way more effort put into making a good movie than other reboots/live action adaptations.