“Power Rangers” is really in two acts.
The first is a “Breakfast Club” kind of teen movie, where
misfit high school kids meet in detention and form an unexpected bond.
They each have challenges at home, and they all struggle with typcial
adolescent issues of self-identity, sense of belonging, and making good
decisions. They've all messed
up, or at the very least, failed to meet the expectations of those around
them. But what they've yet to
learn is that self-confidence comes not only from self-reliance, but also
from the bonds of teamwork.
Jason (Dacre Montgomery) was supposed to be the star quarterback,
but got caught doing a dumb vandal prank, and has to endure his father's
disappointment, as well as that of his classmates and teammates. Kimberly
(Naomi Scott) got kicked off the cheerleading squad for spreading a
compromising photo of someone else on social media, and she's not even
sure why she did that. Billy
(RJ Cyler) is the brilliant-but-socially-inept loner who likes making
explosive devices, a tendency which has gotten him into trouble, but it's
his homemade bomb, out by the old mine, that uncovers the strange, glowing
metal that they all take a piece of for a souveneir.
It turns out to be an “alien” substance, sent to Earth as a
result of a galatic war, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
So, along with their new buddies Zack (Ludi Lin), the daredevil,
and Trini (Becky G.), the loner, the five of them first stumble into a car
wreck where they are strangely unhurt, and then into an abandoned mine
shaft where they discover: a
spaceship with an instructional droid?
Now it borrows from the “Star Wars” concept of tapping the
power from within yourself, and learning to harness your energy to benefit
others rather than yourself (except for self-defense).
They can “morph” into being a true “Power Ranger” only
after they learn to think of each other before thinking of themselves.
That's not easy for any age, but sometimes juveniles can be
But don't worry, we have to get over ourselves very soon, in order
to save the world from the evil Rita Rupulsa (Elizabeth Banks).
She's bent on destroying anything and everyone in her path to get
at all the gold she can get her hands on, and her unmitigated greed
demands the combined efforts of all the young Power Rangers to stop her.
And then, like the costumed super-heroes of the comic books, our
heroes morph back into their “everyday” selves, except they all know
they'll never the same again. And
we all know that we're all set up for our next big adventure.
Is it cheesy? Sure.
But the teenage characters that are introduced here might actually
be worth developing, apart from their “superhero” mode, which makes
this Teenage Mutant Comic Hero saga worth more than a dismissive wave.
How about a high-five for a fantasy teen story with a little human