This weekend, my kung fu brother Jon and I went to go see the new Power Rangers movie. Now, full disclosure, my brother (actual brother, but also my kung fu brother) was the one who loved Power Rangers. I thought that the series was terrible when I was a youngin'. I'm not wrong. It's a terrible show. So, going into this movie, I expected to be rolling my eyes all over the place.
My Quickie Review
Minimal eye rolling ensued. This movie is actually a lot of fun. There is less action than I would have liked, but it's still a pretty good romp. I was pleasantly surprised.
My Longer Review
There is a lot to really like about this film. Firstly, HOLY REPRESENTATION, BATMAN. Now, if you've been reading this blog for a bit, you know I'm a fan of representation. Here we have a hero team consisting of a black man, an Asian man, and a Latina woman, (and two white folk. Of course the leader is white, which, well, meh). Also represented was a member of the LGBTQA+ community and, for the first time I can recall, someone on the autism spectrum.
This is HUGE, guys!
And what's better is that, though being on the spectrum results in some amusement in the movie, it is never the butt of a joke. This ranger is just as heroic (and I might argue, more heroic) than the "normal" rangers. It made me so incredulously happy to see. Better yet, the casting for this character was perfectly done, and wonderfully acted.
What I liked best, though was, like the ethnicity, or sexual orientation of other characters (and the sexuality of Sulu in the rebooted Star Trek franchise), this ranger's autism was incidental. It was part of his character, not the focus of it. This is how representation should be done.
I was impressed.
Now, the story itself was well, your typical teenagers finding they have powers kind of story. The focus was less on the threat posed by Rita and more on these five "screw-ups" coming together and forming a bond over a common purpose.
This, of course, meant that there was less action that I might have wanted, but I can live with that.
Of the action we did see, it was exactly what you might expect of a Power Rangers movie, but much more skillfully done. Thank goodness. The martial arts scenes were full of the same improbable moves as the television show, but looked much better, and felt much more plausible because it was done with better proficiency. Also, the awful whooshing sound effects that followed every movement of the rangers was not there, thank heavens! That was one of the most annoying things about the television series.
That's not to say that there wasn't the cheese/ham/corn you might expect of the Power Rangers. There were so many moments that were fairly groan-worthy, and plenty of dialogue that was silly. This didn't detract from the movie as much as I thought it might, recalling some of the awfulness of the television series as it did. At one point, as a fan service no doubt, the song from the original television series played. It was silly. I laughed.
There were also a lot of lines that were great. One of my favourites was, "No one dies alone." It was such a profound statement of solidarity that it almost felt out of place in an otherwise silly, fun, lighter movie.
If you're a Power Rangers fan, you'll probably love this movie. If you're not, this is still a fun flick to go see. There are some really groan-worthy moments in the movie, so keep your expectations low. If you do that, you'll probably like it.
Have you seen it? What did you think?