Power Rangers (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Power Rangers</strong> (2017)

(Netflix Streaming, August 2018) Given that I have no prior history of watching Power Rangers as a kid, I was expecting the worst from its big-screen movie adaptation. While the result isn’t awe-inspiring, I was surprised at how enjoyable much of it could be. The film’s first half, for instance, is a serviceable YA science-fiction film, as four mismatched teenagers discover a hidden alien spaceship and learn to control their new superpowers. It’s executed with a certain attention to realism and the dialogue isn’t too bad: There are clear links here between this film and director Dean Israelite’s previous Project Almanac. Plus—and this is important—it doesn’t immediately go for the in-jokes and dumbest characteristics of the original TV show. There is also a sense of achievement in the way the characters learn to control their superpowers—it’s not an automatic thing, and they still make mistakes along the way. It helps that the actors are a sympathetic bunch—there are clichés here, but they’re likable clichés. Things get less interesting in the final act, as we move to an action climax that leans hard on the TV show conventions what just look dumb to first-time viewers. While the final battle nearly levels the downtown area of a small city, it also relies on elements that fans remember from the series and aren’t quite as believable as the rest of the film. There are, of course, sequel hooks—whether they will be followed is up to financial results. Let’s just say that I would not be completely opposed to the idea if they can keep much of what made the first half of the film so interesting.

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