A Potential Beginning for the Power Rangers Cinematic Universe
By: Kenny Velez
Saban’s “Power Rangers” has a lot to offer for a future franchise, but as a start it could have been much more fulfilling
Five teenagers: Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Zack (Ludi Lin), Billy (RJ Cyler), Trini (Becky G), and Kimberly (Naomi Scott), find rainbow colored rocks known as the Power Coins in a mine after Billy blows it up.
The Coins lead them to a spaceship buried underneath their hometown of Angel Grove, where an alien named Zordon (Bryan Cranston) and a robot named Alpha (Bill Hader) await them.
Zordon tells them that they are the Power Rangers, a group of superheroes who must defend the Earth from Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), a former Ranger who betrayed former Ranger Zordon and wants to destroy the Earth.
In the first half of the movie, the scenes either took place in a colorless day reminiscent of “Man of Steel” or in pitch black night. The movie is too dark, so dark that it was hard to tell what was going on in some scenes. The only exception being the scene where they go underwater for the first time, this is the only place where some color is seen.
In the second part, after all the Rangers morph for the first time, the movie becomes much more colorful similar to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” did.
The cinematography is a mixed case. Sometimes it does unique things: such as in the beginning of the movie where the camera spins around inside Jason’s car as he is chased by the police before crashing. Other times, it becomes the typical shaky cam movie.
The action scenes also leave a lot to be desired, considering that Power Rangers has had a history of having real-life martial artists play the main characters.
Adding to the movie’s dark atmosphere, the Rangers have more angst than their show counterparts. For example, Jason Scott is a former football player who sabotages his own career, Zack Taylor takes care of his dying mother while living in a mobile home, Trini Kwan is a loner who struggles with being gay, etc.
Also, Billy Cranston is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Speaking as a fellow man on the spectrum, it’s nice to see the first big budget superhero on the spectrum. I may not be an expert on the all things spectrum, but I will say this: when he did his “Die Hard” reference, he censors himself in a way that seemed realistic.
Zordon is more of a jerk in this version. In the beginning, he only wanted the Rangers to morph so he can come back to life and defeat Rita himself, deciding that the Rangers are incompetent due to their inability to morph. Eventually, he proves himself to be noble after giving up his second chance at life in order to save Billy.
Rita Repulsa is the main villain in this movie, and the only villain who speaks. She spends most of the movie as a creepy looking old woman murdering civilians and stealing their gold. Elizabeth Banks does a fine job of bringing this villain to life, making her creepy and hammy.
Goldar is wasted in this movie. He only exists here so he can be revived by Rita and fight the Rangers. He should have been voiced by an actor so Rita can have someone else to interact with and give both characters some depth.
Overall, this movie is evoking the imagery of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For example, Jason David Frank and Amy Jo Johnson from the original Power Rangers make cameo appearances, similar to what Stan Lee does in Marvel films. Power Rangers wants to be the start of a Power Rangers Cinematic Universe, and it has more than enough material to do so.