Hitting the cinemas this past week on March 24, Power Rangers is another Hollywood attempt at breathing life into an old franchise. But for all the star power featuring the likes of Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks, the CGI-driven action film falls short in a number of key categories for the critics.
Clarisse Loughrey of the Independent argues that much of the story relies on the audience understanding what has come two-and-a-half decades ago courtesy of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
"2017's Power Rangers is, in technical lingo, what is termed a bad film," she says. "It's a Power Rangers movie in its bare bones only. It assumes either you already know the team's story or that you straight up don't care, sprinting straight through the basic narrative of five teenagers chosen to pick up the mantle of a long line of intergalactic warriors tasked with defending the Zeo Crystal – which is really important for some reason."
More Safe and Lame Kids Fodder Like Suicide Squad
Owen Gleiberman of Variety bluntly writes that this installment is two hours that could be better spent elsewhere, decrying it's lack of imagination and tendency to fall into stereotypes.
"After 90 minutes of hip and hollow teen banter, woefully generic origin story, and molehill-posing-as-mountain-size triumph, Power Rangers finally uncorks one of those high-flying digital-blitzkrieg action finales that was mocked in Birdman as the essence of blockbuster decadence."
To make matters worse, the PG-13 rating doesn't follow the same spirit as the 90s show to be light and fun, but attempts to be dark and brooding to end up catering to nobody.
"The irony is that 25 years ago, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was launched as superhero fodder for kids, and there was indeed a place for it, but we’re now so awash in superhero culture that kids no longer need the safe, lame, pandering junior-league version of it. They can just watch Ant-Man or the PG-13 Suicide Squad. Safe, lame, and pandering have all grown up."
If You Loved The Old Rangers, This Should Suffice
The reviews have not been overwhelmingly terrible, with Screen Rant pointing out that the general plot and characters have been maintained from the small screen series.
"Power Rangers‘ attempt to give the franchise a contemporary makeover without completely abandoning its roots in silly monsters vs. superhero mayhem may yield mixed returns, but on the whole the movie reboot offers much of the same goofy superhero entertainment value as the various Power Rangers TV shows have for nearly the past quarter-century."
Karen Han of /FILM admits that the audience has a fair amount of reality they need to suspend while watching the extravaganza, saying that the teens fighting monsters in bright colors can only be taken so far.
"The biggest difficulty that Power Rangers has is in balancing that campiness with the small-town drama that establishes the personalities of each of its heroes. It’s a tightrope walk that causes the movie to fall apart in its second half, as elements of both sides become more pronounced."
Giving the title a surprisingly good 7/10 rating, Han believes that it is made with the best of intentions.
"In the end, Power Rangers lands mostly on its feet. Despite its foibles and the parts of it that are obviously geared towards launching a multi-movie empire, it still has more of a heart than most of its peers."