‘Power Rangers,’ worse than expected

Franchise reboot has no idea what it wants to be

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Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment
The cast of “Power Rangers,” (left to right) RJ Cyler, Naomi Scott, Ludi Lin, Becky G and Dacre Montgomery pose in an abandoned gold mine.
Synopsis

Five ordinary teens, Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cyler), Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G), must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat (Elizabeth Banks). Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment
The cast of “Power Rangers” stand together in costume for a publicity shot to exemplify the updated look.
Review

Based on the popular kid show franchise, “Power Rangers” attempts to launch a new franchise to cash in on the superhero craze. If this is financially successful, the producers hope to make five more films. If so, we’re in trouble.

“Power Rangers” is a convoluted mishmash of films. The first act feels like a modern “The Breakfast Club,” then turns into “Chronicle” and ends like a Michael Bay “Transformers” film, and it just doesn’t work. The tone is all over the place. “Power Rangers” wants to be a more grounded take of the original show, but also wants to be a loud and bombastic superhero flick that failed to blend well.

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment
The main leads of “Power Rangers” look at the glowing power crystal after they discover a secret cave.

Nothing about the narrative feels natural, as it heavily relies on coincidences to progress. For example, the five leads just so happen to meet each other at a rock quarry that conveniently contains the five power crystals. The writers desperately try to hide this by referring to these conveniences as “destiny,” but they’re not fooling anyone. Also, it’s amazing how these characters don’t seem to take the time to question anything presented to them. They just go along with everything like it’s another normal day in their lives.

The five leads have very little depth and chemistry in their performances. Each of them represents a stereotype found in your typical angsty teen drama on The CW. You have the football player who screwed up his career, the socially awkward autistic kid and the mysterious loner girl just to name a few. Bryan Cranston does a decent job with what he’s given, but it’s embarrassing watching his talent wasted as a motivational face on a wall. Then there’s Elizabeth Banks as the villain, Rita Repulsa, who is admittedly entertaining in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way.

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment
The main leads of “Power Rangers” meet Alpha 5 (voiced by Bill Hader) inside of a buried alien ship.

While the first two acts of “Power Rangers” might be barely passable for a screening on FX, the third act is when any chance of the film being entertaining falls apart. The climactic battle was a watered down version of the Smallville battle from “Man of Steel.” Repulsa wreaks havoc on the town of Angel Grove to find crystals that will give her the power to take over the universe that’s buried in the downtown section. Where are these crystals buried? Underneath the Krispy Kreme joint of course. There’s even a moment where Repulsa eats a donut in the restaurant as the battle escalates outside. This scene’s use of product placement is worse than those in “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

“Power Rangers” doesn’t know if it wants to embrace the original show or if it’s embarrassed by it. And if the film doesn’t know, how is the audience supposed to? Instead of being a moderately entertaining popcorn flick, it ends up being an obnoxious film that can only be enjoyed by viewers under the age of 12.