Dawn of the THOUGHTBOX: Power Rangers

(image courtesy of Deadline)

Here’s a new segment, because I need one for dedicated opinions on TV shows, movies, and whatnot. So this time, it’s the new Power Rangers movie. As someone who only barely watched the shows when I was younger but did dress up as a Ranger twice for Halloween, it’s taken me a while to get acquainted with this shit. And via Linkara’s History of Power Rangers videos, the recent Twitch stream of almost every episode of the series made so far, and now this Hollywood (by way of Vancouver) movie, I’ve probably taken the douchiest possible route to the center of the fandom. And for the latter… well, I liked it, but mostly because I knew what kind of movie I was getting to start with.

Spoilers below, of course.

So yeah, they were right when it was said to be a teenage melodrama in the first third, then an angstier drama once they realize they’ll actually be Power Rangers, and then it gets a burst of superhero ecstasy in the last part. And there I was, thinking “Maybe I’ll enjoy it now, but wait until I can drink and get hammered to this shit in a few years”. But hey, between Jason the once-and-future Red Ranger going on a reckless cattle drive and Billy (who isn’t gay, but black… and autistic) blowing up a locker and some rock quarry, there were certainly some nice twists and turns. And really, Billy was the real star of the movie for me, if only because seeing one of the Rangers talk about how he’s “on the spectrum” and doesn’t get certain types of humor was pretty great. Because I also have ASD, like a seemingly amazing number of my Internet friends, but I almost never bring it up because it does feel normal to be that way on the Internet. But maybe not in real life. All that could have made it better was Billy having a personal teacher to guide him around, like I did. Also, I loved his novelty T-shirts, including the one with the hot dog happily jumping into the bun, as if it were to imply an amazing bizarro Sausage Party universe where the food wants to be eaten.

The acting of the Rangers was good, and the usual Hollywood acting talent (I LOVE YOU BRYAN CRANSTON!) was certainly up to snuff. Maybe they’ll start phoning it in after a few movies if this really does become a franchise, but I hope not. And Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa certainly hammy enough, perhaps because she wasn’t sure what movie she was in but she thought it was going to suck so it was time to overact the hell out of it. Sadly, I had to break for the bathroom and missed the sequence in the back half where she robbed a jewelry store. That was probably pretty funny, but maybe not as much as the cow masturbation gag, or when Billy nearly said “motherfucker”. It’s a PG-13 movie, of course, and they can say “shit” all they like, but it was still a pretty clever joke.

The Ranger suits were certifiably big budget. Definitely far from the Sentai-based series, but sometimes you have to remember that even the movie from the Mighty Morphin’ era featured original non-spandex suits created just for it. The Zords were less impressive (I heard a friend compare them to the Bayformers), but still cool. The Megazord, however… while I like the idea that it was created by essentially smelting together all of the smaller Zords together in the fires of Hell, it takes away from the concept of the robots joining together to form a huger robot when the time is right, while still being able to split apart and turn into the regular Zords for future use. And its design was pretty darn meh, resembling a rather bleak Optimus Subprime. And yet also, why weren’t they all in the cockpit controlling it together? Maybe that’s me being a bit of a purist, but I feel like the teamwork is expressed more naturally that way. But then again… teamwork wasn’t necessarily the theme of most of the movie. Maybe they need to be separated before they can get along with themselves, even as Rangers? They better do it quick, since that damn Zeo Crystal should make them more powerful over time.

So overall, if you all are expecting a morphtastic time at the movies, don’t… unless you’re willing to tolerate the new Power Rangers’ more domestic moments. But I did, and on the opening weekend, no less, and by myself. Hopefully, that black Latino couple beside me didn’t mind my own autistic habits. When I get into a movie, I tend to act it out, guts and all. Also, was my laugh annoying to them? The world might never know.

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