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'Power Rangers' remake struggles, but ultimately works

Sultana Qureshi
Sultana Qureshi

An eighteen-year-old currently in the middle of her gap year

Jakarta | Fri, March 31, 2017 | 01:57 pm
'Power Rangers' remake struggles, but ultimately works

In this image released by Lionsgate, Becky G, from left, RJ Cyler, Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott and Ludi Lin appear in a scene from (Lionsgate via AP/Kimberly French)

Fox Kids meets the CW with this year’s Power Rangers reboot, and surprisingly, that isn’t a bad thing. 
Based on the 1993 television show, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Power Rangers tells the story of five high schoolers who, by chance, come across different colored coins embedded in rock, which imbues them with superhuman powers. From there, they become the newest group of Power Rangers. 
It’s a little hard to take this movie seriously, what with stone-faced twenty-somethings calling themselves “Rangers” with such conviction after only having become Rangers 48 or so hours ago. But somehow, it works. Yes, Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa is especially hard to not cringe at, but the Rangers themselves keep the movie from sinking with their chemistry. 
Jason Scott, portrayed by Dacre Montgomery and better known as the Red Ranger, is the leader of the team, but it is Billy Cranston, the Blue Ranger played by RJ Cyler, who is the clear heart. Cyler’s performance, by primarily being a combination of earnest and giddy, is by far the best out of the five.

Read also: Review: So-so 'Power Rangers' reboot is cheesy, self-serious
Seeing as one of the movie’s biggest issues is the writing, it’s a surprise the team comes off as sincerely as they do. The characters look like they’re 25, but most speak as if they’re 12.  Zack, the Black Ranger, suffers the most. Ludi Lin gives a fun performance and it seems as if he would be able to do so much more with better material, but here he seems to struggle against the awkward dialogue. 

Zack isn’t the only character who sounds like he belongs in middle school. The non-alien antagonists of the movie and real-life manifestations of the character’s “high school problems”, a complete set of one school bully and two mean girls, are comically bad. 
The movie has been praised for its diversity -- even Bill Hader’s character, Alpha 5, says, “different colored suits, different colored kids” -- and while it shows, it still has a long way to go. The movie boasts both the first autistic and first lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) superhero on the silver screen, but Billy’s autism is only referred to as “on the spectrum”. Still, the words are spoken by Billy himself, which is far from what can be said about the “first LGBT superhero”. 
Trini, the Yellow Ranger portrayed by singer Becky G, gets roughly a half-minute exchange between herself and Zack that sort-of-kind-of can be classified as representation, but it is never again brought up. Sure, none of the characters are part of a romantic subplot, aside from some shared looks between Pink and Red, but the moment was far from “groundbreaking”.
The Power Rangers reboot may not be as well crafted as say, a superhero movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s still fun. Just remember not to take it too seriously. 

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