Warning! This article contains spoilers of Power Rangers.
Back in December, I wrote an article about the Strange Art Direction of the Power Rangers Movie stating my dissatisfaction with the visual direction they were taking with this beloved franchise. This past weekend, Power Rangers was finally released and based on the box office money it earned, all of the adults that grew up with it in the 90’s came out to see if their childhood was either ruined or brought back to life. This article is going to be a rebuttal to the first article I wrote. You’ll see whether my concerns were validated or if the direction they took was a great step in the right direction to what could be a huge film franchise for the Power Rangers.
The first thing people think about when they hear Power Rangers are the different color uniforms. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had the iconic big white diamond shapes on the chest of the uniforms along with a white belt, which held their morphers. Power coins sit within their morphers with a symbol representing the prehistoric creature that belongs to the individual Rangers. Their helmets also had elements of those creatures as well with the design seeming like a creatures head with the visor acting as the mouth of the animal. These are the most recognized uniforms in the Power Rangers universe and it is clear to see why everyone was up in arms when they saw the design of the new uniform for the reboot movie including myself. After watching the movie, however, I am not mad at the new uniforms, especially after watching them in motion and during the fight scenes. The new uniforms are well explained in the story and look pretty slick and upgraded to keep up with the special effects we get in films today. They are more colorful and vibrant than what we are used to seeing from Marvel and DC properties but they do fit with what we expect from Power Rangers while still giving us some nice elements like scratches and scuffs to keep them somewhat grounded in reality.
The Power coins were designed better in this reboot as well. Instead of having a cheesy drawings of the animals that the Power Rangers are going receive as Zords, they just get a more organic look with the color of each ranger being represented instead. I like the color and design choice of the power coins and the uniforms. They are getting away from mainly focusing on the prehistoric creatures and Zords as the theme of the coins and uniforms to placing the color of each Ranger as the focal point. I believe this will help with future movies so they won’t have to keep replacing power coins and uniforms if they ever decide to give the Rangers new Zords, especially if they go into the Zeo-Rangers storyline. This adds a good level of cohesiveness that can last through out the films where they do not have to do much to the uniforms but give them a few visual upgrades here and there from movie to movie.
Now on to Rita. Rita was probably the weakest part of the Power Rangers movie. Her character’s backstory and motivation was not deeply explored. Her motives were not clear enough as to why she betrayed Zordan and the rest of the team when she was the Green Ranger. She went on a mission to resurrect Goldar, who she seemed to really care for but the audience never learns why their relationship is so deep or how he was destroyed in the first place. I am hoping we get some of those questions answered in the sequel with the possible debut of Lord Zed coming into the story. As far as her character design goes, with the back story of her being the Green Ranger in the past it makes much more sense why she looks like she has the same armor as the Power Rangers instead of her space with get up she sported in the original series. Goldar on the other hand took a step backwards in my opinion. He was probably one of the iconic villain designs from the original series, along with Rita and Zed and with this film stripped his look.
Two characters that everyone seemed to be anxiously waiting to see on the big screen were Zordan and Alpha 5, voiced by Bryan Cranston and Bill Hader. I was originally more worried about Alpha than I was Zordon but after the film I have switched on this opinion. I enjoyed the reimagining of Alpha 5. They made him way less annoying than his 90’s counterpart and gave him more of a purpose than just pressing buttons and constantly worrying. I got use to his look real quick once he was introduced so it was not that distracting as I thought it would be. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Zordon. In the second trailer, I was actually please with the appearance of Zordon but it did not translate in the full film for me. Instead of the well known tube with a floating head we are familiar with, they went with a wall where he 3-dimensionally expands from and moves around from left to right. It is not a bad design by any means but it just did not give me the same feeling from the original Zordon I was looking for.
My biggest gripe I have with any character design is the Megazord. This is dramatically different than any other Megazords we have every seen since it looks more like a Jaeger from Pacific Rim ultimately taking elements from the Transformers franchise. The design of the Megazord might not fit in the world of Power Rangers we are use to but that is not the part I disliked the most. I really liked the design of the individual Zords but one of the coolest aspects of the Mega Zord in the Power Rangers series was the coming together of the Zords to transform into a single giant robot but we did not get that in this movie. During the fight with Goldar, the Zords get pushed into a pit of fire and then just kind of seemed like the Zords with melting into each other with little glimpses of moving parts to create the Megazord. They could have done a better job with this by showing how each Zord changes into the part of the Zord they represent and watch them all come together like the original series.
All in all, the film surprised me with how well of a reimagining of the Power Rangers universe this was. I would say this movie made all my concerns wrong and even the gripes I still have can still be fixed easily in the next movie. This is a great start to what could be a great film franchise for Lionsgate and Saban.