Here’s the Batman Begins of this franchise, the gritty reboot that tells our heroes’ improbably lengthy and self-serious origin story. Mind you, “gritty” is a relative term. The new film, directed by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac), is more real-world than the cheap ’90s kids’ TV show it’s based on, with an intermittent Friday Night Lights vibe and a campfire scene of Power Ranger soul-baring: “What does this mean, when this is all over? Are we Power Rangers, or are we friends?” But the uncomplicated plot, undemanding stunt work, unconvincing special effects and unpolished acting are reminders of its cheesy, simple-minded roots. In the all-American town of Angel Grove, five high-school students representing your basic Breakfast Club types stumble upon ancient coins that give them super strength. Subsequently, a robot in a cavern tells them they’re the Power Rangers and they have to stop the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks, working for a living) from getting the magic crystal that will destroy the Earth, etc. You know the routine. It’s 90 minutes before the team morphs into their costumes—and not a tight 90, either.
Director: Dean Israelite
Producer: Haim Saban, Brian Casentini, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Joel Andryc, John Gatins, Brent O'Connor, Allison Shearmur and Takeyuki Suzuki
Cast: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G, Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader and David Denman