Three cheers for Power Rangers reboot

Graphic by Philip Su

I don’t often get excited for movie or TV franchise reboots. They are often disappointing on most levels. The most recent Disney release, Beauty and the Beast, comes to mind — an unnecessary live-action reboot of a beloved classic.

Being a person who is mostly disappointed by reboots, imagine my shock-horror when I found out that we were getting a film reboot of the beloved Power Rangers series. The first trailer came out and I refused to watch it, especially since the original TV series is one of my favourite things ever.

Even after the photos of their new suits came out, I was still angry and unwilling to watch it. I was not planning to see it until I found out that the Blue Ranger, Billy, was going to be black and autistic and the Yellow Ranger, Trini, was going to be gay. That turned me around, as I am a big fan of diversifying beloved classics for a new generation.

So, reformed and excited, I excitedly bought my advance screening ticket.

I was not disappointed.

The new Power Rangers is an extremely fun action movie for a new generation. It features the same characters that we know and love, specifically Zordon and Alpha 5, reimagined in 21st Century animation. The new power suits are very different than what we are used to, but they are sleek and fun and strike up the same excitement as the old ones did. The film features many edge-of-your-seat action sequences while also sharing a heart-warming message about the power of friendship. It also features some of the most beloved things from the original series, simply reimagined.

While being just as enchanting as the original series, it is not afraid to be confident about the diversity. Billy’s autism is a strong plot-line and also key to the telling of the story. Trini’s sexuality is hardly mentioned, but it feels natural and belongs to the story and character, instead of being shoe-horned in. It has been announced that there will be more films, so I am sure they will explore her sexuality further.

However, as enjoyable as the film is, there are still issues. Despite the new and diverse cast, the token white guy is still the leader of the group. The villain is extremely well-fleshed out, but doesn’t feel as evil as she could be. She has some unexplained abilities as well, that move the plot forward but have no explanation. The Red Ranger does something at the beginning of the movie that launches the whole plot, but there is never any explanation given for his actions.

All things considered, the Power Rangers reboot is one of the few reboots that is enjoyable and does not do any disservice to its source material. I would highly recommend it.

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