Hitting the ground running with a fratboy-esque sequence that features a gag about inadvertently jerking off a bull, it’s clear from the outset that this is decidedly not the Power Rangers you remember from Saturday morning TV. In its early scenes, sophomore director Dean Israelite seems to be steering the decades-old kid’s franchise in an intriguing, relatively grounded direction, allowing his key players to feud and bond in detention, Breakfast Club-style, before sending them off on an altogether more fantastical adventure. However it soon becomes clear that this a film that aspires to be all things to all people – or at least, to all segments of the lucrative youth market. And so the regressive humour is awkwardly interspersed with earnest attempts at 21st century wokeness. One ranger resides proudly on the autism spectrum, while another struggles with her sexuality – although this is depicted so coyly, it feels more like a cynical box-ticking exercise than a genuine desire to be progressive. Meanwhile, the ominous, Chronicle-inspired tone of the first act jars horribly with the goofy, overblown spectacle of the final scenes. The result is a chaotic mess of a series reboot that feels like it was designed by a squabbling, leaderless committee. And yet, on a scene-by-scene basis, it offers more eccentric charm and genuine escapism than, say, anything Michael Bay or Zack Snyder could muster. All in all, then, it’s a mission just about accomplished.
Power Rangers | Directed by Dean Israelite (USA 2017) with Dacre Montgomery, Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston. Starts March 23