‘Power Rangers’ Review Roundup: What the Critics Are Saying

Lionsgate Power Rangers
Courtesy of Lionsgate/Kimberley French

Saban’s Power Rangers” (or, simply, “Power Rangers,” though its official title pays proprietary homage to the franchise’s co-creator) is careening into theaters for its March 24 release.

Although the bulk of preliminary critiques yo-yo between appreciation for the film’s sugary overtones and apathy toward its lackluster subject matter, it seems as though this live-action reboot of an inexplicably cherished early 90’s after-school animated series couldn’t quite find its niche amid the modern-day deluge of superhero films flooding the big screen. Critics say the film does attempt to pander to its long-established fan base with an air of nostalgia that alludes to the vacuous, cartoon-y decades of yore. But, it oscillates too heavily between frothy, heavy-handed “life lessons” and lukewarm cracks at sophisticated character development to carry any real substance.

Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman

The characters in “Power Rangers” have all the depth and idiosyncrasy of walking talking robo-teen action figures. How will a movie like this one do? In the minds of the people who made it, it was obviously conceived to be a blockbuster, one that would cut a swath across the demos and generations. But it seems likelier that the movie will earn the 2017 equivalent of the so-so grosses the 1995 movie did. The irony is that 25 years ago, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” was launched as superhero fodder for kids, and there was indeed a place for it, but we’re now so awash in superhero culture that kids no longer need the safe, lame, pandering junior-league version of it. They can just watch “Ant-Man” or the PG-13 “Suicide Squad.” Safe, lame, and pandering have all grown up.

Vulture‘s Emily Yoshida

It’s bright and fun and doesn’t look like any climactic fight of a superhero movie in recent memory. It is also, jaw-droppingly, one long Krispy Kreme commercial — the Power Rangers product-placement game is strong. This movie is out of its goddamn mind. But if we’re going to continue to be sold empty nostalgia calories, they may as well taste this sweet.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Justin Lowe

Whether they’re dealing with bullying, alienation or sexual orientation, these teens are more three-dimensional than their Ranger predecessors, but eventually this repetitive effort to emphasize their relatability becomes so heavy-handed as to appear transparently manipulative. However, some judiciously timed humor helps curtail the self-consciously jokey tone of the earlier films. A revived “Power Rangers” franchise may lack the distinction necessary to sustain a full-fledged relaunch, although its worldwide appeal should assure satisfactory initial results.

Vox‘s Alex Abad-Santos

The only logic the story needs is logic that justifies the presence of dinosaurs, robots, and karate. And the only theme that matters is “dinosaurs, robots, and karate.” When Lionsgate’s new “Power Rangers” reboot understands this, the result is so arrestingly silly and so belligerently joyful that it will zap fans of the original TV franchise back to the cartoon-filled, Fruity Pebbles–encrusted Saturday mornings of their youth. It taps into unashamed fun that will make a soul soar like a cotton candy–colored pterodactyl ripping through blue sky. Its goofy, gooey chaos is as irresistible as it is indomitable.

But there’s one nagging problem: The movie spends a lot of time resisting how gleeful and impossibly playful the Power Rangers are meant to be.

Los Angeles Times‘ Justin Chang

“Saban’s Power Rangers” (Saban clearly never learned to share) is a witless and cobbled-together pile of junk, and I mean that not as an insult so much as an assurance of brand integrity. The filmmakers have lopped off the “Mighty Morphin” from the title, reshuffled a few character ethnicities and stirred some wisecracking millennial attitude into the mix. They’ve also taken the highly questionable step of outfitting the female Rangers in breast-enhanced body armor. But for the most part, they have seen fit not to mess with a bad thing.

The Independent‘s Clarisse Loughrey

2017’s “Power Rangers” is, in technical lingo, what is termed a bad film. The dialogue is flat, the plotting random, and the effects shaky. It’s a movie that’s shot half like a corporate-sponsored ad for selling your organs to fund your gap year, half like those music videos that won’t stop intercutting between a couple’s sensuous tickle-fight and them staring down the camera like we were responsible for their inevitable breakup.

The New York Times‘ Andy Webster

“Saban’s Power Rangers” may surpass the original, but for what lesson? The value of teamwork? More likely, of a franchise payoff.

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  1. Luis Guerrero says:

    Best movie ive seen in years it reminds me of my childhood waking up every saturday morning loved the show as a kid and couldn’t wait to show my kids going to watch it again

  2. Luke says:

    Did this film bring my childhood back? No!
    Did I think the film wasn’t fun and enjoyable? Yes!
    It was funny, cheesy and took a different approach to the superhero franchise, after all Power Rangers isn’t the top superheroes we are accustomed to see. I.E. Marvel, DC etc. etc.
    Although it took a while to get into action and into morphin suits when that time came it was worth the wait.
    So if you’re looking for your typical marvel/DC superhero film then look away.

  3. sure jan says:

    Did anyone really expect a Power Rangers movie to be critically acclaimed? C’mon. It’s campy, corny, cheesy–and embraces all of that. It’s teenage heroes in colorful suits defeating evil alien beasts each episode with, yes, “dinosaurs [and other prehistoric creatures], robots, and karate.” They couldn’t try to make that too much more serious or “grown-up.” Yeah, I doubted there’d be a lot of room for new PR amid the constant swarms of superhero flicks for all ages, but it should get at least a couple weeks of fair performance just because the rangers are fun. Anyone else watched any of Twitch’s marathon of every last Power Rangers episode? Amazing to me that literally every year they’ve been making another 20-60 episodes since ’96.
    I had a good time watching MMPR on 90s afternoons or evenings, after favorite shows like That’s My Dog or Are You Afraid of the Dark?, etc. I assigned colors to each family member (I was Pink, mom was Yellow, forget which of my brothers and dad were Red/Green/Blue/Black; guess my uncle or someone was the spare. xD)
    To this day I wonder why in the world there was no Purple, Orange, Grey, or Brown Ranger. (I volunteer as one of the first two!)

  4. Josiah says:

    Just finished seeing the movie with my kids. We had a blast. It was fun, campy and relevant. Highly recommend.

  5. JC says:

    My wife and (44 and 43) enjoyed it brought us back to our child hood. We took our kids along as well. We used to watch MMPR together on Saturday mornings. When the song comes on as they go into battle “go go power rangers” the theater erupted in to applause and screams of excitement and joy. My kids had a smile from ear to ear as they looked at me. Real childhood emotions and memories could be seen in most everyone there. My kids are 20, 18 and 15. Some of those critics need to take the stick out of thier ass. It is a power ranger movie.

  6. Gary Canning says:

    Come on, guys…this movie was hot garbage! As a former huge fan of the series, who wanted nothing more than a good nostalgic time, I’m even more disappointed in how epically lazy and nonsensical this Krispy Kreme ad was. It follows in the tradition of the Transformers and TMNT franchises…if you don’t like those movies, steer clear.

    Fellow commentors: Please stop encouraging the MichaelBayization of our childhoods, and actually demand better of your shameless nostalgia cash-ins. These things will only start to be good once fanbase backlash causes them to actually try to please us with good (competent) stories, even though these are sure-thing properties. Just look at DC, who is at least trying to find a way to please their audience even though their stumbling films make billions.

    I sincerely hope the people here who claim to enjoy this film have actually had as good a time as they say, and that they’re not involved with the film or simply deluding themselves. Because
    man, I have not seen something as terrible as Power Rangers in a long time…TMNT 2 was bad, and Transformers 2 is definitely worse than that…but I’d watch either of those again over Power Rangers a second time. If films like this are supposed to make you feel like a kid again, it’s definitely had the opposite effect: I realize I don’t have time to waste on this kind of crap anymore.

  7. Wow I thought the movie was going to be like Fantastic Four (2015). I was wrong!.. It exceeded my expectations! A great movie and the atmosphere was amazing !

  8. The series was not animated. The writer’s contempt for the franchise shouldn’t lead to this kind of gaffe.

  9. jackie says:

    I am a 32 year female accountant who loved power rangers with every fiber of my being. This remake was the most amazing movie I’ve seen in years and the excitement i felt walking into the movie theater was an anticipation that has eluded me since childhood. I walked out of the theater wanting to see it at least 5 more times and be a ranger.

  10. Asante lewis says:

    With all due respect I’d have to disagree. This movie took the chance on an episodic campy story of the 90’s and made it relevant. It. Fits the mold for teens and gives young children a thing to aspire to. It promotes togetherness and friendship in a very divisive world. It’s all over the place because the kids have drastically different lives . Not sure how old you are but growing up with the rangers from birth and watching it now is. But it wascorny but great. This movie made me want to be a power ranger period. I’ve found that New fans have a hard time getting into the show much less having a reason to go out and check this movie . The movie was character driven about a completely diverse cast of teens learning about each other , getting a glimpse of bigger world that exists beyond angel grove and defeating evil . It’s a lot to do in 124 minutes , but they did a very good job . They of course had some
    Pit falls here and there especially with a rushed third act but hey I can resonate behind the kids collectively finding their purpose . The Movie atleast deserves a 7/10. Don’t discourage people from seeing a movie without broader perspective

  11. Adam Short says:

    I love how all the comments lefty here are about how uninformed this writer is and how she objectively got her facts wrong. Not only did she make bad subjective assessments clearly based on other peoples reviews as she is unfamiliar with the subject matter. SHE DIDN’T KNOW THE SHOW WASN’T A CARTOON! This writer is a loser and she shouldn’t be allowed to give her public statements to the people when she can be so clearly wrong and plagiarizing on such simple content. If Emily can’t write her own reviews based on content she’s seen, then she is trusting other reviewers words, not seeing the subject matter for herself and is therefore a compromised reported.
    *Boo this man, BOOOOOOOOO*

  12. Adam Short says:

    This person Emily who wrote this has no idea what she is even writing about. Her first paragraph goes on about this being a live version of an animated show, WRONG. The 90’s show this is based on was a live action show, so this Emily was so ignorant as to what she’s writing about that she can’t even be trusted to confer what medium the show used. Don’t read this useless nonsense from someone who has no idea what she’s talking about, complete ignoramus writer.

  13. Mike marges says:

    I honestly don’t know what you guys were watching but a teen the show was great but the movie 20yrs later was beyond amazing. I also think you need to do you damn research and facts. The way they did this movie indepth on each character and background story and how they became the power rangers was beyond well done.
    i think this is just a fake news site

  14. Ty Pulliam says:

    Um Power Rangers wasnt animated in the 90s after school. It was live action. #doyourresearch

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