Teen years are tough. That’s true if you’re a nerdy kid, possibly on the spectrum and definitely bullied, or if you’re an outsider struggling with her sexuality and unsympathetic parents. But it’s just as true for the popular kids, whether the cheerleader who takes gossip too far or the quarterback who jettisons a potential football career over a dumb joke.
Power Rangers gets this. It also gets the difference between sincerity and seriousness, and which approach is appropriate for a movie about giant robots and rock monsters. Best of all, it understands that silliness is the best way to make the tired CGI-fight-athon that ends every modern action movie actually entertaining.
Maybe Power Rangers isn’t quite a great film, but it comes a lot close than you’d expect. It looks good – better than it needs to – and its hyperactive, if inconsistent, editing finds comedy where you’d least expect it. The cast, with the dour exception of Bryan Cranston, commits: particularly RJ Cyler as said nerdy kid and Elizabeth Banks’ campy yet fearsome Rita Repulsa.
Most of all, Power Rangers works because it plays as It Gets Better: The Movie; sure, it sucks being a teenager, but also? It’s fucking awesome.