As we wait to see what shape the Power Rangers television franchise takes next, it might be fun to have a look back on one of the brand’s recent offerings. The title about a group of young heroes tasked with defending the world from evil in multi-colored outfits has been molded onto many grafts over the years. From the surprising success of the comics by publisher BOOM! Studios to the continued push for more fresh content on the Power Rangers Legacy Wars mobile game, fans new and old have had a lot to sink their teeth into, depending on their preferred niche. Chief among them was the 2017 film that arrived with far too little fanfare not to be swallowed up by the Disney adaptations, Marvel super-smashers, and generally flashy spectacle flicks all screaming for the attention of moviegoers around the same time. What was a film like Power Rangers supposed to do with all that madness?
Despite its rocky path toward recognition, one thing became a common theme among casual cinema-dwellers after finally seeing the film: Surprise. Many weren’t expecting what they got. The reputation that followed this wacky show had perhaps been both a blessing and a curse, which some members of the audience found difficult to figure out. Others simply couldn’t get past preconceptions from bad experiences with the show itself, or what they had always heard about it. The episodes airing on Nickelodeon at the time weren’t quite representing the franchise’s potential to the max, so that hardly would have helped those in this category.
Which brings us to Film Joy, whose mission is to examine movies through reviews, reactions, and other features that celebrate the art form, warts and all. Within their menu of interesting film discussions is a series called Deep Dive, in which a crew gathers around the TV to watch a title from start to finish, sharing thoughts along the way and speaking candidly about the experience afterward, with whatever insights might have been gleaned from the viewing. Basically, it’s Movie Night with friends, recorded and edited for your pleasure.
It’s worth noting that the movies screened for Deep Dive often fit into the category of bad, or obscure, or obscurely bad. There are cult classics, celebrated equally for their badness as for their odd place in cinema history. Green Lantern, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc. One would expect the participants to find them charmingly kitschy, and spectacular fodder for movie nerd jokes and internet meme necromancy. But, like a pool of gold rising into a towering behemoth, Lionsgate’s take on the Power Rangers mythos had a somewhat different effect on the gentle viewers of Film Joy. Check em out.
Reactions like these aren’t as unique as some might have imagined. If you keep your ear to the ground, you’ll hear the rumblings of newcomers still discovering the gems found in the 2017 film.
Which begs the question: What happened? Why didn’t this thing get seen by more people when it counted most? Would it have helped significantly if other aspects of the franchise overall had a stronger creative output (I’m looking at you, Power Rangers Ninja Steel)? Surely that alone wouldn’t have had the social reach needed to boost this thing’s popularity in the general zeitgeist, but it wouldn’t have hurt to take a different approach. Had it released at the right time, with the best marketing? Has the Power Rangers name not carried far enough above the rising waters of Avengers and Jedi and Beauties and Beasts to count as worthwhile entertainment? If so, we’d better get on changing the narrative, one piece at a time, if we have to. No point in forming the Megazord if the Flamingo Zord that was meant to be the left leg is still on the fritz. Fix it, bruh!
Until then, we can count our blessings and savor all the joys of what we’ve got, as we wait for the next addition to this legacy of power.