Power Rangers has proven to be a hit with audiences, enjoying an impressive opening weekend at the box office, where it pulled in more than $40 million. One of the main points raised in reviews of the movie has been how well-rounded the five central characters are, giving a clear look at the kids behind the masks, as it were.
Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed that in the first Power Rangers trailer released, there was a kiss shared between Jason, the Red Ranger (Dacre Montgomery) and Kimberly, the Pink Ranger (Naomi Scott). However, that scene was cut from the full movie. Now we have an official explanation for why that portion of the Jason/Kimberly exchange (which is still in the movie) didn’t make the theatrical cut.
Director Dean Israelite revealed to EW that the reason it was omitted was because no one liked it in test screenings:
“Nobody liked the kiss. It’s one of those rare times in a preview when something is so unanimous.”
The kiss originally came when Kimberly climbs into Jason’s room at night to confess to her cyber-bullying past. Her confession is heartfelt, and Jason’s response is mature and caring. Viewers in previews felt that the sincerity of the moment was undermined by the kiss, making the moment about the romance instead of Kimberly coming to terms with her actions. Furthermore, Israelite adds that when he reviewed the situation, he found he wholeheartedly agreed with the audience reaction:
“For that scene to culminate in some kind of romantic moment between her and Jason undermines her character and feels a little old-fashioned and becomes a movie trope of the female lead there to support some kind of male arc. I think it was actually kind of lovely that the audience pushed so hard against that, and the moment we took it out, everybody liked Kimberly way more and felt she was much stronger, and I loved that we got that reaction.
“I loved that we did it, because my intention was never to have a female character try and be there for the male’s arc. It was always that she needed to stand independent of him.”
Though regular audiences haven’t seen the movie with the kiss in it, it’s pretty easy to realize that the moment would have indeed been something else entirely had the kiss remained. Power Rangers is made all the better because of its lack of romance; it gives us time to know and understand these characters as individuals not connected with each other. In time, we come to think of them as a cohesive unit of Rangers.
Going forward, with five more movies lined up, it’s to be expected that Power Rangers will build a romantic storyline at some point; possibly more than one, given that there’s five teenagers as the central characters, with one more – the Green Ranger, Tommy Oliver – lined up. If Power Rangers does decide to go down that route, though, it’s good to know that Israelite is prepared to listen to audience’s reactions and let these characters stand on their own before they become tied to somebody else.