Power Rangers, Lionsgate’s Mighty Morphin’ silver screen reboot, is back with a second trailer to tide us over until March. We get a closer look at some of the footage from the first go around, plus some healthy additions that give us some room to let our imaginations run wild. One thing is for sure: the names might be the same, but these are not the Rangers from our childhood. There are callsback to the original series for sure, but everything we see and experience in this new trailer is carving out uncharted territory for the old fandom to explore and to hook new fans for the first time.
Directed by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac), we get to see an ensemble cast of teenage youths in a way that the franchise has never shown them before. These kids listen to Kanye. Even Rita Repulsa played by Elizabeth Banks has a complete makeover, on the inside and out. And tonally, this version of the Power Rangers is clearly much more serious than what most of us remember.
Let’s take a closer look at some things that we saw in this trailer and highlight exactly why they are, or will be, important in how this movie plays out.
This isn’t your childhood MMPR
This is something that Lionsgate is driving home throughout the entirety of the trailer’s two minutes and 21 seconds. Billy is dropping cuss words that would’ve made him blush and cover his ears back in the ’90s, Jason and Kimberly are making out in secret, and Trini’s presented with a drug test pee cup way too casually for it to have been the first time. These are clearly a more troubled version of the Rangers crew, with a dynamic reminiscent of The Breakfast Club. Kimberly even says it outright at the beginning of the trailer, in case you didn’t get it: “We’re all screw-ups“. These are not the martial arts class taking high school kids who hang out at their local rec center and drink milkshakes. And that presents an entirely new dynamic to the story, with way more room for grey area when it comes to how these actors interact with each other, and their newfound abilities.
The power’s in the coins, not the suits
In the original Power Rangers series and movie, it wasn’t until after they morphed that the gang was granted the super strength and speed that made it possible to do their thing… but that’s not the case this time around. Jason is breaking sinks. Billy handed out a whooping to his former bully in the last trailer. And the Rangers are jumping across extremely long distances while they’re still in plain clothes.
This may have something to do with the conventions that Hollywood has established for superheroes (Peter Parker doesn’t lose his powers when he takes off the Spider-Man suit, and Superman doesn’t need a cape to fly). This latest Power Rangers trailer paints a comic book origin story picture that many of us are all too familiar with already, and the fact that it’s showing up in Power Rangers really reinforces how seriously this movie is taking character development. Just like with any change in life, there are some growing pains and personal discovery going on here – things that we did not get to see the first time around in 1995, when the original five Rangers decided that skydiving out of an airplane like bosses was normal public behavior for regular teenagers in high school.
Our first look at the all new Zordon
The days of that cylinder full of cloudy mist and a face hovering in the middle are gone – Bryan Cranston’s Zordon gets a whole wall now! And instead of being housed inside of a glass like structure, his face pops out as an indent in a living, breathing, alien LEGO wall. He’s still here as a guide to give the Rangers all of the pertinent information that they need to save humanity and all that fun stuff. But this time Zordon is doing it in style, inside of his spaceship underwater, with all manner of extremely advanced technology, oscillating platforms, and super bright LED lights. And it seems like he’s even going to give them at least a little bit of training before he tosses them back out into the world, which is nice (though those holograms are tougher than they look).
Alpha is still Alpha
When we all saw the images with the changes to Alpha’s appearance, it definitely raised more than a few eyebrows. Even if the robot assistant slash baby sitter to Angel Grove’s most important after-school club was going to be voiced by the talented Bill Hader, if the look didn’t work, what more could really be done? But after seeing him pop out and hurl just one unintended, filterless insult, the character sell himself. Alpha is still Alpha, and in the context of this sci-fi heavy, traditional alien technology themed Power Rangers his new look honestly makes a lot of sense stylistically. We should definitely be able to expect a lot of one liners and comedic zingers to come from Alpha at all the right times when Power Rangers hits theaters.
The ashy-faced clay men covered in silver spandex from the early days of Power Rangers are no longer with us. And in their place is what looks like a set of minions that are worth the fear that we were intended to receive from the original Putty. These almost faceless automaton-like rock-based creatures are bigger in height and width than the Putty of old – and it seems like they hit harder, too. Also, these guys are much more fast and loose when it comes to physical construction. The first Putty were as humanoid as a monster could probably get, whereas the new and improved version have all sorts of limbs going on. It looks like they are literally pieces of rock and other various junk held together by the power of some sort of alien magic and nothing else.
We got to take our first gander at Rita Repulsa in action in the first trailer, but this second one gives the Power Rangers’ power-hungry nemesis even more screen time. We get to see her wielding a staff, which was the original Rita’s weapon of choice, but in this Power Rangers, it’s the 24 karat magic edition. Not much else of the first iteration of Rita exists in this character, and her outfit has sparked wide speculation that she may have previously been a Power Ranger herself.
One thing is clear, though: this Rita looks much more menacing. She’s not in a remote location somewhere rolling Putty men into existence. She’s at your house ready to choke you out. Or she’s out in the middle of traffic, literally ripping the street out of the earth. And we can now be sure that there’s going to be a moment where she catches the new Rangers slipping and drops down from the sky with an epic ground pound that sends them all flying into the air – because that what Power Rangers do when they’re hurt.
Green Ranger spoiler?
It’s pretty difficult to ignore the Tommy sized elephant in the room, as Rita’s green and gold main costume and its similarities to the Power Rangers’ outfits (specifically, the Green Ranger) can’t just be a coincidence. In one brief shot we see Rita in an all black outfit that’s eerily reminiscent of Enchantress in Suicide Squad – but is that just an innocent costume change or a misguided attempt to fit in with other people in plain clothes? Or is it because there’s a point in the movie where the power of the Green Ranger is a separate entity from Rita Repulsa entirely? We might have to wait until Power Rangers arrives in theaters to find out, but it’s a safe bet to assume that something is going on there.
Make my monster grow!
Here’s one thing that’s carried over from all of the other iterations of the Power Rangers franchise: somehow, some way, villains are still getting super sized so that the Rangers have a reason to arm up and hop into their Zords. In this trailer we see Goldar all grown up. The character has had a complete makeover, removing his monster face and replacing it with a formless kind of nothing. He’s also solid gold, instead of his original costume situation, which was a bit more polished gold armor. In the clips that we saw he looks like a ridiculously large gold nugget carved into some semblance of the old Goldar, with wings in tow.
The Zords are here! We’ve seen some images of the toy versions, and bits and pieces sticking out of the shadows in posters, but now we get our first look at them out in the light and in action. One thing that’s immediately noticeable is that these Zords are equipped with weapons that are not exactly in line with the sensibilities of the original series. The Tyrannosaurus, specifically, looks like it has twin machine guns sitting on its shoulders, and Jason has no issue holding down the trigger and letting the ammo fly. At least Kimberly’s Pterodactyl shoots ambiguously colored pink plasma lasers, but it’s clear that all of the Zords we saw possess a much more visceral and physically dangerous quality to them than fans might be used to.
We don’t get to see anything that resembles the actual full on MegaZord transformation that Power Rangers is known for at the critical moments of its boss battles. But we do get to see the MegaZord itself in the final moments of the trailer. Although, this version of the mech looks much more like something you’d expect to see in a Michael Bay Transformers flick than anything else – and it’s way too early to say if that’s a good or bad thing. But after the MegaZord rises up from taking a knee just out of sight behind a building we do get to see just one frame of action that suggests Jason, as usual, is the main operator the behemoth. He throws just one straight punch directly into giant Goldar’s jaw before the trailer swiftly ends.
Let us know your favorite moments and what theories you were able to make from seeing the Power Rangers second trailer.