The New Power Rangers Movie Is A Win For Representation
When I heard they were making a new Power Rangers movie, I wasn’t interested. (This is coming from someone who was dressing up as a ranger into her teens, too.)
Then last week’s announcement that the Power Rangers movie featured a canon LGTBQ+ Yellow Ranger got me excited about seeing it (word up for confused queer superteens!). After checking it out for myself, I’m now 100% back on the Power Rangers train.
Everyone’s calling this the Power Rangers Breakfast Club, and I’m down with that. Most of the characters literally meet in detention, and the movie is framed a lot like TBC – it gave me a laugh, in a good way.
The Power Rangers movie was awesome as far as representation. We got Rangers of all kinds, POC background characters, non-neurotypical characters, queer characters, happy families, unhappy families – it’s not perfect, but it’s so much better than nearly everything else in Hollywood right now.
Here’s your rundown on the new Power Rangers:
- Jason, the Red Ranger: Starts out as a big jock-type guy who is destroying his own future in order to get out from under the crushing weight of his dad’s expectations. He’s loyal to a fault and quick to stand up for others. He’s nice, but a little testosterone-fueled; still, he owns up to his mistakes. Jason is also the only white dude on the whole team!
- Kimberly, the Pink Ranger: Played by a British actress who’s half Indian, it’s hard to tell if Kimberly is meant to share that heritage. We do see that the bullying she experiences from her cheerleader friends turns out to be payback for something kind of awful that she did to her friend. She’s basically all of us who’ve done something dumb out of spite, then had to face the consequences.
- Billy, the Blue Ranger: Okay, how can you not love that the Blue Ranger is black and “on the spectrum” as he puts it? Billy is the heart of this team, but not in a “we pity this dude” kind of way. More, he’s the one who – although he has trouble connecting with anyone himself – somehow connects everyone together. No one tries to patronize him or exclude him for being different. Billy was also the one who found the cave and was the first to morph, because he’s awesome like that.
- Trini, the Yellow Ranger: Trini is Latina, at least if we go by the clues in the show and the actress chosen to play her. She’s also the very first canon-confirmed queer superhero in a major Hollywood film. (YOU HAD YOUR SHOT, DEADPOOL!). Better yet, the movie didn’t make her sexuality the biggest or even the most interesting thing about her. She didn’t end up having a “power moment” where she faced down her parents and told them she thought she was into girls. Trini was just a confused teenager awkwardly coming out to her friends around a campfire, and I thought it was realistic that she didn’t want to put a label on herself.
- Zach, the Black Ranger: Was anyone else delighted that Zach didn’t automatically know martial arts? He was an active dude, but he seemed to have about the same fighting skills as everyone else. I had major respect for how he knocked off his constant low-level flirting with Trini when he found out that she wasn’t straight. His fears about his chronically (terminally?) ill mother about ripped my heart out, too.
What an incredible group of Rangers. I love them all over again.
In case you missed it, there was something kind of sad about Rita Repulsa (yeah, I did like her weird new incarnation) not recognizing the Megazord. That means she and Zordon’s Ranger team were never close enough to form the Megazord, not even once.
There are a few minor annoyances in this Power Rangers movie – for instance, Goldar was a wee tad silly. How did stabbing him kill him when he’s made entirely of gold? The CG was muddy to the point where I wasn’t sure what the Black and Blue Zords were supposed to be without Googling them (same as childhood, in case you were curious). The colors should definitely have been brightened a little.
Also, I’m not sure why Kimberly got that little satisfaction moment from scaring the “mean cheerleaders”. Uh, hey Kim, you were the one in the wrong there. Maybe they were harsh too, but you were the one sending a compromising picture of a friend to her boyfriend. I would rather have seen her save them the way Jason saved his dad.
From the ending, it looks like we might get a sequel, and it could have Tommy in it, which is awesome! I’ll be a little sad to see Jason step out of his hard-learned leader role to make way for the Green Ranger. (Wait, does this mean Rita was the team leader before?) It will be cool to see how they get the green coin from Rita; I could have sworn I saw her take it to space.
Have you seen the new Power Rangers movie? What did you think? Share your thoughts in our comment section below!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and game enthusiast. She can talk fandom in five languages, and her proudest nerd moment so far was presenting original research titled “Gender, Sex, and Werewolves” at an international anthropological conference. Her first game, None For Me, is due out from Calico Games early next year.