Believe it or not: The Power Rangers defied the naysayersApril 07, 2017

"Saban's Power Rangers" may not be the brightest prospect in Lionsgate Film's lineup for this year. It was a successful TV series two decades ago, and reintroducing the show to a younger audience may be a bad idea. It reveled on campy silliness, and there won't be any place for it in this day and age. The phenomenal success of Marvel Films showed that an action motion picture on superheroes must be able to maintain a precarious balance of seriousness and goofy fun. There was another thing, though. 20th Century Fox adapted the series to the big screen in 1995, and it was a box-office failure. A sequel followed, which turned into another bomb. The Lionsgate honchos did their assignment before giving the green light, though.

The latest motion picture in the Power Rangers franchise debuted at $40.3 million after its March 24 opening, finishing second behind Disney's "Beauty and the Beast". The box-office gross was almost equal to the budget at the moment, which meant that the film would break even. Lionsgate couldn't hope for a better outcome. There was no doubt that the current Power Rangers looked like a junior counterpart of superheroes, but there was more than would meet the eye. These were the five things that turned "Power Rangers" into the biggest surprise this spring:

The Power Rangers are a bunch of teenage outcasts. Teenage moviegoers would relate to it while older viewers could reminisce their younger years. It won't be hard to sympathize with a football player who threw away his chance for a college scholarship after committing a prank at school. The most popular figure in high school ended up in detention class every Saturday, and he wanted redemption. A member of an alpha female group was dropped off like a hot potato. (Some viewers would recall the Mean Girls.) Another teenage girl turned out to be a loner because she refused to conform to the expectations of her parents. You weren't a teen if you haven't experienced similar situations. And there would be more to it.

Lionsgate didn't send a strong message to Donald Trump. Black Ranger was a Chinese teenager living in a trailer with his sick mother while Blue Ranger was black and autistic. Yellow Ranger questioned her sexual orientation, and some moviegoers would label her right away. They forgot that teenage years would be a phase. Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney, and Kieran Mulroney, who were responsible for the story, came up with an idea of a diverse group who hardly knew each other. If not for detention.

"The Powers Rangers" stands up for the bullying victims. Billy Cranston (a. k .a. Blue Ranger) was bullied by a white guy with curly hair, but he was saved by Jason Scott (a. k. a. Red Ranger). Trini Kwan (a. k. a. Yellow Ranger) was never given a breathing space by her helicopter mom. Their alter-ego gave them renewed confidence. In Billy's case, his extraordinary strength finally gave his bully a dose of his own medicine. And all the geeks, nerds, and outsiders in school huddled around him. The scene may be too good to be true, but there was a brief moment of empowerment.

Lionsgate would gamble on an unknown cast. Dacre Montgomery, who played Red Ranger, was a native or Perth. Naomi Scott, who was Pink Ranger, was the latest English actress who made an Atlantic crossover. Ludi Lin, also known as Black Ranger, as a Chinese-Canadian actor. They were virtual unknowns in Hollywood, and the producers have not much to lose in this project. It was worth a gamble.

"The Power Rangers" may be too serious at times, but it was still a ride like no other. Director Dean Israelite was thinking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe during production, and the mid-end credits scene confirmed it. (Hint: Tommy Oliver) As for that moment of campy silliness, check out Rita Repulsa, the Rangers' nemesis, listening to Destiny Child's "Survivor" while munching on Krispy Kreme. It was amusing for a second or two.

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