Kanye West’s “Power” runs beneath the latest trailer for Power Rangers that was just released today. Seven years ago, that song was put to brilliant use in a teaser for The Social Network, where West’s lyrics on vanity, arrogance and ambition in the modern age aligned perfectly with the themes in David Fincher’s treatise on the 21st-century social experience. Here, however, the only word the viewer is made to notice is “power,” because the heroes are “Power” Rangers, aren’t they? Ain’t that neat?
If you answered with a sincere “yes,” this new trailer just might be for you. In the span of a loud two-plus minutes, we see lots of new footage, except almost everything—like the aforementioned play on “power,” though using “play” here risks insulting the genuine spirit of exploration inherent to acts of play—seems marked by a creative laziness. The Rangers’ outsider status cribs from The Breakfast Club, the origin story is pure Chronicle, and the epic showdown between good and evil looks like an outtake from The Man of Steel featuring Loki’s sister as the Big Bad. In other words, the stuff we see seems cobbled together from so many other, already rather generic films, and while pastiche can produce some pretty snazzy results, it only works when the old is reconfigured or refurbished in an innovative way.
Of course, just because the trailer looks like old hat doesn’t mean the actual movie will be. Who knows, maybe Power Rangers, due out March 24, will be a superhero genre game-changer the likes of which the world has never seen. “It’s morphing time,” the Red Ranger says at one point, to the certain delight of fans all over the world. Let’s hope this pronouncement applies to the film itself, pointing to creative transformation rather than the stagnation that the trailer embodies. See for yourself above.