I remember “Power Rangers” well. It was the cool TV show on when I was a kid in the ’90s, so I have many fond memories of watching the show after school before my mom nudged me to do my homework. Well, now there’s a “Power Rangers” movie out in theaters today in the U.S. It will be a nostalgic ride for millennials like me, but will also introduce a whole new set of kids into the sci-fi fantasy world.
If you’re not familiar with “Power Rangers,” here’s the gist: It focuses on a crime-fighting group of five teens, Jason, Bill, Kimberly, Trini and Zack, who gain superhuman powers when they find an alien ship. The movie, which is rated PG-13, is perfect for teens who love Marvel and DC movies, like “The Avengers.” Jewish actress Elizabeth Banks stars as the villain Repulsa, while “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston serves as the Power Rangers’ mentor Zordon.
But the movie is also much more than just an action flick meant to entertain. It’s also an inclusive and diverse story that breaks down cultural stereotypes and boundaries. For instance, Trini the Yellow Ranger is the first LGBTQ protagonist in a mainstream superhero movie history, according to Hollywood Reporter, which is crazy to think about. Her character was not originally identified as LGBTQ in the TV show, so this is a new feature.
Also, Billy the Blue Ranger has autism, which is also a new rewrite, a big step in representation for kids with special needs and disabilities–as there are hardly any movies with characters that have autism.
Director Dean Israelite told Hollywood Reporter why this is such a big deal:
“I think what’s great about that scene and what that scene propels for the rest of the movie is, ‘That’s OK.’ The movie is saying, ‘That’s OK,’ and all of the kids have to own who they are and find their tribe.”
He also told ScreenRant:
“I knew that it was my job to show, you know, that people that are on the spectrum are just regular people.”
It’s exciting to live in a time where mainstream movies and TV are pushing the boundaries–because we need better representation of what people are really like, and what we all struggle with. Kids and teens shouldn’t grow up ashamed of who they are.