My 2019 awards eligible stories

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Hello there, world. This is the first time I write one of these posts (as I have only been nominated once for an award and I wasn’t the one promoting it). But given that this was a seminal year for me as a writer, it was due time to create one. So here there are my award-eligible stories for 2019. Here are in order of length.



518349ZKw8L“Tempest Blades: The Withered King.” Shadow Dragon Press. August 2019. Approx. 97,500 words.

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Buy it from Barnes & Noble:

Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction

What’s about? Fionn thought that his days as a warrior were over. Gaby & Alex never expected to become heroes. Now they must join forces to stop an ancient evil. In a world where magic and science intermingle, anything is possible. Including second chances.

What others have said about it:

“An action-packed blend of magic and mayhem, sword and sorcery, science fiction and fantasy. The book is full of entertaining characters, has a sense of humor and adventure, and there’s a crackling video-game vibe added for good measure.” —Maria Haskins, author, and B&N Blogger

“A glorious sci-fi adventure for any reader of the fandom of the classic video game ‘Soul Blade'” —Booklist

“Like Final Fantasy meets Dungeons & Dragons! An action-packed sci-fantasy adventure that fans of the genre will love! Victoria delivers a lively story that feels like a video game, with plenty of heart and humor along the way. The characters are interesting, the action keeps you turning the pages, the concepts are fascinating! This is good stuff! The one-liners are killer, too!”Diane Morrison, Author of the “Wyrd West Chronicles” & Manager of the official SFWA YouTube channel

“It was a fun, fast book, full of action beats. It was also surprisingly introspective and deep. As entertaining as it was, this is ultimately a book about second chances. I found it highly enjoyable.”Jodie Crump. Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

“It’s a science fantasy epic that bursts with originality. It is new, it is fresh, and it makes the imagination soar. In short, this is not something you’ve read before.”Leo McBride at Altered Instinct

“There’s a some portals and a spaceship, a lizard pilot dude and a good deal of magick, a 133 yr old father-mentor guy and lottsa swords. A total mashup spanning the spacepunk, fantasy, scifi, and LitRPG genres, The Withered King looks to surprise you on every page…

…The Withered King is an impressive debut that any reader of speculative fiction should enjoy.”Paul at Paul’s Picks



Tales of Magic and Destiny cover“Asherah’s Pilgrimage.” in the anthology Tales of Magic & Destiny (Inklings Press). Edited by Leo McBride & Rob Edwards. July  2019. Approx. 9,100 words.

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Genre(s): Fantasy

What’s about? A girl, the first with the gift of magic, has to step up and lead her people into a new world in finding a place to settle. But the perilous journey will mean for the freefolk to leave behind what remains of their old ways. And for Asherah to succeed, it will mean sacrificing everything she is and find her new place in the world.

What others have said about it:

“A story that has high-stakes and drama, personal courage and friendship, action and introspection, humour and pathos. For me, it captures the essence of what it is to be an individual overcoming their own limitations to achieve something that really matters.”  E.M. Swift-Hook at Working Title.

“…I loved the image of the freefolk and they seemed so intriguing and I loved the little glimpses of the world they left behind. I loved how the story grew to its close and I absolutely wasn’t ready for this one to end. The battle in the maze had some really great imagery. I haven’t read this one a second time yet (because I just read it this afternoon on my lunch break!) but I will definitely give it a second read.”Reviewer at Amazon.

Short Stories


51yj0nKMCsL._SY346_“No-Sell.” in the anthology Gunsmoke and Dragonfire. Edited by Diane Morrison. March  2019. Approx. 4,800 words.

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Genre(s): Fantasy Western

What’s about? In a world where magic delayed the invention of firearms, an ex-spellslinger has taken up a career as a traveling sales being of a newfangled weapon called a “rifle”… and he has a few tricks under his coat.

What others have said about it:

“I also enjoyed No-Sell, from Ricardo Victoria, taking the theme and running with it, for in a Wild West world where magic is commonplace, what use is a gun? And what would the equivalent of a snake-oil salesman do with one if he had one?”Leo McBride at Altered Instinct.

““No-Sell” by Ricardo Victoria was a fun story that reminded me very much of Dragonheart, but in a Western setting and blending in a bit of Aztec mythology. I really enjoyed the slow reveal on this story and the twist at the end.”Geoff Habiger.


41sHL1Kc1rL“Good Boys.” in the anthology Gods of Clay: A Sci Fi Roundtable Anthology. Edited by Eric Michael Craig & Ducky Smith. February 2019. Approx. 4,800 words.

Buy it from Amazon:

Genre(s): Science Fiction

What’s about? In the distant future, uplifted dogs and octopuses sent a mission back to a legendary place, a ‘lost’ planet, to find about a strange signal sent by their long-gone creators. The secrets they find there, the ancient enemies they will encounter, will shake their beliefs and their future.

Updates on life and my novel

I haven’t updated the blog in more than a month. As usual, life has been hectic. I got twice sick -once with a cold, another with a stomach flu-. I’m in the last stages of my research project at my day job -with very interesting results- and need to prepare a conference presentation about it.

And of course, I’ve been writing and promoting said writing. It takes time. In 2 days, a new Inklings anthology will be released: “Tales of Magic & Destiny“, with a story of mine that links with Tempest Blades.

And in a month and a half, “Tempest Blades: The Withered King” will be released into the wider world with the hope that people like it. So far, the book has gotten great advanced reviews. Some are already available at the Goodreads page for the book, another is in the Booklist website, and a couple are at the reviewers’ respective blogs, here at Altered Instinct and at Witty & Sarcastic Bookclub. There is hope for more reviews coming in the following days. And with luck, they will be good.

Meanwhile, I’ve been taking a  few lines from each review to use in these images (the Alex one still has room for more lines though):

Reviews FionnReviews GabyReviews Alex

And working in the sequel of Tempest Blades. I already have the prologue and the epilogue done. I just need to write the middle part. Easy! *sarcasm*.

So yeah, it has been a couple of tiring but fruitful months. I just need a holiday break to take it all in.

My 25 favorite moments from Game of Thrones


I have made no secret that Game of Thrones is my all-time favorite tv show. I loved every second of the final season -despite a few flaws that could have been fixed by adding an episode or two-. I have plenty of ideas and theories about its finale. And plenty of opinions about its narrative influence. But while I put all of that in order inside my head, right now I want to talk about my favorite moments of the show. I was planning a Top Ten list, but as my wife -another big fan of the show- pointed out, ten is a limited number. So I will just list the moments as they come to mind, finishing with Number 1. This is a personal list, so it might not fit with yours (my wife and I disagree with some of them). And I’m talking about my favorite ones, not necessarily the most shocking, or story changing ones. And in a series as long as kick ass as this one, this list probably will be missing several. But hey, no list is perfect.

25. The Library. If you are a bookworm, like me, the sight of the Citadel’s library is a nerdgasm. And the gyroscope.

24.  The Loot Train Assault. The sheer scope of the scene, the destruction, the cinematograpgy. All to show us what a terryfing force has Dany at her command. And we finally see the Dothraki in full action.

23. Now we know what Pod did. Don’t say anything, just listen.

22. Bronn saves Jaime.

Let’s face it, Bronn is an asshole. A backstabbing asshole at that. One that finally got what he wanted even if he didn’t deserve it. But from time to time, he showed that he was actually a loyal friend, no money involved.

21. Dany to the rescue. The sacrifice that came from this scene was high, but you can’t deny that this scenen should be the prime example of what ‘Big Damn Heroes’ moment is. Also you can see exactly the moment Jon fell for her.

20. Arya vs. Termiwaif. This scene could give any of Jason Bourne’s sequences a run for its money. This is when Arya decides that enough is enough. It’s frenetic, messy and all what a good chase should be.

19. Clegane Bowl. The fight in the making since the first episode, beautifully framed against Drogon/Dany’s path of destruction. It shows the realm culmination of those that embark in a vengeance quest: mutually assured destruction. Farewell Sandor, you were a hero.

18. Arya: Iron Chef edition. Vengeance is a dish served cold. Or in this case, a pastry made of your enemy’s children. This signaled the ascendancy of the Starks to right the wrongs the rest of the realm committed against them. And Arya finally avenges her mother, brother, sister in law and unborn nephew.

17. Tywin doesn’t shit gold. My only complain, if any, of this scene, is that is not longer. Charles Dance and Peter Dinklage sharing scenes was always a delight. But this parting shot not only changed Westeros irremediably, but it was also a true duel between thespians.

16. Tywin sends to sleep the king without supper. Tywing was an awful father and an even worse human being. But you can’t deny that it takes a special kind of man to send a psychopathic child king to bed without supper and not only live to tell the tale, but continue scheming as if nothing had happened while dismantling his family with well-placed put-downs. If you need something to establish who Tywin is, this scene is a good option.

15. Jaime knights Brienne. If you didn’t cry with this scene, there is something wrong with you. It’s the culmination and just reward for the only character that truly embodies the ideals of chivalry. If someone deserves to be the first female Ser of Westeros is Brienne. She is basically Galahad.

14. The whole Castle Black fight. This scene gives a run for its money to the one-shot scene of the first ‘Avengers’. And the one that established Jon as a bona-fine one man army.

13. Jon stupidily charges into Battle. Yes, Jon is pretty stupid at times. But no one can deny that a) you would do the same stupid thing if your family had been in Rickon’s position and b) it is an awesome sight to behold. This man earned his bannermen’s loyalty by being ballsy.

12. Sansa feeds Ramsay to the hounds. I’m glad it was Sansa the one that did the deed. This was a declaration from her that she was done being the ‘little bird’ and is now the ‘Red Wolf’, and future Queen. And the North was better for that.

11. Arya executes Littlefinger. After subjecting the realm and the Starks to his chaotic designs and power plays, Baelish finally finds a rival he can’t beat through trickery or sweet words: the combined smarts, clairvoyance and cold blood of the Stark’s siblings.

10.  Jon beats the crap out of Ramsay. There is not much to say to this, except that it was cathartic. If any, Ramsay got off lightly. It released all the anger the Starks had bottled up after being mistreated and betrayal, in the strong fist of Jon Snow.

9. Dany’s final speech. Say what you want about the ultimate twist. But you can’t deny that from the moment she walked in -with Drogon’s wings at her back- to the moment she started to give his spine chilling speech in TWO different languages. Tyrion is often considered the best talker of the show. But I say that Dany is way better. She could command an army to the gates of Hell and make them win just by the strength of her oratory skills. If she was destined to be the final villain, she made a fine damn good villain.

8. Tyrion plays the Game. Tyrion has always been one of the cleverest men on the room -when he is not blinded by love- and proving that he is an apt player at the Game, right after arriving at King’s Landing, by tricking the Small Council is proof of that.

7. Tyrion calls out King’s Landing’s nobility bullshit. The trial was a sham, we all know. And to this day I don’t know who overplayed their hand, with calling Shae for testimony and pushing Tyrion to the edge, Tywin or Cersei. But Tyrion’s reply was cathartic and a proper exposition of why those nobles and courtiers sucked. How many of us wouldn’t wish to be able to tell off a lot of people?

6. Dracarys. This is the moment when Dany went, in the eyes of the audience and the whole Essos, from naive girl to astute conqueror, proving that if you want things done thoroughly, ask a woman to do it. It was also foreshadowing of what would come before, but at the time, as Tyrion recently put, felt good and we cheered on it because the victims were despicable people.

5. Cersei blows the Sept of Baelor. The whole sequence is a thing of beauty, narratively and cinematographically speaking. the score, as usual, sells it.  It’s visceral, well-planned revenge. The scene that put Cersei on the map as a big villain. But more important, like the one you should not trifle with if you don’t have a well-trained dragon on your side.

4. Jon kills a White Walker. My favorite fight of all the show. Jon proves that the seemingly unbeatable foe is actually beatable. The sheer rawness of the fight, the sound edit to put you in the shoes of a concussed Jon and the surprise of the clash makes it for me. It actually inspired a fight I wrote.

3. Jon is named ‘King in the North’. After so much struggle, the Starks are back at home (at least Jon & Sansa) and the North feel finally avenged and reunited. Won’t last, but seeing a bastard being raised as a king on his merits -even if Sansa actually did part of the job- while juxtaposing his true heritage is what fantasy is made of.

2. Arya kills the Night King. Unexpected twist aside, this scene had me the whole time standing, tense, almost bitting my nails. The build-up, accompanied by the score makes you stop breathing and the conclusion allows you to breathe again in relief. This scene not only injected me with adrenaline, but it also showed us that saving the world is a team effort.

 1. The final montage. This has always been a Stark show (pun intended), the rest were just there for the ride in a way. This is my favorite scene as it resonates on a personal level(I have an essay waiting to explain why). The score is beautiful and we say goodbye to the three Starks that changed the realm, hopefully for good. Jon in the True North with people that love him for who he is, Sansa leading an independent North,  and Arya exploring unknown seas. But while for us the story is finished, for them life continues and we can only speculate what will come next for them. My personal theory? Jon will become the new King-Beyond-the-Wall, establish an alliance with Winterfell (duh!) and live his days in search of  “some small measure of peace, that we all seek, and few of us ever find,” as narrated by Simon Graham in the Last Samurai.

Special mention: this scene, when Dany goes from hero to villain. You might not like how it happened, but you can’t deny Emilia Clarke’s powerful acting in these seconds. Without uttering a single word, just by facial expression in a scene without no one to react with and probably all CGI. Emilia says everything we need to know. The dragon has been awakened in full. And is a terrible sight to behold, especially from below. Emilia deserves an Emmy just for that.

So this is my list, but tell me, which ones are yours? Leave them in the comments.

Time to talk about ‘A Time of Need’

I haven’t done a book review before and certainly, this ain’t one. See, I have a peculiar relationship with this book and its author, as I was there bearing witness of its creation, the pains of editing, the search for a publisher and even the cover design travails. This book is like a nephew for me as I have the honor of calling his author, Brent A. Harris my friend. It

I have known Brent for the past decade since he and Leo McBride (pen name of my friend Stephen Hunt) made a habit of kicking my ass in Heroclix. With both of them, we created Inklings Press with the aim of polishing our craft as writers through short stories so one day we were ready to share our personal projects, out full-length novels with the world. That day is today for Brent.

A Time of Need, published by Insomnia, is an alternate history tale of the American Revolution. To put you in context of its quality, Brent was nominated this year for a Sidewise Award for the story ‘Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon‘ -of which I’m the coauthor, so yes I’m a nominated author as well-. This put us in the company of alternate history luminaries such as Bruce Sterling, Ken Liu and Kim Stanley Robinson. So yeah, when it comes to alternate history, Brent knows what he talking about. That kind of nomination is not given freely. You pay the iron price for it.

And he also knows enough of the American Revolution as to spin a tale of switched allegiances, unbridled ambition, and regrets that will make you look at that person in US history with a different look. I admit I’m not an expert on the time period, but that didn’t detract me from enjoying the book.

Yes, Washington and Arnold are greater than life figures that loom over the birth of a nation. And Brent does a sterling job humanizing them, giving them rational motivations for the decisions that in this flipped story changed the course of the conflict. But I believe that where he does his best is when he shows us the gritty face of war through the eyes of “secondary” characters. I quote unquote secondary because I think Stevens, one of the POV characters is as much better, more relatable one. It’s through his eyes that we see the struggles of the soldier to navigate an uncertain future while the big men take life and death decisions. It’s through his eyes that we see how history unfolds.

Now while I kinda subscribe to the ‘Great Men’ history outlook of some historians -as it makes easier to understand history- the reality and the more interesting part of the unfolding of history is to consider how the regular people faced it. History is not a fossil but a living thing created each day. And is this that Brent truly excels.

There is nuance, action, betrayal and passion, elements that make any novelization of history -real or alternate- a treat for the reader and the seed for a good tv drama *wink wink tv producers*.

It is frightening for an author, for any creator really, to release their baby for the first time into the wider world. If I were in Brent’s shoes I would be a mess, then again I’m anxious all the time. So dear reader, make us a small favor and support a new author. If you are an alternate history fan or a US history fan or even a Brent A. Harris fan -if those exist yet- then give A Time of Need a bit of your reading time.

Meanwhile, I will be bidding my time till I can kick Brent’s ass at Heroclix once and for all.

A review: Wonder Woman

As a fan of DC Comics from childhood to the date, getting a good DCEU movie has been a grueling process. I liked BvS, although it was a flawed movie. Suicide Squad was bad and Man of Steel has some controversial details. So Wonder Woman had a lot on her shoulders if this DC project was to succeed. Did it work?  Read only if you don’t mind SPOILERS.

I will put it this way, at risk of sounding like hyperbole: I haven’t seen such a great origin superhero movie since the first Iron Man movie and for DC, since the first Superman movie. Wonder Woman is so great that she alone has proved that this shared universe has hope. And it did it in the most logical way, by not talking about the shared universe, but concerning itself to tell a character story first and leave the shared universe out, aside from the framing device that amounts to less than 5 minutes of the total run. In that regard, WW does what the earlier installments of the MCU did (and have lost as they have become more formulaic and the universe more expansive), take the best elements of the characters long history (75 years for Wondy) and distillate them into a character study of growth and learning. Yes the background is the codifier for ‘War is Hell’, WWI which was the clash between old war strategies and new weaponry, but at the end of the day is the story of a heroine coming to terms with the fact

Yes the background is the codifier for ‘War is Hell’, WWI which was the clash between old war strategies and new weaponry, but at the end of the day is the story of a heroine coming to terms with the fact that she can’t save everyone as much as she wishes and there is not a single cause for the woes of humanity. But that doesn’t make humans irredeemable, just fallible. Thus the role of a heroine like Diana is to inspire humans to be better, to learn, grow and forgive. And the only way she can do that is by learning to do those things herself. In that way, she becomes better than her parents or her half-brother.

There are some obvious tropes and twists in the film that a keen-eyed writer can see a mile away (mainly the Godslayer weapon misdirection) but those don’t affect the story negatively since they don’t matter, this is the journey of Diana, not a journey to beat a villain. It is a personal journey of discovery. I would say that it is a ‘coming of age’ story enveloped in the superhero cape. It explains the jaded views of Diana during BvS (and how the introduction of Superman and Batman brings her out of her funk). The ending is a bit cheesy, 90’s level of cheesiness. But you know? That’s ok. Superheroes can be cheesy.

I loved the small details that added to the movie: the take on Diana’s origins (both classic & New 52), the foreshadowing of the New Gods, Bruce Wayne’s touching detail, Diana’s day job… all were perfect.

The real gem of the movie is Gal Gadot. She IS Wonder Woman as much as RDJR is Iron Man or Hugh Jackman is Wolverine (yes I know, Linda Carter is also WW). She embodies the character like a form fitting glove. The way she portrays Diana, from naive to jaded, from hopeful to in the midst of despair, from peace lover to the greatest Amazon warrior ever is a testament to her range and love for the character. Wonder Woman is a complex character as she predicates peace but is a mighty warrior. Gal Gadot makes you believe that there is no contradiction there.

Kudos to Chris Pine, he gave us a very human Steve Trevor, a regular man deciding to do the right thing even if he was scared beyond his guts. He conveyed several emotions with just his face. And his chemistry with Gal Gadot sold an otherwise common love relationship in a way that is heartbreaking in a good sense.

In general everyone did a great job (even if a few of the characters are paper thin). The movie took advantage of a great cast (of special note is Robin Wright as Antiope. She was incredible in the few scenes she appeared).

Music wise, the soundtrack does it work, the theme of Wonder Woman that premiered in BvS is back to great effect. I love the heavy guitar riff. It’s regal, action packed and iconic. Of the DCEU characters’ themes, is by far the best.

The only weak point of the movie is the photography in certain scenes (mostly some combat ones where the CGI a la 300 is too obvious). However, I doubt it is due Paty Jenkins but more an issue of the in photography style that DC and WB have chosen for the DCEU that owes more to Snyder’s vision. When Jenkins introduced her own style, it was magnificent like with Themiscyra.

One of the parameters I use to measure how much I like a story, in general, is what I call the ‘yearning factor’. Do you know when you finish a story and are left with this bittersweet feeling, a good melancholy vibe that makes you yearn for more stories about that particular character? The need for more to the point you imagine your own extra adventures? The feel to watch the movie over and over because it makes you warm inside? That’s what I call the yearning factor, the need to get more of the story. And WW has it in spades, which is good because given that it aims to be part of a shared universe, will serve an extra hook for watching more about this universe and her role in it.

All in all, this is one of the best superhero movies ever made. I know it sounds like hyperbole, but it is. And it is fitting that one of the members of the Trinity of DCU can claim such stake. If someone can teach Superman and Batman a few things is Wonder Woman. This is a movie about belief and trust, but in story and outside (the trust that WB gave to Patty Jenkins is something that Marvel should examine for once). And it is great that we have now a female lead superhero movie that also works as a positive role for many girls and women around the world. It was about time. And as usual, it had to be Wonder Woman the one to show the way, as it befits the ambassador of Themiscyra and demi-goddess of truth and peace.

Watch it if: you enjoy good superhero films, you like DC comics, kick ass women, Wondy or Gal Gadot. And if you still have hopes for the DCEU project.

Don’t watch it if: if you don’t like DC comics, you don’t like the in-house photography style, you don’t like female superheroes or like the idea of a female director showing how it is done. (but if that’s the case, you shouldn’t be reading this blog either).

Grade: 6 out of 5.

Desirability: I loved the film but my wife liked it so much that even she has agreed we put the preorder of the blu-ray as soon as is possible.

A review: Power Rangers

Disclaimer: these are my personal views and I admit sometimes I don’t have the best taste in movies. This is for fun so if you disagree let’s keep it civil. 🙂

This was the other film I watched during the weekend and I have to say that I’m not only pleasantly surprised but it has become my favorite iteration of the franchise (even above my all time favorites TimeForce and DinoThunder). I guess I loved it for very different and personal reasons compared to others. Go Go into the review.

This movie is a retelling of the first two episodes of the original Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, with hints and elements of other seasons (such as Alien Rangers, Zeo & DinoThunder). However, instead of copying beat by beat such story with all the included cliches, it is instead a character driven story. And what characters.

Long gone are the squeaky clean ‘teenagers with attitude’ that had nothing close to actual attitude of the original show (when Tommy ‘Ph.D. & the closer thing to Superman’ Oliver is your rebel of the group you can’t say they had an attitude). I get it that being a kids show at the time they had to give a certain image of the ideal teenager but truth is that it was hard to identify with them and their perfection.

Most of the times teenagers show attitude because they are dealing with the turmoil of growing up and finding who they are. And in this new movie, the core of the story is the struggles that the main cast, one of the most diverse in cinema today) is undergoing and how unexpected friendships and challenges help them grow:

Jason: (the only white member of the group) while he was seen as the town hero due his athletic prowess and now is seen as a pariah, he is hiding a deep-seated anger and frustration at being stuck in this town and having the expectations and wishes of his dad imposed on him. But is his sense of right which makes him grow into a real leader.

Kimberly: (who seems to be British-Asian based on the ethnicity of Naomi Scott) used to be the queen bitch of the school and a bully that has learned her lesson and is trying to be a better person and treat her friends well. She is also the other leader of the team.

Billy: (African-American) genius who is also on the autism spectrum who is not only the one that reunites the team but the true heart and soul of it. Probably the overall best character of the movie who finds friends that love him and help him.

Trini: (Latina) the outlier of the team, the ‘new girl’ at school (despite being there for almost a year and a half already) and who not only has no friends but is also struggling with her sexual preferences (it’s more than implied that she is Lesbian). A tough girl unwilling to be labeled and who despite being the more likely to betray the team is the one that asks the fundamental question: are we just friends or just Rangers?

Zack: (Asian-American) is probably the less developed character, a jokester l, reckless boy and a slacker that hides the real fear of waking up one day and find himself an orphan in a poor neighborhood due to his ill mother. But he is also the most insightful of the team and the one more willing to accept others as they are.

Kudos in particular to Dacre Montgomery, who in his first job made Jason a likable character and to RJ Cyler for his respectful portrayal of a person with autism. Ludi Lin is enjoyable as Zack both as the comic relief and as the one that finds the key to become a team. But the best, in my opinion, are Naomi Scott as Kimberly and Becky G as Trini who portrays kickass girls that you go beyond the ‘chick’ stereotype of these movies and become powerful leads on their own.

Worth to note is that this Zordon is not the venerable mentor of yore but a resented former ranger that grows as well into his teacher role. Rita, a mix between the original one, the original Green Ranger and Divatox goes from creepy to chewing the scenery with equal glee. Elizabeth Banks was pitch perfect here. And Alpha 5 for once is not annoying but a helpful sidekick. This movie is full of nuisance and it’s better for it.

Because in this movie, the value of true friendship is hammered not in a heavy handed way but in a process that goes along their training as Rangers. This is not just a team but fire forged friends that discover that to unlock their true power they have to be willing to trust and open themselves to others as well as accept others as they are. In these times of segregation, this movie has the über important message of friendship, diversity & tolerance.

As well, I liked is that there is no idiot ball here nor with the heroes or the villain. Everything makes sense. And it’s a highly realistic take on Power Rangers, with the reality of that kind of battle ensuing but without falling into the pitfalls of a DCEU movie. If you saw ‘Chronicle’ this film will give you pretty similar vibes but with a more hopeful note and the occasional, well-timed humor.

In terms of visual effects, the movie shows the budget during the third act, with the Zords and the armors. Goldar looks clumsy but after all, it’s made of molten gold. The best looking Zord is the Tyrannosaurus and luckily they don’t suffer from the horrible issues that make watching Transformers a torture. Everything in this film feels real but relatable and amicably without resorting to cheesiness.

Music wise, the soundtrack is serviceable and a good listen but lacks the power of the iconic theme tune, unless you count the mournful rendition of ‘Stand by me’ by the Bootstraps. Thus when it’s played during the climax my skin got goosebumps. That would be my only complaint. This was the time for a proper cover of the original theme (just not in dubstep, please).

 And that is why I loved the movie even if the second act crawls. Because it took a simpler franchise and turned it into a character study of relatable people. An example of tolerance and diversity. When I was a solitary kid I dreamed with that kind of friends and adventures. And for that this movie, despite its flaws is one I loved it.

Bottom line, this is a highly enjoyable movie even with the lag of the second act. It’s even better thanks to its diverse cast and diverse characters that feel like actual people with actual problems.

Watch it if: you are a fan of the concept of Power Rangers but you are open to reinterpretations, like character driven stories, want a Chronicle-like movie but lighter in tone and more helpful, you are looking for a film with a positive, accurate portrayal of race and sexual diversity as well as that of disabilities such as autism. Or if you are looking for the ‘Breakfast Club with superheroes’ stories about friendship.

Don’t watch it if: you are expecting a copy of the classic show, don’t have the patience to allow the characters to grow or are you expecting ridiculous poses. Or you don’t like superhero origin stories.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5.

Desirability: I will be buying the blu-ray when it comes out.