The following article was submitted by STALK.
For the first time ever, a Kamen Rider film finally hits our shores! Courtesy of TGV Cinemas and Purple Plan, Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Forever hit the silver screen on 30th March. I was lucky enough to catch the Special Premiere Screening, and below are a few thoughts, Easter Eggs and why you should watch this movie.
Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Forever is the final film to be released in the Heisei era of Japan. As most tokusatsu fans know, the Kamen Rider timeline is split into the Showa and Heisei era, with different production standards. As the final film, closing out 18 years of Heisei Rider history, this film is nothing but an all-out extravaganza for fans.
Plot-wise, this movie embraces and combines the time travel shenanigans of Kamen Rider Zi-O and the time travel shenanigans of Kamen Rider Den-O to bring you a typical time travel story (Wibbly-woblly, timey-wimey, anyone?) The main villain and member of the Time Jackers, Tid, attempts to undo 18 years of Rider history and create a world without Kamen Riders. To accomplish that, he captures a young boy, Shingo, setting the plot of the movie into motion.
The film, as a celebration of Kamen Rider’s Heisei history, unites all 20 Riders in a battle showcase. We had Riders fighting alongside each other, and more importantly, driving their Rider Machines to confront the final villain (they ARE Kamen Riders after all). The final battle is also a work of art, with each Rider delivering their signature Rider Kicks.
As the teamup movie between Build and Zi-O, Build and co. play a very important role in the movie, being the catalyst for most events that occurred. As usual, Toei is very generous in the fanservice with Banjou and Sento, especially the witty banter that’s a staple of the series. Sento’s role as a more matured Rider, and mentor to Zi-O also allows his character to shine yet remain important in this movie with too many characters. The interactions between Sougo and Sento is also something to watch, as the movie contrasts Sougo’s naivete with Sento’s mature outlook on the world.
Speaking of witty banter, the movie is full of inside jokes and full on Easter Eggs, especially those for long-time Rider fans. A notable one is a scene where someone off-handedly mentions Otoya from Kamen Rider Kiva to Kazumi Sawatari/ Kamen Rider Grease, a reference to both roles being played by the same actor, Kouhei Takeda. This little tidbit is just the tip of the iceberg, as the movie sprinkles references all throughout its runtime.
As shown in the trailer, the film is set in a world where Kamen Riders are fictional and exist as TV Shows and merchandise. This harkens back to Superior Ultraman 8 Brothers, an Ultraman movie with a similar premise where the heroes are fictional. With this sort of meta setting, the movie is able to bring its audience closer to the heroes and tug at your heartstrings the same way Ultraman did previously.
Overall, Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Forever closes the Heisei era of Kamen Riders with a bang. Sougo and co. get great character development, whereas Build and co. feel more or less the same as their series characterization. The return of a few Legend Riders will definitely excite long time fans, especially fans in their twenties. Tid, as a Supreme Time Jacker, gives off the most menacing performance in a Zi-O villain, adding to this movie’s watchability.
True, the movie may feel bloated and overstuffed at times, because of the multiple characters and the time travel plot, but isn’t that what makes a Kamen Rider film fun?
Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Forever is now showing at selected showtimes, exclusive to TGV Cinemas in Malaysia.