Originally posted to "Kamen Rider Die watches Kamen Rider Ghost" on August 23rd, 2019:

KAMEN RIDER GHOST SUMMER MOVIE: 99 EYECONS AND A DARWIN AIN'T ONE



ALL DADS ARE DEAD

When you boil it down to its basics, this is a pretty solid story. Ganma villains show up, steal the Heroic Eyecons, our cast pursues, Takeru teams up with the physical embodiments of a few of the Heroic Eyecons to thwart the main villain's plan to turn everyone in the universe into ghosts, everyone goes back to Earth and Takeru's a hero. For an hour, that's a reasonable story. Throw in some fun actors, a few new suits, and the first appearance of (my first ever Rider) Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, and there shouldn't be much to complain about. Right?

So, here's how they screw it up: every single time they need to explain something, or connect one scene to the next, they manage to pick the most convoluted, insane way to do it.

1. Ganma villains show up - Oh, their boss is Alain's brother who we just were told about two weeks earlier. He's been dead for some amount of time? He was supposed to be an early version of Takeru? I guess? He got real mad for some reason? Now he's all about that Ghost Life? "Villain wants to end all life in the universe" doesn't need to be this complicated!

2. Steal the Heroic Eyecons - Of which they already have another 85 or so? That they got somehow, somewhere, at sometime? Without anyone knowing about it? Oh, and they're letting all of the Eyecons have fun in a village until they suddenly decide to just murder them all?

3. Our cast pursues - To an Eyecon shaped planet? That's around where the moon is? That has an entire Ganma army up there? That the Sage/Eadith knew about all this time and didn't do anything about?

4. Takeru teams up with the physical embodiments of a few of the Heroic Eyecons to thwart the main villain's plan to turn everyone in the universe into ghosts - Oh he also teams up with MAKOTO AND KANON'S DAD, who has been living in a cave with the spirit of Charles Darwin for ten years! Of all the insane choices the writers of this film made, this is the most frustrating. This should be a huge deal! Why did this guy abandon his family without any explanation ten years ago? What in the hell has he been doing for the last ten years that would keep him from his family? The answers to those questions, when angrily posed by Makoto, amount to Shut Up and I Thought I Told You To Shut Up. There's a vague "I went to fight the Ganma and wanted you to be safe" thing he tries to sell as he dies (ALL DADS ARE DEAD), but come on. It's completely unclear why he left, since the only flashback is him standing around while Eadith tells Argos to go get Eyecons. He doesn't do anything! And then when that dumb scheme goes predictably sideways (hard to believe forcing someone to go get you trinkets so they can get their body back doesn't win you their trust and loyalty) he's just, hiding? Forever? And when his son comes back, he's just Whatever? Why was no thought put into something with so much importance to Makoto?! Why even bother bringing his dad in if you have no idea what to do with him?!

5. Everyone goes back to Earth and Takeru's a hero - And I almost wasn't mad at the end! The fight between Ghost and Dark Ghost was neat, the fact that Takeru beat him by getting all of the Eyecons to remember food being great was unique, things were looking good. But no. Takeru gets killed, again, for a minute, Akari mourns, but then Darwin's like, "Nah, we cool," and they bring him back as a Ghost, AGAIN, presumably with only a couple weeks left on his clock because they're all assholes. Thanks, Darwin!

Just a frustrating experience. I did not like this movie very much, you guys!



~TWO AND A HALF YEARS LATER~

who was this angry lunatic and why were they posting using my account

Oh, man, fun to come back to this one! Fun to see how I used to put these together. Like, look at how short this thing was! It’s, like, a little over a page long, which is… I usually blow past that on an HBV, let alone an hour-long film. Did I have plans the night I watched this or something?

Weird to see how much I harped on the plotting, because, honestly? Didn’t really stand out to me here. Argos absolutely comes out of nowhere, and Daigo’s stuff is insultingly stupid (if retconned into something a little more believable with the Specter V-Cin), but this was a fairly good summer movie, I thought.

The thing I liked the best is Argos’s character, a topic that I was both dismissive of, and sadly off-base on. He’s great in this movie as a negative version of Takeru. He’s someone who became a ghost and longed for connection, just like Takeru. But where Takeru worked to become human again and join his friends, Argos opts to turn everyone into ghosts, dragging them down to his level. It’s a story about how Connecting With People can take a darker turn, where toxic personalities seep out into the world, poisoning people who come too close. Argos wants what Takeru wants - unity, companionship, connection - but he’d rather force everyone to be like him than work hard to join them.

He’s great because he’s not just a villain who wants to end all life in the universe, 2019 Kamen Rider Die! He’s isolated and lonely, just like Takeru, but he’s selfish and callous. Takeru will always put his friends’ happiness ahead of his own; he’ll destroy his chance for life if it means saving theirs. Having a villain who expressly doesn’t value the things Takeru misses… man, that’s a rock-solid movie villain.

And, also, great cast in this one. Super weird to see Kaido back, as a swordsman of all things (bonkers idea), but he’s always welcome. All of the Road Trip Luminaries are a blast, hamming it up with their single characteristics. Even the lieutenants are kind of neat, despite barely being in this.

They do get to show up in costumes, though, which is where this movie excels. I’ve always liked the Ghost suits, and this movie shows why. Nearly every new suit in this one is a different colorway for an existing design, and they all look amazing. Seeing Necrom in three new colors, and they all pop! Come on! What exquisite versatility these designs have! (The only suit in this entire movie I disliked was Deep Specter, which I don’t think I’ve ever liked. Too bulky!)

Anyway, I’ve already written more than I’d intended, but I had to set 2019 Kamen Rider Die straight on a couple things. Argos is a clever villain, the suits are all top-notch, Kaido as a swordsman (brilliant one-off idea), the new Luminaries are a hoot, EX-AID DEBUTS for almost no reason other than joy I guess, and it all goes at a great clip. Fun movie!

That abrupt Darwin Resurrects Takeru ending is still super bullshit, though.
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