An exciting movie, with terrific action and a million characters… that I utterly despise if I think about what it’s saying for more than a minute.

Well, maybe not “utterly despise”. That’s overly harsh. I do genuinely hate what this movie ends up saying at its conclusion, though. After an entire film of Tsukasa and Marvelous putting lives in jeopardy and humiliating their friends, we get a Tsukasa speech that, hand to god, is just him going A Real Hero Knows The Ends Justify The Means. Like, look at this garbage:

I literally had to get up and walk away after that triumphantly-scored (!!!) moment. Yonemura had the goddamn anniversary-level balls to have a superhero tell a villain that any action is justified if the end result is a defeated villain. OH MAN! No! No no no no no! I hate that lesson so much that I will always resent this movie for having it as a moral.

The path to get to that moral is equally insulting. Decade and Gokai Red’s plan to gaslight both friends and enemies alike is riddled with logical problems. Like, the gimmick is that both Tsukasa and Marvelous are hiding other heroes in a pocket dimension, so the villains will think they’re dead. Tsukasa and Marvelous do this personally, with a purple-colored attack. And then they rain fire down on their friends. And then they send other villains after the heroes that only they can protect. What if General Shadow just murders, like, a Magiranger? Or if DaiZangyack’s ship obliterated Fourze? The entire plan falls apart if anyone other than Decade or Gokai Red attack the heroes… and step one of the plan is to take over armies of villains and send them against the heroes.

(Also, best part is Rider Hunter Silva going No Riders Detected as the villains make their move... while Gokai Green is about twelve feet away. Is... is that all that was necessary to hide the various heroes?! Keeping them behind rubble? In a robot's blindspot? Amazing. So dumb!)

It’s a shockingly cruel plan, even if I can sort of see Tsukasa trying it. (I don’t know Marvelous, so maybe it’s similarly believable that he’d shit all over his friends and team-up with the very villains he spent a season eliminating?) Tsukasa deciding all on his own to enact a plan with a hero he just met that might piss off all of his friends… it sort of tracks? It’s reckless, and that’s very much Tsukasa’s M.O. when it comes to plans. It’s dangerous and insulting, and then the end result is all of the Sentais and all of the Riders being in one place to stop the villains from completing a scheme they only attempted because they thought Marvelous and Tsukasa got rid of the other heroes. It’s like dousing your best friend’s home in gasoline, and then leaving a book of matches on their front doorstep, all so you can catch any would-be arsonists. Worse, it’s like trying to catch a known arsonist in the act. Like, why don’t the Riders and Sentai just, like, fight the villains from the start? Why all the subterfuge, when the only things that were gained were a) terrorized friends, and b) an army that didn’t need to be tricked into showing up? It’s a long way to go for an ending that’s just All Of The Heroes Fight At The Quarry, a thing they do more-or-less every season anyway.

The most frustrating part of the story to me is that Diend actually calls Tsukasa out on it, and he’s right, and then the movie throws it all away.

Again, can’t speak to the Sentai part, but it’s way more interesting to watch this movie after watching Decade. The real throughline of the movie (for me, at least) is how Kaitou and Tsukasa navigate their toxic relationship. There’s plenty of stuff about putting aside differences or reaching out to people or how The Greatest Treasure Is Friendship (gross), but I love how this movie really drills into how much Kaitou and Tsukasa need each other. Even in the midst of trying to make everyone in the universe think he’s a bad guy, Tsukasa sort of breaks character to try and recruit Kaitou. The real climax of the film for me isn’t the bullshit We Fooled You/We Fooled You Into Thinking You Fooled Us stuff that Marvelous and Tsukasa smirk at the villains with. It’s when Kaitou is furious that Tsukasa would consider their friendship/”friendship” collateral damage; acceptable losses.

He’s 100% right, Kaitou. It was a lazy plan by our “heroes”, and it presumes that they can be forgiven as long as no one dies. It’s nearly sociopathic in its disregard for people’s feelings. Tsukasa could’ve easily told Kaitou what was going on, just like Marvelous could’ve told the Gokaigers. All of this villainous subterfuge is just cruelty dressed up in nobility, and it’s disgusting. Kaitou’s dead right to tell Tsukasa that he was worse than a supervillain; he was an asshole.

But then Kaitou tilts into Psycho Ex territory, and the movie loses its thread.

I mean, I sort of like how Kaitou’s reaction to Tsukasa valuing all of these Riders and Sentais over what he had with Kaitou is Okay Fine Die With Them Then. Kaitou doesn’t really care about Riders or Sentais in the aggregate. He might care about Gokai Blue as a person, but he doesn’t particularly value other superheroes for any innate reasons. The idea that Tsukasa would destroy their relationship for the sake of strangers would naturally (for a toxic version of “naturally”) make Kaitou want to put those strangers in some sort of jeopardy. I don’t know that Kaitou forming a giant robot and trying to murder decades worth of superheroes works for me, though. It’s like Tsukasa’s plan: it’s too much, too fatal. It treats the safety of everyone else as obligatory, ensured. Like, this is just Kaitou throwing a tantrum at being ignored, don’t worry about it, let him get it out of his system. It’s less fun if the movie can’t treat it seriously?

But, I don’t know, the rest of the movie is pretty fun. The plot is really nothing. It’s just a ragtag group of survivors (two Gokaigers, Diend, and Hina from OOO) running around and watching cool Sentai and Rider fights. That’s it. They don’t really have a plan to stop their ex-friends from slaughtering other superheroes. It’s just Marvelous and Tsukasa’s weird scheme, front to back, which works out basically 100% correctly. (Even the Kaitou stuff just puts them back where they started.)

Still, y’know, a million superheroes! A fun cameo from the Den-O Imagin! Eiji’s in this about as much as Gentaro is! Great fights! (Best one for me was the early Gokai Red/Decade fight, where they kept using similar-themed suits, like Blade versus Spade Ace. I love when the match-ups get clever like that!) A massive battle at Kamen Rider Quarry! A finale that depends on continuity from the Fourze HBV! The story in this one is alternately illogical and offensive, but the fan-service and action are so good that I find myself working to forget the story.

Weird, weird movie. Incredibly successful as a celebration of tokusatsu; practically criminal in its stupidity and abhorrent morality.