That’s the one thing I remembered from this movie.

I love that shot of Our Heroes (well, Our Heroes And Also Ankh) getting crucified in Kamen Rider Plaza. (Not to be confused with Kamen Rider Aubrey Plaza.) It’s… I was very new to Kamen Rider when I saw this movie, and the gigantic thematic swings a Kamen Rider movie could take hadn’t really been made clear to me yet. So seeing a public execution steeped in Western religious iconography was… I did not see that coming! It’s a pretty shocking image!

No pun intended! I dimly recalled that this was one of those Phase 2 movies where Shocker takes over everything, and it’s definitely that. (I think the other one is Kamen Rider 3?) There’s not really much to this movie outside of Kamen Riders and Shocker, though. It’s a 40th anniversary celebration of Kamen Rider, and boy do they never let you forget it.

Like, the story or moral or lesson or whatever, it’s paper-thin: Kamen Rider -- much like Wu-Tang -- is for the children. We see a world without Kamen Riders, and we see children with nothing to look to for examples of bravery and dedication and sacrifice and sweet-ass bike tricks. It’s a very good lesson! I find it hard to complain about a movie whose text and subtext is Thank Goodness For Kamen Rider.

But, man, this movie eventually just becomes a parade of Kamen Riders, with all the story inherent in, y’know, parades. It’s an entire final third that’s just introduction after introduction, and that’s in a movie that already spends a ton of its runtime introducing Kamen Riders!

Like this guy! It’s the return of New Den-O, now with (I want to say) lighter hair. This was my first ever Den-O experience, and I don’t know that I got even half of the premise. I definitely didn’t get why Momotaros could just become a Den-O despite being one of the monster guys, and I think I sort of get it now. I guess those Decade episodes where he became a real boy are Den-O canon? Maybe?

This was a fairly middle-of-the-road outing for New Den-O. He doesn’t really have an arc. (None of the superheroes do in this movie. Hell, not even Ankh learns a lesson, and he’s the one instigating the plot!) He’s put through another brief demise of Teddy, which I think now accounts for half of all Teddy stories to date? Him dying and Kotaro feeling distraught until Teddy just shows back up? But the Imagin are all very fun, and Kotaro doesn’t drag anything down. He’s fine, and Den-O’s always at least fun. Nice to see that cast again.

And then it’s just a million Showa guys. I don’t truck with Showa, so all them old guys flipping through the air was not what I wanted in an OOO/Den-O film. They’re just there, which is pretty much how the entire final third of the film felt to me. I like Kamen Rider suits and all, but these guys were interchangeable for the plot. It was just more and more dudes, without anything for them to do or say.

Except, of course, for the returning W team! It’s a cameo, at most, but I love seeing them. (And, what the hell, did Philip’s voice change between Movie War Core and this?! He’s got a relatively husky voice when he’s saying his two or three lines! He’s all grown up now!) Shotaro and Philip are maybe my favorite duo in all of Kamen Rider, so I’m going to be a hypocrite and applaud this movie for bringing them back for maybe thirty whole seconds.

Beyond that… god, I don’t know what there even is to talk about. It’s a million hero suits fighting a million villain suits, and the only real theme is that Kamen Rider is an awesome franchise. It’s nothing I disagree with, but I don’t know that I needed it shouted at me for ninety minutes.

Still, that crucifixion shot! Very cool.