Both a retelling and an homage to the original 1971 Kamen Rider TV series may be found in Shin Kamen Rider. The movie features a large number of recognisable characters and numerous shot-for-shot recreations. However, it doesn’t hesitate to drastically alter the original tale in some instances. Furthermore, despite its close resemblance to the original, you don’t need to be familiar with the 50-year-old saga to appreciate and comprehend this movie. But the film’s major issue also stems from its adoration of the TV show.
Shin Kamen Rider has the same feeling as Shin Ultraman, the final tokusatsu adaptation written by Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno, that it ought to have been a miniseries rather than a film. The movie is divided into five separate acts, each of which has a mutant cyborg to be defeated and a plot that is mostly self-contained. Unfortunately, not all of them get the time they require because the movie is just 120 minutes long. This is especially clear at the beginning of the movie, where the introduction of Kamen Rider, the exposition dump of the backstory, and the opening combat are all squeezed into the first 15 minutes.
Having said that, the principal characters and how they develop over the course of their travels together more than make up for the film’s episodic issues. Takeshi is a good-hearted person who all of a sudden discovers himself going insane and blowing people’s heads apart with his superpowers. He thinks his conduct unacceptable because he is the son of a police officer. Even when he makes up his mind to battle SHOCKER, the blood on his hands haunts him the entire movie. But his bond with Ruriko is what really propels him ahead. Early on, he is saved by granting his mentor’s dying wish to keep her safe, but what they have created together enables him to continue fighting until the very end of the movie.
On the other side, Ruriko comes out as rational and icy, devoted exclusively to eliminating SHOCKER. She, however, is just as troubled internally as Takeshi is. Every mutant they encounter, despite their wicked nature, is someone she knows; some of them she even considers to be friends. Even if it may be for the greater good, she is still betraying and murdering the people she grew up with. Thank goodness, Takeshi is able to see and comprehend both sides of her. She is able to face her emotions thanks to his compassion and understanding instead of self-destructively burying them.
The two of them vs the world gives us a sense of true cooperation. SHOCKER desires their death. They are seen by the police as unreliable allies. Yet they are the only hope for the planet. They are simple to support, and the emotional beats that surround them are well-timed. The movie still feels like a personal story about them despite the intensity and potentially life-saving implications.
The visual style of this film is strikingly similar to an Anno movie. Even during the most tedious expository conversation, it is visually engaging thanks to the numerous odd camera angles and fast cuts. In several battle situations, the camera technique might be confusing and difficult to follow. On the other hand, the movie also features some wonderful static images, including close-ups of our heroes during their most emotional scenes and gorgeously composited landscapes.
Shin Kamen Rider wears a combination of contemporary and tokusatsu-style outfits from the 1970s. The majority of the time, this works nicely. Only a few extra embellishments or color modifications distinguish the Rider uniforms from their 1970s iterations. And it’s amazing how even something as straightforward as giving our hero a trench coat may update the traditional style. However, there is still some dissonance between the vintage aesthetics and the film’s original ones, particularly when it comes to the villains’ LED-glow masks that give them a futuristic appearance.
The music features numerous reworkings of well-known motifs and musical cues. None of them, though, seem out of place in the movie. It nearly flawlessly balances retro and modern, just like the rest of the presentation.
Overall, Shin Kamen Rider is a good movie that serves as a tribute to one of the founding fathers of tokusatsu television. Everyone who worked on this movie was obviously highly passionate about their work and the past. Although it struggles with pacing since it insists on using an episodic structure, the three “Shin” tokusatsu films’ strongest character development and emotional moments may be found in this one. This movie is worth seeing whether or not you are a fan of Kamen Rider and if you liked Evangelion, Shin Godzilla, or Shin Ultraman.