Shin Kamen Rider (2023)

Shin Kamen Rider (2023)

NR

A bizarre superhero adaptation of the classic 70s tokusatsu series that goes absolutely bonkers

7.5

Movie

Japan
Japanese
Action, Drama, Science Fiction
2023
HIDEAKI ANNO
Kanata Hongo, Ken Yasuda, Masami Nagasawa
121 min

TLDR

So, so, so fun. And so, so, so bizarre.

What it's about

After escaping his abduction by the organization SHOCKER, motorcyclist Takeshi Hongo realizes he’s been turned into a grasshopper-cyborg hybrid. Rejecting the Grasshopper-Aug mantle, Takeshi dubs himself as Kamen Rider, and fights against the AI-controlled organization.

The take

With Marvel and DC monopolizing the superhero landscape with high budgets, big-name actors, and CGI graphics, Shin Kamen Rider feels like a breath of fresh air. Also known as Shin Masked Rider in other territories, the adaptation recalls the campy costumes and over-the-top action of the original 70s tokusatsu series. It’s fun, if a little bit silly, and slightly unhinged, albeit with a more modern polish. The bizarre action sequences tend to be paired with old 70s rock, blood oversplashing, motorcycle stunts, and exaggerated expressions, especially from the villains. It’s a fitting love letter for the series’ 50th anniversary.

What stands out

Shin Kamen Rider has serious existential themes, with its body horror and AI at play. All Kamen Rider wants to do is to dismantle the evil organization that mutated his unwilling body, and that still retains a certain amount of control over him and his ally Ruriko Midorikawa. While SHOCKER is out for the most cliche goal of world domination, there’s a similarity to Wall-e’s AUTO AI, in which both AIs misinterpret directives to assert total subjugation of the human race. This serious tone is offset by the goofiness of its writing and action, but this proves to make the themes instantly more watchable than other anti-AI superhero films.

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