Set in Japan, an attack occurs when a Kaiju appears unexpectedly. The government and the special task force have successfully fought and defeated many monsters in the past (and believe me, there have been quite a few of them!). But this new Kaiju is different and can turn invisible when it’s required to regenerate. It can also steal Japan’s electricity, making the monster even stronger. The government and Japan’s skilled task force attempt to stop the monster but have no solution. Suddenly, out of the sky comes a large silver, robot-like lifeform that takes on the Kaiju in combat. After a short battle, the Kaiju is defeated.
Captain Tamura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) from the Ministry of Defence and his fellow staff have now been assigned to investigate the mysterious unknown giant that came from the sky. Joining him and the team is a new team member, Hiroko Asami (Masami Nagasawa), who was recently transferred. She will work as an analyst and hopefully learn if this giant robot-like creature is another Kaiju or perhaps something else. In the meantime, the team has created a codename for the new being: “Ultraman”. While the team continues to investigate, more problems occur with a new Kaiju appearing, this time within the Momoyama District of Kamikita City. Destroying everything in its sight, this Kaiju is soon identified as a Subterranean Kaiju. Will Captain Tamura be able to stop this new kind of Kaiju, and more importantly, will the mysterious ‘Ultraman’ reappear to save the day yet again?
Shin Ultraman is best described as a fantasy and action film. If you love movies, I’m confident you have heard of the Godzilla films and other monsters like him, but perhaps you might be unfamiliar with Ultraman. Funny enough, in the land of cinema and TV, the character of Ultraman has been around for quite some time, and here we have another take on the famous hero. If you are unaware of who or what Ultraman is, don’t stress; there are no spoilers here. Thankfully, the film also manages to keep some mystery about the character and make slow reveals along the way.
I can’t deny it: Shin Ultraman is wacky. The entire film is highly playful and fast-paced. There’s a lot of dialogue, mass destruction, and battles as Ultraman finds himself in various conflicts and takes on large new enemies who pop up. The film discusses global politics, economies, militaries, religion, and extraterrestrials. On top of this, we learn that the world continues to change dramatically, with continuous Kaiju appearing randomly and a mysterious Ultraman making its grand appearance, giving people hope.
Thankfully, Shin Ultraman carries fun retro vibes from its music (Shirô Sagisu) to its action sequences, which reminded me of old cinema monster films and Power Rangers episodes. This film delivers experiences that are both entertaining and pleasing to the eye. The dialogue is always spoken quickly and is filled with randomness for comedic purposes, which mostly works. The Direction from Shinji Higuchi and the cinematography are also on point. There is plenty of creativity here and a wise way of filming from various angles to keep the feature heightened and constantly engaging.
Overall, while I’m confident many film buffs across the world know of the likes of Godzilla, Shin Ultraman is less unknown. Here, we have another version of the famous hero, and for the most part, the film has plenty of greatness, action, and wackiness to offer. Filled with fast-talking dialogue, there are great action set pieces and plenty of random moments played for comedic purposes. The retro vibes, including from the music, take viewers to what feels like another time and place, which is pleasing yet played far too frequently on repeat. Shin Ultraman will appeal to a select audience, but no matter how you respond to it, you can’t deny the fun nature and wild level of creativity and cinematography.