AsianMovieWeb logo
Shin Ultraman - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Shin Urutoraman

Japan 2022


Shinji Higuchi

Takumi Saito
Masami Nagasawa
Hidetoshi Nishijima
Daiki Arioka
Akari Hayami
Tetsushi Tanaka
Koji Yamamoto
Ryo Iwamatsu
Keishi Nagatsuka

Search AsianMovieWeb

Shin Ultraman

Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Kaiju monsters turn up in Japan more and more frequently wreaking havoc and causing destruction. The special unit SSSP is tasked with finding the monsters' weak spots in order to destroy them. Hiroko Asami (Masami Nagasawa) joins the team, and her boss Kimio Tamura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is immediately impressed by her enthusiasm and skills. The other team members, such as the remarkable physicist Akihisa Taki (Daiki Arioka) and the biologist Yumi Funaberi (Akari Hayami), welcome her with open arms too, but her partner Shinji Kaminaga (Takumi Saitoh), who is responsible for coming up with the strategy in the fight against Kaijus, is a rather reserved guy. However, the next time a monster attacks, a giant humanoid creature suddenly turns up and assists the humans in battle. And when after that another Kaiju starts making trouble, the extra-terrestrial being, which is called "Ultraman" by now, once again comes to the rescue. And this always happens whenever Kaminaga is not present. It takes a while for the unit to realize that he transforms into Ultraman and that he is not even human. But then there is already a new threat the unit needs to face. Another alien shows up and offers the humans its help in the fight against the Kaiju with its technical know-how. In reality, though, the creature has completely different plans and even manages to capture Ultraman. However, this is only one of the many defeats that Ultraman has to deal with.

Filmroll Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 2 Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 3 Filmroll
Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 4

Review: To be honest, my experience with the Kaiju genre was limited to my childhood, when there used to be Godzilla flicks on TV on Saturday or Sunday mornings. Therefore, it was more of a coincidence that "Shin Ultraman" found its way onto my watch-list. The main reason was the amount of overall positive reviews, plus I was kind of curious, because I could hardly imagine how one might be able to implement the principle of a superhero completely wrapped in silver these days without it looking ridiculous. And I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. The series from 1967/68 was put on screen in an appropriately modernized way, while it simultaneously pays homage to the original and makes the most of the visual peculiarities of this Kaiju story. Of course, with the right amount of self-mockery.

Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 5

In short, we get an unusual but well-done movie here. Nevertheless, this also means that viewers who absolutely do not feel addressed by flicks like these should avoid "Shin Ultraman". Even though I'm not part of the target audience either, the flick has some fascinating facets. The director, for example, is Shinji Higuchi, who was also responsible for "Shin Godzilla". The camera angles and tracking shots are sometimes quite bold and actually remind you of the 60s, but they do not get too weird, instead they even leave you wanting more. In addition, there are some charming special effects that offer high-polished plastic with some extra special effects added here and there to emphasize the look. The attention to detail and the way the movie makers pay homage to the 60s is just amazing.

Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 6

When it comes to the story, though, you have to be able to handle a little bit of chaos. In fact, the story mostly includes different episodes, which are sadly dealt with rather quickly. Just as sudden as a new villain shows up, he makes an exit again, sometimes even without there being a real clash. Unfortunately, I can't judge to what extent the director just wanted to stick as close to the source material as possible when it comes to the story, but it becomes clear that he simply tried to use too much material here. Towards the end, everything gets pretty epic, but without making the movie lose its style. However, that also means that you can't expect real character development with this kind of fast-paced plot development, and so the biggest minus point is probably that the characters are all a bit too one-dimensional, even though they are mostly pretty likable. But the movie would have done well with giving them a little more depth instead of just equipping them with a few peculiarities.

Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 7

Playing half human, half alien actor Takumi Saito ("Reborn") can only give a very distant or cold portrayal, and somehow you would have wished for more internal struggle. After all, there are more or less two entities living in Ultraman's body. Masami Nagasawa ("Mother") is pleasantly quirky and weird, but unfortunately, she fades into the background at some point. So, the movie doesn't offer that much on a character level, and that's why it becomes more and more difficult over time to continue being invested in the events. As mentioned before, though, the many stylistic surprises keep the movie going, even when the picture is in danger of falling apart. For instance, cameras seem to be hidden in keyboards or other objects, which reminds you of espionage movies. This always creates a nice symbiosis between the 60/70s style of the movie and a modern look.

Filmroll Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 8 Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 9 Filmroll

Shin Ultraman - Film Screenshot 10

Besides, this also applies to the practical effects, which never look as cheesy as they did back then, but still have a similar charm. Thanks to modern effects, the battles between the monsters also have a surprising impact. So, you would have actually liked to see more of them, but the movie goes in a slightly different direction towards the end, even though a quite fitting one. Nevertheless, the finale is still a little anticlimactic. Visually, but also acoustically - the music is at times inspired by the style of the 60s - "Shin Ultraman" is a courageous and impressive movie. Still, if you are not a fan of the genre, as was the case with me, you will probably not be that enthusiastic about the flick. It's a bit like an art form that doesn't appeal to you, but you can certainly tell that there is something extraordinary to it. For the right audience, "Shin Ultraman" is definitely worth a watch, everybody else will probably not be able to warm up to the Kaiju genre here either due to its various peculiarities.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Shin Ultraman   - Yesasia Yesasia Logo