Review: Shin Ultraman (Japan 2022)

New York Asian Film Festival 2022

A total throwback to the oldest iterations of the TV series, this latest Higuchi/Anno “Shin” reinterpretation captures the goofy magic of old school Ultraman perfectly. Episodic, tongue-in-cheek but always played straight, the plot moves so quickly from creature to creature and crisis to crisis that it feels a lot like watching one of those old compilation movies that crush together an entire season of television. In a good way.  

My one real complaint is that I would have loved to see some actual rubber suit monsters (though Ultraman definitely seems to be played by a toy at one point). But that’s a small complaint when CGI is used to create monsters that LOOK like they’re rubber suits, just minus the zippers. Lovely, goofy creature designs, Tsubaraya productions has come a long way since reusing Godzilla costumes with a yellow frill around the neck

And this is a film that rewards viewing on the big screen. The fights looks terrific, with bright comic booky colors and silly moves that compliment the humor. I particularly dug the running gag about naming each monster as it appeared – a bizarre trope of the genre. I would have liked more fish out of water humor with Ultraman trying to fit into human society, but I suppose time was limited, this fits into a tidy 112m.

Bring on Shin Kamen Rider!

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