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ULTRAMAN: RISING

"Selfless Sacrifice Makes a Good Hero and a Good Father"

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What You Need To Know:

ULTRAMAN: RISING is an animated science fiction adventure on Netflix. After his father’s retirement from hero work, baseball player Ken Sato takes on the role of “Ultraman,” a giant metallic hero who defends Japan from giant monsters. Ken rescues a lizard baby from a secret government experiment. With no other option, Ken raises the little monster while trying to repair his relationships. At the same time, government officials aim to dissect the innocent baby. They will destroy Ultraman if he gets in their way. The movie is loosely based on a 1960s Japanese television program.

ULTRAMAN: RISING is a messy, yet heartfelt story about a cocky man finding true value in his family and his legacy. The movie features spectacular setpieces, great voice acting, and stylized animation akin to ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE. It stresses loyalty, sacrifice and the hardships of being a good father. However, the script stumbles with an overreliance on “Marvelesque” jokes, heavy-handed exposition and a runtime that’s too long. ULTRAMAN: RISING also has intense cartoon violence and some mostly light foul language. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.

Content:

(BBB, C, O, LL, VV, MM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Very strong moral, pro-family worldview with light redemptive content stresses selfless sacrifice, the hardship and rewards of being a supportive father, the main hero struggles with his missing mother and his emotionally distant superhero father, the characters raise a kaiju baby and try to return her to her mother, the hero overcomes his standoffish behavior from his baseball life, a father reconnects with his son regarding his past absences, the characters believe that some kaiju monsters are not “mindless bad guys,” the main character sacrifices himself to save Japan from a supervillain, and the movie says giant monsters come from another dimension (but doesn’t dwell on their occult origins);

Foul Language:
A few “d” words, one “h” word and some light profanities;

Violence:
Strong action violence throughout, a skyscraper-sized superhero gets into fist fights against multiple gigantic kaiju monsters, Japanese buildings are destroyed mid-battle (but no onscreen casualties are shown), the supernatural characters fire lasers from their eyes, the main hero suffers an injury to his right shoulder, characters are placed in perilous situations, the government sends deadly robot drones against the heroes, and the main villain activates a “self-destruct” nuke;

Sex:
No sex scenes or sexual immorality, but the main hero develops a flirtatious friendship with a female reporter;

Nudity:
No nudity;

Alcohol Use:
No alcohol use;

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Strong miscellaneous immoral behavior such as main character takes up the spotlight at his baseball team at the expense of his teammates), a son disregards phone calls from his father, the kaiju baby has scenes of “potty humor” (passing gas, barfing and watching a Japanese knockoff of Cocomelon), the main hero frequently shows up late to baseball practice sessions, and the government tries to run illegal experiments on the kaiju baby.

More Detail:

ULTRAMAN: RISING is an animated science fiction adventure on Netflix. After his father retires from hero work, baseball player Ken Sato takes on the role of “Ultraman,” a giant metallic hero who defends Japan from giant monsters. One day, Ken rescues a lizard baby from a secret government experiment. With no other option, Ken raises the little monster while trying to repair his personal and professional relationships. At the same time, government officials aim to dissect the innocent baby. They will destroy Ultraman if he gets in their way. The movie is loosely based on the 1960s Japanese television program created by Eiji Tsyburaya.

ULTRAMAN: RISING focuses on Kenji “Ken” Sato, a cocky yet skilled baseball player in his late twenties. When giant monsters, “kaiju,” attack his home country Japan, he transforms into Ultraman, a supersized alter ego with immense strength. Ken comes from a long line of “Ultramen,” a group of humanoid alien heroes who swear to protect Earth.

The story begins with Ken ditching his American baseball team and transferring to the Japanese Giants. Ken is an expert in his field but is emotionally closed off from not only his peers but also his family. In the past, Ken resented his father, Professor Sato/“Ultradad,” for prioritizing superhero life over personal family time.

Sometime later, Ken’s compassionate mother goes missing after a Kaiju battle. This trauma throws a wedge between the father and son. In the present, Ultradad suffers a life-threatening injury and orders his son to become Japan’s new protector.

In the present, Ken begins his double life, owing it to his father to keep the city safe. During a monster battle, Ken discovers that the Kaiju Defense Force, a high-tech government agency, is doing an illegal experiment with an innocent kaiju egg. Ultraman steals the egg and becomes the KDF’s number one target. The egg hatches into a 20-foot lizard baby. She immediately takes Ken as her father. With no other choice, Ken and his robot drone, Mina, agree to raise the monster until they can find her a proper home off Earth.

The movie then explores Ken’s struggle of balancing his various responsibilities to protect Japan, reclaim his soured sports persona, reconnect with his father, and, finally, embrace his role as a surrogate father. However, the KDF is intent on capturing the baby monster and destroying all kaiju, both animalistic and neutral, from existence.

Will Ultraman be able to save the people he holds most dear?

ULTRAMAN: RISING offers something that’s too often deeply missing in contemporary entertainment, the hardship of being a good father. Ken is a man with a boisterous exterior but is “cursed” by his father’s distractions to superhero work. The movie does a great job showcasing Ken’s transformation of opening up his emotional state to others, especially to the kaiju baby. The voice acting by Christopher Sean is incredible. Ken fails on multiple occasions but always tries to raise the baby to the best of his ability. When it comes to the fundamentals, RISING rises to the challenge.

RISING’s best quality is its animation. The movie takes heavy inspiration from the SPIDER-VERSE franchise with bold colors, comic-book poses and fast “motion” lines. The movie has excellent use of color, lighting and in portraying the huge scale of the kaiju battles. It doesn’t reach the same bar as the SPIDER-VERSE movies but does a respectable job nonetheless.

Sadly, RISING has a few factors dragging it down. For one, the humor is hit or miss. For example, Ken and his snarky robot Mina will make “quips” regarding their situation like “I can’t believe that just happened” and “That is NOT fair. Why does HE get a giant laser?” These self-aware Marvel movie jokes feel out of place in an otherwise “earnest” movie. There are also some “Kaiju potty training” scenes that merely exist to satisfy internet algorithms.

Another issue is the movie’s runtime. If you take out the credits, RISING clocks in at one hour and fifty minutes. The movie is front loaded with flashbacks to Ken’s past, which bog down the story’s otherwise decent pacing. If the movie were 10 minutes shorter, with some of the exposition scenes shortened, it would have created a stronger story.

Finally, ULTRAMAN: RISING has lots of intense cartoon violence, a few obscenities and some light profanities. As a result, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.


Watch ULTRAMAN: RISING
Quality: - Content: -1
Watch ULTRAMAN: RISING
Quality: - Content: -1