Movie Reviews

Sorry Godzilla x Kong, But Netflixs New Film Is Now My Favorite 2024 Kaiju Movie

Summary

  • Ultraman: Rising is a standalone animated Ultraman film.
  • Ultraman: Rising joins Godzilla x Kong as another fun kaiju movie released in 2024.
  • Ultraman: Rising delivers great action scenes and visuals.



Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire was good, but Netflix’s new film, Ultraman: Rising, is now my favorite kaiju movie of 2024. The Monsterverse, one of the most consistent Hollywood franchises, gained a new chapter with Godzilla x Kong. While the success of Godzilla Minus One has sparked debates about what Godzilla movies should be like, the Monsterverse’s newest film delivered exactly what it promised.

As someone who loves Super Sentai shows and Tokusatsu in general, I’m always interested in checking out new movies or shows featuring mechas and monsters. Fortunately, shortly after the release of Godzilla x Kong, there is a brand-new movie that fits this description. Netflix’s Ultraman: Rising is a standalone film from the Ultra universe, and while it’s quite different from previous Ultraman properties, it is a great addition to the franchise.



Netflix’s Ultraman: Rising Is A Perfect Kaiju Movie

Ultraman: Rising has giant heroes, monsters, and mechas

Netflix’s Ultraman: Rising is a great kaiju movie that can be enjoyed by long-time Ultraman fans and new audiences alike. Those familiar with the Ultra universe will get to see a new addition to the 58-year-old franchise, this time with Ken Sato as the new Ultraman. As is common in the Ultraman saga, Ultraman: Rising introduces a new version of the hero. In this story, Ken must live up to his father’s run as Ultraman while learning how to balance his professional and personal lives. The new Ultraman must also protect a baby kaiju.


Several characters have used the name “Ultraman” since 1966.

Ultraman: Rising is also a great film for those who like giant monster movies, regardless of the franchise. While the stakes of a movie about Ultraman taking care of a baby kaiju may not seem that high at first, Ultraman: Rising includes some amazing battle scenes.Ultraman: Rising’s final battle was particularly great and even made me nostalgic about Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, one of my favorite kaiju movies of all time. Although I enjoyed Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Ultraman: Rising has surprisingly become my favorite giant monster movie of 2024.


How Ultraman: Rising Is Different From Godzilla x Kong

Ultraman: Rising focuses on Ultraman’s old and new family

Both Godzilla x Kong and Ultraman: Rising are based on decades-old franchises that have explored countless stories, formats, and genres over the years. There is a Godzilla movie for everyone, with different approaches ranging from Godzilla Minus One to the Monsterverse. Similar to its predecessor, Godzilla x Kong made the most of its fun premise. One of my favorite Monsterverse movies, Godzilla x Kong delivered some great kaiju action involving not only the fan-favorite titular characters but also a bunch of other monsters. Ultraman: Rising, on the other hand, was a more self-contained movie.

Related

Ultraman: Rising Ending & Post-Credits Scene Explained

Ultraman: Rising ends on a cliffhanger after a major battle in which two generations of heroes come together to protect a baby kaiju and her mother.


Ultraman: Rising’s story was about Ken Sato becoming a better version of himself not only as a superhero but also as a person. The new Ultraman goes from a relatively selfish celebrity who made a career in baseball to a complete hero who understands that sacrifices must be made. Ultraman: Rising is a great Ultraman adventure, but it is also an enjoyable standalone film. The Netflix animated movie also has incredible action scenes and great visuals, making it a pleasant surprise. Between Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and Ultraman: Rising, 2024 has been an awesome year for kaiju fans.

Ultraman: Rising’s Story Answers To An Old Monster Movie Criticism

Ultraman: Rising’s human story is as interesting as its kaiju battles

Gedde Watanabe as Professor Sato trying to comfort Christopher Sean's Ken in Ultraman Rising


One of the biggest criticisms the Monsterverse and recent monster movies have faced is how the human characters are often not that interesting to follow. While Godzilla movies and several other kaiju properties have always been about human characters, the fact is that it’s difficult for humans to compete with how cool giant monsters are. Additionally, some films have made the mistake of using human characters as nothing but a plot device to advance the story or explain to audiences what is happening. Fortunately, this is something Ultraman: Rising didn’t struggle with.

Using the
Ultraman
universe to tell a personal story about family worked surprisingly well.


Ultraman stories are primarily about a human character by default. Although not every Ultraman origin story is the same, most versions of the character are born of the combination of a heroic human and alien Ultra powers. In Ultraman: Rising, Ken genetically inherited his father’s abilities and is now Ultraman following Professor Sato’s retirement. Ken’s relationship with his father, the absence of his missing mother, and his found family dynamic with the baby kaiju are at the center of Ultraman: Rising. The monster battles are fun, but I also enjoyed the human aspect of the Netflix animated movie.

Ultraman: Rising’s Characters

English Voice Actors

Japanese Voice Actors

Kenji Sato

Christopher Sean

Yuki Yamada

Professor Sato

Gedde Watanabe

Fumiyo Kohinata

Mina/Emiko Sato

Tamlyn Tomita

Ayumi Tsunematsu

Dr. Onda

Keone Young

Fumihiko Tachiki

Ami Wakita

Julia Harriman

Akari Hayami


The best giant monster movies are the ones in which both the creatures and the human characters are compelling enough. Godzilla Minus One is a recent example of a kaiju film where the human aspect of the story is as interesting as seeing Godzilla, if not more. Interestingly, Ultraman: Rising was originally not an Ultraman film. Director Shannon Tindle explained (via X) that Ultraman: Rising was inspired by his experience as a parent and was not originally conceived as an Ultraman movie. Using the Ultraman universe to tell a personal story about family worked surprisingly well.

Will There Be A Sequel To Ultraman: Rising?

Ultraman: Rising’s post-credits scene sets up a sequel

Kaiju Island in Ultraman Rising


Most Ultraman properties are self-contained and can be watched on their own. The same applies to Ultraman: Rising, whose story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. The film even includes a voice-over at the beginning where Ken Sato summarizes his Ultraman history. However, while Ultraman: Rising has a satisfying ending, it leaves the door open for a sequel. The movie includes a post-credits scene that references Nebula M78, from where most Ultras in the franchise come from. The post-credits scene also confirms includes someone close to Ultraman asking to be rescued.


Had Ultraman: Rising not included that post-credits scene, I would say that the film would necessarily need a sequel. Ken learns an important lesson at the end of the movie and helps a family be reunited. However, after that major Nebula M78 tease, I hope that Ultraman: Rising2 happens. I would like to see more of Kaiju Island, which only appeared for a couple of seconds at the end of the film. An Ultraman: Rising sequel could be bigger and bolder than its predecessor, just like Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire massively expanded the Monsterverse.

  • Godzilla x Kong- The New Empire Poster

    Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

    After nearly destroying each other in 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, the giant Titans are back to face a new dangerous threat, but this time, they are on the same side. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is the fifth film in Warner Bros.’ growing Monsterverse franchise and will be directed by Adam Wingard.

    Director
    Adam Wingard

    Release Date
    March 29, 2024

    Writers
    Terry Rossio , Simon Barrett , Jeremy Slater

  • Ultraman Rising Poster Showing Ultraman flying through the sky with a small creature on his back

    Ultraman: Rising (2024)

    Ultraman: Rising is an action-adventure film and is a new entry in the Ultraman franchise. Directed by Shinji Higuchi, this film returns to the series roots and centers on a new hero, Ken Sato, who takes on the mantle of Ultraman to protect Earth from monstrous threats.

    Director
    Shannon Tindle , John Aoshima

    Release Date
    June 14, 2024

    Writers
    Shannon Tindle , Marc Haimes

    Cast
    Christopher Sean , Gedde Watanabe , Tamlyn Tomita , Keone Young , Julia Harriman


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