We live in a world where every franchise has become ironic, self-aware, detached, cynical, unnecessarily dark or some unholy combination of those things, so it's a true comfort that the Ultraman franchise remains so wonderfully unchanged. With Ultraman X, the long-running tokusatsu series is as fantastically earnest and colourful as ever.
As could be expected, the film's plot serves as a flimsy excuse to have some dudes in monster suits crappily fight some dudes in robot suits throughout a scaled-down city set.
In this setup, we're given a minor modern update — Carlos Kurosaki is a reality TV excavator, combining ambitious for fame with a cheap Indiana Jones hat. When he discovers some rocks underneath a pyramid, he awakens some monsters at the earth's core. What follows is, of course, a nonstop batch of battles powered by martial arts, magic trading cards and spark-flying set pieces.
By today's standards, Ultraman X is dumb as hell. The dialogue is ridiculously earnest, pairing goofball yucks with cheesy platitudes about loving one another. Factor in Alien Fanton — a wise-cracking, cheap-looking dude who looks like he's from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters — and you'll be convinced you're watching a lost after-school special from the mid '90s.
That said, you'll most likely find yourself hooting and hollering as Ultraman X unfolds onscreen. In place of Batman's exhausting gravitas or the endless cynical banter of those omnipresent Avengers, Ultraman X offers the all-too rare, endlessly simple pleasures of explosions, bright colours and unpretentious camp. Stop overthinking it and let Ultraman X wow you.