Dragon Ball Super: Broly

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The latest cinematic entry in the extensive Dragon Ball universe revamps the origin story of the isolated and tremendously powerful Saiyan Broly, and it does not disappoint.

This was a huge coup for domestic cinematic releases of anime franchises – the last Dragon Ball film, Resurrection F (2015), was a financial and critical success. Dragon Ball Super: Broly broke even more records, landing to a top 5 box office debut with a fraction of the screens other movies like Glass and Aqua Man had. This has pushed Toei animation and distributor Funimation to continue to invest in English dubs and domestic releases of Dragon Ball (and by extension, more ambitious ports of other massively popular foreign stories and franchises). In short, this is only the beginning of what seems to be a culture shift in the acceptance and prevalence of Japanese animation in American culture.

The movie itself is a blast. It was a non-stop, action-packed Dragon Ball episode that lasted 101 minutes. You can come into this movie blind, with no knowledge of the franchise, story, or characters, and come out a new fan of the franchise. Of course, it is much more rewarding for those life-long fans who have been following Goku’s journey from Dragon Ball, to Dragon Ball Z, and most recently the revival of the serial animated franchise in Dragon Ball Super. Remember, Dragon Ball GT is non-canon and does not exist. Don’t @ me. Forget anything you know of it.

The film is well laid out and carries a quicker pace than traditionally the serial installments of the show have had. There is a generous prologue segment that covers massive origin stories of major characters in the long-running series: The exile of Broly, a Saiyan with massive ‘latent ability’, the decision to send young Goku away from planet Vegeta before its impending destruction at the hands of the sinister mega-villain Freiza, and the adventures of young prince Vegeta and Goku’s older brother Raditz. In summary, and what is already known to any Dragon Ball fan is that the Saiyans, a race of powerful ape-like warriors, have their planet wiped out by an evil alien emperor who ruled over and despised them. Not all Saiyans were caught in the ambush, as many were off planet and continue to serve as a foil to Freiza and his schemes in the ensuing years.

After the prologue, the film focuses on titular heroes and often time rivals, Goku and Vegeta. The film occurs immediately after the conclusion of the Tournament of Destroyers in the Dragon Ball Super TV series, the highest-stakes conflict the Z fighters had ever faced and resulted in a narrow win for the Universe 7 team (the obliteration of their reality if they lost the tournament).

Everyone is content to train and enjoy a period of peace and quiet in the universe, but that doesn’t last long when the great conqueror Frieza announces his intent to gather the Dragon Balls and make a wish – one many presume to be to make himself immortal and no longer be susceptible to defeat from Goku, who has his number. The Dragon Balls become a macguffin for two opposing sides – Bulma, who wants to look five years younger, and Freiza, who wants to look five centimeters taller. Broly becomes a welcome distraction for the ever-scheming Frieza, who stirs the pot in classic fashion and sets off a fight unlike any Goku and Vegeta have faced before.

The film has a lot of classic comedic relief in the Dragon Ball vein, and does a pretty awesome job of re-telling the story of Broly and painting him in a better light, as he is not just a mindless war machine. Goku of course, to a fault, wants to assume the best out of every foe he ever faces, and in this film, Broly will now get a second chance to learn how to control himself thanks to the quick thinking and help from some unlikely allies. Classic enemy Freiza himself returns to his normal, pretty scummy form after his conciliatory tone set when teaming up with the Z fighters to save their own universe 7 in the Tournament of Destroyers. There’s a canon appearance of one of the greatest fusion fighters ever (I won’t spoil it). Really, its got a little bit of everything, and that’s what makes it so fun.

Go see this movie. Definitely if you are a Dragon Ball fan and moreso if you’ve been enjoying the revitalized Super series.

Official Trailer for Broly
This movie is featured in Episode 3 of the Reel Talk Podcast!

Our Score
Audience Score
[Total: 1 Average: 5]
8.4 A Kamehameha Tidal Wave of Action
  • Plot 6.5
  • Animation 9
  • English Dub 9
  • Sound FX & Music 9
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