Dragon Ball Super: Broly 【ドラゴンボール超スーパー ブロリー】is the latest movie within the Dragon Ball series and re-introduces a fan favorite character, Broly. While many may wonder why they are making a movie to bring him into the fray again, most do not realize that the original movie “Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan 【ドラゴンボールZゼット 燃もえつきろ！！ 熱ねっ戦せん・烈れっ戦せん・超ちょう激げき戦せん】” is not canon, meaning that it is not actually involved in the main series continuity. This movie is Broly’s formal introduction into the main storyline of the Dragon Ball Universe.
When the movie was first announced, and we got glimpses back at the first trailer ever released, nobody believed we would be seeing Broly. In fact, many rumors spread that the saiyan we saw within the trailer was probably going to be “Yamoshi”, a person everyone speculated was probably the original “Super Saiyan God” that was talked about in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods 【ドラゴンボールZ 神と神】when The Eternal Dragon Shenron was explaining how to perform the ritual . Those who witnessed the end of Dragon Ball Super probably believed that the wish granted by Super Shenron at the request of Android 17 brought back ALL universes that Zeno-sama ever erased, meaning that this wrathful Saiyan was probably among those universes originally wiped from existence…yet this proved not to be the case.
Going in I was quite unsure whether-or-not they would be able to make a worthwhile story that could develop the characters and bring Broly up to the battle power of Goku, Vegeta, and Frieza. One of my friends legitimately did not care for Broly at all, and I was always a fan of his power and the “Legendary Super Saiyan” concept, nothing to do but to check it out.
If you are expecting for this to be a re-telling of the 1993 release Dragon Ball Z movie featuring Broly, you are quite wrong. This movie focuses on bringing Broly into the main continuity, but does so in a way that does not focus on him being “The Legendary Super Saiyan”, though the myth of there being one is still referenced within the movie. On top of them bringing in Broly, expect them to also make a few other movie-only characters into the Dragon Ball canon, solidifying their place within the main storyline but altering their history presented by the former movies they were featured in (such as Bardock).
The movie begins wonderfully, it shows the exact events which lead to Frieza destroying Planet Vegeta and how Broly was not detected by anyone during the entire span of the Dragon Ball franchise from its creation to the recent ending of the Dragon Ball Super series. We get to see why and how certain events unfolded in Dragon Ball Z, rather, the cemented reasoning that Akira Toriyama had for the series. The only thing I did not like about the entire beginning was not one reference to the “Battle of Gods” movie were Lord Beerus claims he ordered Frieza to destroy Planet Vegeta rather than it being his own whim and out of impending fear of a revolt like in the Dragon Ball Z series.
The movie itself takes place just right after the end of the Universal Survival Arc of Dragon Ball Super, they even make references to things that occured in the Tournament of Power proving that this movie is meant as a canon follow-up to the events of the previous series. This means we understand everything that has happened up to this point, all the power-ups that both Goku and Vegeta are using, and why Frieza is back alive after being killed in Dragon Ball Z by Trunks and again in “Resurrection F” by Goku. However, this is where things begin to crumble and fall apart in my opinion.
The reason that Frieza makes his way back to Earth, the reason that Broly himself ended up there, the entire thing was put together poorly. The plot of Dragon Ball Super: Broly falls incredibly flat, mainly because of the central scheme surrounding Frieza and the inconsistencies the movie had in terms of “how” and “why” when pertaining to the roles given to both antagonists. Goku and Vegeta being there makes perfect sense, it is completely understandable why they would go to where their former enemy is and why they would fight, but why the threats appeared to begin with seemingly takes a backseat to the fighting and makes creating a fleshed out story appear as an afterthought.
Overall, I can say the story was worth it just for the beginning that introduced the main cast and gave an origin story to the entire events leading up to Dragon Ball. On the other hand, that is about the only redeeming quality that Dragon Ball Super: Broly had storywise since they ruined the best storytelling that the series has ever seen by rushing things after flashing forward to the present day in order lead up to the fighting. I definitely feel like they needed to either put less of a emphasis on fighting to make a better story or by extending the movie to include more story along with the fighting would have created an amazing experience. I wish given such hope from the beginning and was disappointed by the time the end of credits rolled.
This movie introduces a few new characters while simultaneously formally introducing some old ones. I feel not much came in the line of character development since we do not actually see anyone grow or change, rather, we see how some mannerisms came about from Broly but that is about it. Though, they do double down on what Dragon Ball Super established as Goku actually being an idiot. Broly himself seems weird to me, as if they were trying to show that he bore no ill-will towards anything but also was willing to mercilessly oppose any threat…just felt like a forced effort on the part of his personality.
Frieza was someone whom I definitely did not like in the movie. The beginning where he was formally introduced showed how cold and heartless he was and it should have carried over into the main movie. Instead, I feel like Frieza was the comedy relief and that killed it for me because he is my favorite villain of the Dragon Ball series. Turning someone who would kill you for the smallest of reasons into someone with an actual sense of humor and ridiculous reason for gathering the Dragon Balls makes for a half-hearted investment into the intentions of the antagonists. Vegeta also displayed more humor in his behavior, but it is canon to his personality from what we seen after the events in the Majin Buu Arc and what he was willing to do in Battle of Gods.
Of the new characters, only Cheelai is really memorable due to her being a sexual focus within this movie. She was shown in several sexually suggestive positions, including a scene where she stretched her top to show it could fit about anyone in a blatantly obvious display. I feel like she was more-or-less an interstellar version of younger Bulma, especially with the haircut and the suggestiveness.
I feel like they could have did better developing Broly, but they did a decent enough job to see his demeanor as mild outside of his obvious rage when empowered. Also, I feel like they did make a decent effort to try and explain why he goes crazy when powering up, but due to something Paragus said he did to him, it feels like something that just should not exist. Moreover, I feel like his power should have been explained. They have even showed in trailers that Broly fights Goku and Vegeta while they are in Super Saiyan God without being able to transform into a Super Saiyan, and he definitely should not be able to last at all against people of their power and skill level due to what they have experienced. I do understand that if you want the series of Dragon Ball to move forward that the Z-Warriors must encounter stronger foes to give them a new challenge to overcome, but Akira Toriyama definitely has to get better with exactly how they handle bringing about these asspulls on strength and skill.
The animation within this movie were absolutely superb, the best that the Dragon Ball franchise has ever been, but I do not believe that makes it the best. While I think many people will agree that this movie had some amazing fight choreography, I still do think I was disappointed with it compared to Dragon Ball Z up to the ending of the Frieza Arc. I certainly do believe that the fighting in “Broly” was a step above what they did in both Battle of Gods and Resurrection F, they lost sight on the things that made many fall in love with this series as a battle anime.
They messed up on exactly two things, in my opinion; repeated actions to show speed and beam struggles. One of the things they did not do in this movie was a lot of repeated blows and dodges to show how fast they were fighting, while this was something the series as a whole has been getting away form, they could have definitely used it here. Sure, I know they did it in the old series to save on the budget and so they would not have to animated as much, but it was something that added flavor to the entire experience and that was missing. The second is the general beam struggles that the Series was known for. We are used to seeing two powerful attacks collide with one side during its best to beat them out, this always happens at some point and is a major area of tension that never seems to get old, but it was nonexistent in this entire movie and I was definitely disappointed.
Overall, the action was good, regardless of my own preferences on what I wish I could have seen. The movie was definitely fluid, plenty of camera angles, and had some intense fights that progressed into a devastated landscape and a myriad of awesome attacks. I feel like anyone who does not care about the story’s direction and is mainly going to see Goku and Vegeta throwdown with a powerful opponent will not be disappointed by the combat. If you are going because you are an addict and want to get another shot of Dragon Ball since the Super series has ended, you will definitely get your fix here.
I feel like one of the reasons that made the Dragon Ball series a success is the amazing music that the anime presented during intense bouts and its openings. I feel like “Head Cha La” was very good for the opening of Dragon Ball Z to their Japanese audience, but when bringing it to the west I definitely agree that “Rock the Dragon” was a better fit and got me interested in the series more than it would if the original music accompanied it. During intense scenes, we got music like “Shi o Yobu Seru Gêmu “, “Unmei No Hi ~ Tamashii Tai Tamashii”, and even “Vegeta Knows His Son”, nothing like this was to be found here.
One of the trailers for Dragon Ball Super: Broly (Japanese trailer #4) presented a music video-type reel with “Blizzard” by Daichi Miura playing in the background. Many people I know already did not like this for a Dragon Ball movie, since they prefer it to be more along the lines of rock but I did not mind. However, the movie proved to have terrible tastes by most people standards as I understand it. Music consisting of tribal like melodies that chanted character’s special moves (like Kamehameha) or names (Gogeta) which echoed with reverb did not do the fight scenes any justice and lessened their overall impact. I feel like they should have the original series music direction, especially during pivotal moments of insane battle spectacles.
Dragon Ball Super left us with music like “The Final Death Match” and “Ultimate Battle”, so I have no idea how they managed to mess up one of the best things of the series…but they did. Some might have thought it was okay, but it definitely ruined the overall quality of the movie and slowed down the pace of the breakneck speeds the fight choreography did their best to pull off.
STRENGTHS — Beginning of the movie is great, Animation is fantastic, Amazing fight scenes, and Cheelai is a memorable character.
WEAKNESSES — Plot of the movie falls flat, Frieza was too comical, Music was absolutely abysmal, Ending of the movie was predictable (bad).
My final thoughts on Dragon Ball Super: Broly, is that everyone should go and see the movie for themselves due to it having such polarizing good and bad qualities. While I believe this feature ended up anywhere near the potential I felt it had due to the beginning of the movie, most people are only looking at the Dragon Ball franchise as a legendary fighting anime and could care less about the details involved in its lore. They do a good enough job with Broly that he can be likeable as a character, but not a good enough job explaining why his power is absurd as it is without having “The Legendary Super Saiyan” attached to him to somewhat justify it.
I feel as fans of the Dragon Ball series, that this movie is better than both Resurrection F and Battle of Gods due to the story at the very beginning and better combat. However, overall I think they need to do better regardless if they know fans will be appeased by what they have given. I believe Dragon Ball can be a great series as it was up until the ending of the Frieza Saga, I feel they need to focus as much on the story as they do the fights to bring about an experience we have never had before. I do not regret going to see this movie, but I definitely will not be rewatching it anytime soon.