Review: Dragon Ball Super — Broly

SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!! If you haven’t seen this movie yet, click the red “X” on the top right of your screen and move on to another website. Trust me, this is not the way you want to find out about this movie! Okay, did we get that out of the way? Good. Moving on.
I remember reading reviews or people on Twitter saying that this was by far the best Dragon Ball movie to date. I took their reactions with a grain of salt but I have to say, they were all absolutely right. DBS Broly (I’m not writing that whole title every single time, I’m sorry!) isn’t just visually stunning, with such immense attention to detail and with an animation style completely different to what we might be used to yet not so much that it would feel alienating, but it also digs deep into the lore of the franchise, revealing hidden truths that were forgotten over time and modifying some things for the better.

From the word “go”, hardcore fans of the series are dropped in to the nitty gritty and newcomers learn just how much of a troublesome fellow (to say the least) this Frieza guy really is. I loved the cameos by the Ginyus, Zarbon and Dodoria and although I understand why they weren’t given a single line of dialogue (it might be hard to find a VA that worked for you over 20 years ago), I still would’ve enjoyed a larger role for them in the movie.
This film paints King Vegeta in a whole other color. He might’ve appeared as a ruthless ruler that just found his match in Frieza and King Cold up until today, but here we see how wise he is as well. The same can be said for “Kakarot”’s father, Bardock, who seems to have a softer side that’s a bit more akin to Goku himself, probably due to the influence of Gine, Goku’s mom, who I have to say reminded me of an older version of Universe 6’s Caulifla.

The entire first part that was devoted to the Saiyans was great, but it felt short. Even though the cinema offers a greater visual experience, a part of me wishes they could’ve done this in the anime where they would be able to expand on it for as many episodes as they wanted until they conveyed their story properly. Toriyama himself stated that if all the scenes he originally wrote were in the movie, it would’ve exceeded its time limit, so stuff needed to be cut out. Maybe they can pull a “Battle of the Gods” and plug it in the anime when it starts up again, in much lower animation quality this time of course.
I have to say, even though I loved the movie, there are so many things I don’t get about it, with the first and foremost of them being, well, Broly. Yeah, now we know he was sent off to some god awful planet cause King Vegeta was too afraid of his power (I still remember Vegeta Jr. saying that the Legendary Super Saiyan self-destructed due to his rage during the Namek arc), but… what’s wrong with him? I mean, he gets off Frieza’s ship and then randomly attacks Vegeta, for absolutely no reason or without any provocation. At least last time, someone said his trigger word (“Kakarot”). Here not even that seems to be a factor, he just goes.

Was he fighting because he wanted to or because he couldn’t hold himself back from not doing so? None of the moves he made felt involuntary, like he wasn’t “all there upstairs”, his power ups came naturally as the battle progressed. For example, he didn’t seem like Universe 6’s Kale that literally just exploded in a fit of rage and attacked anyone she saw in front of her. This was full-on Broly.
So what were his motives? Was he angry at Vegeta? He never met the guy! Did he feel provoked by Goku? Nope! The only logical explanation that fits is that that’s all he knows how to do, but the reason Broly fought on that planet was to survive. He’s never shown to actually go out of his way to attack someone without reason, in fact he even made friends with one of the beasts.
I also completely disliked the way Paragus was fodderized by Frieza in an attempt to get Broly to go Super Saiyan (although the Krillin flash back was a nice touch.) If anyone had any reason to attack Vegeta, it was him and I feel he didn’t fulfill his role in the film entirely by being killed off like that. Also, did it feel like Broly was kinda like “yeah, m’kay” about his father being dead after the fight was over? I mean, this was the man that raised him for, I don’t know, 35+ years (how old is Vegeta again?)

But there were also plenty of great elements in this movie, that more than outweighed these small imperfections. For example, I loved how this battle gradually escalates. At one point you see Vegeta dominating Broly as a Super Saiyan God (loved the new look by the way), next minute both Goku and Vegeta are trying to double team him as SSJ Blue while he’s smashing them into a mountain. Also I was impressed by the scene where Goku freezes Broly and tries to get him to cool down, while all the past villains flash on the screen. It’s a small reminder of how Goku -and we along with him- has matured throughout the years. Meanwhile, Vegeta just tries to blow him to smithereens…
It wasn’t a one-sided battle but it was truly a fight between Saiyans. None of them wanted to give in, I felt a sense of pride from Broly’s side as well, but Goku and Vegeta have been doing this for a lot longer than he has and fought a lot stronger villains along the way. So it was their experience and willingness to do something entirely un-Saiyan-like that gave them the edge -cooperate. Usually Saiyans would think of cooperation as a form of weakness, yet here we see the birth of a warrior with no equal thanks to that particular trait.

The minute Gogeta took his place on the screen, that battle was over. Broly at least lasted long enough to give him a chance to take us down memory lane, with his failed transformations (was that Veku?) and his rainbow blast. Also, what was up with that background change at one point during this fight? Did they change dimensions or… what? Then right at the last minute, Deus Ex Shenron appears to return Broly to his home planet. Why can’t they just give the boy some proper clothes?
All in all, it was a fantastic visual experience that gave the story of Frieza and the Saiyans deeper meaning. I feel that maybe some of the fight scenes could’ve been sacrificed so that the backstory had more room to breathe, even by one or two scenes. I really enjoyed the reappearance of Nappa, Raditz, even the mention of Tarble (I hope he returns someday) and all the other characters. Maybe Goku and Vegeta could wish for the return of their home planet..? That would be an interesting development! Some people might complain about the lack of Gohan in this movie, but there was no need for him in the way this story progressed. He does need to have his own moment though.
Dragon Ball Super — Broly is a great movie for fans of the franchise and an excellent pass time for the uninitiated that tells the story of a young boy who was exiled due to his uncontrollable power and his father who raised him as a weapon for his own personal vendetta against a king that turned out to be wise. While Paragus’ loss felt unnecessary and poorly executed (literally), there’s absolutely no doubt that this is not the last that we will be seeing of Broly. The movie’s ending leaves it all wide open, so it’s just a matter of time for the announcement of the next series.

Originally published at sopeoplewhatsup.blogspot.com on January 25, 2019.

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Alex Anyfantis

Media graduate, professional journalist and self-proclaimed Final Fantasy fanboy. Interests (and die-hard passions) include gaming and sports (mainly football).