Movie Reviews

Published on January 17th, 2019 | by Joseph Saulnier

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Dragon Ball Super: Broly

It’s 2019.  If you haven’t even heard the word Dragon Ball, you must be living under a rock.  It became an international phenomenon when it hit the USA in the eighties, and is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential works of Japanese animation.  However, it hasn’t been all success for the series, but when series creator Akira Toriyama returned with Dragon Ball Super, the franchise got the revival it so desperately wanted. The series concluding in March 2018 with the heroes victorious after a deathly contest across the multiverse. Dragon Ball Super: Broly (“DBSB”) directly follows the final episode of the series and we find Goku and gang faced with another threat: a mysterious Saiyan warrior with the highest level of destructive potential the world has ever seen.

DBSB starts with a retelling of the events of Bardock: Father of Goku and how Planet Vegeta was destroyed by Frieza.  We learn how not only Goku and Vegeta survive the explosion, but also Broly.  It’s a familiar tale for longtime Dragon Ball fans, but this is the first time it’s incorporated into canon.  This whole part is basically a prologue for the rest of the movie to come, as DBSB fleshes out our villain to an extraordinary degree.  They took Broly, an ungodly powerful tank of an enemy and gave us fleeting moments of a man with a quiet, gentle soul forced into a life of violence.  He is fighting because he doesn’t know any other way.

But in between all of these life-defining moments, DBSB actually gives us some great comedic moments.  Whether it’s Beerus, Bulma’s wish for the Dragon Balls, or Vegeta constantly berating Goku, there were a lot of genuine laugh out loud moments.  The question I am sure is on everyone’s mind, though, is what about the action?  How are the fight scenes, and does Broly live up to the title of Legendary Super-Saiyan?  Well, nearly half the movie is straight up the Broly fight.  That’s 45 minutes of Broly beating the ever-loving crap out of Goku and Vegeta.  Every time you think the fight can’t get any crazier and more intense, there it goes doing just that.  The fight itself is pretty much all anyone could ask for, and then some.  The true gem of the fight was an extended sequence where the fight is shown from Broly’s perspective, in first person.  He’s just an absolute beast, and very unrefined compared to most of the fighters in the series.

It wasn’t all great, unfortunately.  There were awkward transitions to 3D CGI, which slowed down the momentum build up very quickly.  It just takes away from the beauty when we move from the fantastic animation to jumpy models bumping heads.  While it only takes place twice, they are placed at key moments that ruined the moments in which they were inserted.  It’s a shame, too, as the finale could have been one of the best in franchise history if not for this.

At the end of the day, most people care about one thing and one thing only: Broly opening a fresh can of whoop-ass on the Goku Bunch, namely Goku and Vegeta.  It’s just a bonus that Toriyama gave us a well-thought out and developed character along with a rock-solid revival of the Bardock special.  Dragon Ball fans will celebrate this spectacle, and it won’t be long before we start seeing new theories and possibilities for the franchise’s direction.  

4 stars out of 5

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