Well my readers we return to Dragonball with the most recent movie, and man I have a bunch of lore to unpack first.
Ok first after Battle of Gods there was another Dragonball movie Resurrection F featuring the return of its best villain Frieza. While not as good as Battle of Gods both were successful enough to green light a new Dragonball series called Dragonball Super. That series ended with a big inter-dimensional tournament that brought us the return of some old favorites like Master Roshi and Android 17 being brought back to the limelight. The first canon female Super Saiyans, who also fused thus being the first canon female fusion and Frieza being returned to life as a thank you for helping,
The series ended and its spot in the time slot was taken over by GeGeGe no Kitaro (check that series out its really good, especially if you’re interested in Japanese folklore) but the people in charge promised more Dragonball and a movie was in the works. Sometime later a teaser trailer dropped showing Goku in an icy environment about to fight a foe that we only partially saw. What was notable is the animation was slightly different, rather than trying to copy the same art style all of Dragonball had used this one changed a bit.
Now lore is still coming so be patient. Eventually the identity of the foe was revealed as was the name of the movie Dragonball Super: Broly. Now time for A LOT more back story. Back when Dragonball Z was still airing about every year there was a movie, most were crap but a few characters ended up standing out such as Cooler Frieza’s older brother another was Broly. Broly first appeared in 1993s film Broly the Legendary Super Saiyan as what I can only describe as a self parody of Dragonball, he was a big overly muscular character with spiky hair that yelled a lot going on about power levels. How that character became so popular alludes me as you can tell by my description, I didn’t like him one bit, and yet he got 2 more movies, both of which sucked. But anyway Broly remained in the cultural fan base even though it was made abundantly clear the movies and thus Broly were non canon.
So here we were, a new Dragonball movie, starring the character I hated. But then we found something out, this wasn’t the same Broly. This was a new iteration of the character and would be canon (also one of those two female Super Saiyans mentioned earlier was basically female Broly from another universe). So it was time to see if the new movie could make the character I hate work. Yes, yes it did.
Right away you can see this movie got a good animation budget as the animation is spectacular. The film can be divided into 3 main acts. The first is set in the past as the people of Planet Vegeta lead by King Vegeta father of Prince Vegeta (of Over 9000 fame) is rather abruptly greeted by King Cold who has arrived to inform them and introduce them to Frieza who will now be taking over his empire. What follows is a mix of Broly’s new origin and an adoption of Dragonball minus (a small Manga chapter made after Battle of Gods that introduced Goku’s mother Gine) And I’m happy to say, they got rid of the stupid Broly hates Goku because Goku cried a bit and made everything A LOT more interesting and million times less stupid (original Broly was dumb)
The second part is set after the Universe Survival arc (final arc of Dragonball Super) where turns out Frieza has stolen 6 of the 7 Dragon Balls while two members of the Frieza force Cheelai and Lemo are out looking for new recruits to help grow the Frieza Force (it was not doing well with its entire leadership dead and in Hell) when they find Broly and his father Paragus (and right away people began pairing Cheelai and Broly). It should be noted that Vic Mignogna of Full Metal Alchemist fame has returned to play Broly in this new movie despite having like me previously hated the character, he was probably very happy to do something other than just yelling a lot this time.
The final act is basically Broly vs. anyone they want to throw at him, Broly vs. Vegeta (Prince, not the Planet) Broly vs. Goku, Super Saiyan Broly vs. Goku and Vegeta, Broly vs. Frieza and finally legendary Super Saiyan Broly vs. Gogeta the fusion of Goku and Vegeta. This part of the film has been described as a big fireworks display, and given that great animation you are in for quite a display as the two final combatants are so powerful they break the fabric of reality.
So is this new version of Broly good? Well yes, rather than being a lunatic that goes on about how powerful he is we instead get an innocent person who was thrown onto a savage planet with only really his father who wanted to use him for revenge to keep him company. Cheelai and Lemo becoming the first major friends he made. So he is rather a reserved person not fully knowing how to act but turns into a raging beast in combat.
The first act shows how he ended up on that world but also gave us the first time seeing Goku’s mother fully animated, which did leave some fans annoyed as it raised the issue of the canonicity of the special “Bardock the Father of Goku” (though you can see Bardock’s team in some group shots as a nice cameo)
The second act then allows us to see the people we know a little, show what is at stake (surprisingly little, Frieza isn’t trying to kill everyone this time for once, he just got opportunistic with Broly) while mainly serving to let us meet the new Broly and his new friends Cheelai and Lemo (let’s hope a spin off happens).
Act 3 however is just letting everything explode in a gloriously animated HD battle, yeah nothing else can be said about that.
Highly recommend it and mandatory for any Dragonball fan, Broly is dead, long live Broly. (Also if you’re going to call me out for spoiling Gogeta shows up, and thus also comes into the canon, the trailers did that ages ago.)