Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2019) Review

Updated on January 18, 2019
ChrisSawin profile image

Chris is a Houston Film Critics Society Member and a contributor at God Hates Geeks, Slickster Magazine, and What Culture.

The official theatrical poster for, "Dragon Ball Super: Broly."
The official theatrical poster for, "Dragon Ball Super: Broly."

Redefining a Legend

The multiverse aspect of Dragon Ball Super (DBS) opened so many possibilities for the Dragon Ball franchise. Even though the character Kale was basically a female version of Broly in DBS, series creator Akira Toriyama took the ending of DBS as an opportunity to reboot the Broly character and inject a fresh version of him into an entirely new full-length motion picture. What’s extremely cool about Dragon Ball Super: Broly is that it is a reboot and a sequel all rolled into one film that finally solidifies two beloved Dragon Ball characters as canon.

While DBS: Broly does take place immediately after the events of the Universal Survival Saga and the Tournament of Power of Dragon Ball Super, it also reboots the origin of the Saiyans. DBS: Broly takes its inspiration from a mini manga Toriyama wrote back in 2014 entitled Dragon Ball Minus. In reality though, Goku’s origin is now a carbon copy of Superman’s. The two characters have always been similar, but now Goku might as well be the Japanese version of the Man of Steel.

The Legendary Super Saiyan Broly.
The Legendary Super Saiyan Broly.

Broly’s origin has now been altered a bit, as well. King Vegeta realizes that Broly has emerged as the only Saiyan more powerful than his son, so he sends him off in a pod to Planetoid Vampa. Broly’s father Paragus swears revenge on King Vegeta and calls him out on his jealousy before going after his son. Paragus spends the next 41 years training Broly as Goku grows up on Earth and Frieza becomes one of the most devastating villains in this or any universe.

Broly’s origin has now been altered a bit, as well. King Vegeta realizes that Broly has emerged as the only Saiyan more powerful than his son, so he sends him off in a pod to Planetoid Vampa. Broly’s father Paragus swears revenge on King Vegeta and calls him out on his jealousy before going after his son. Paragus spends nearly four decades training Broly as Goku grows up on Earth and Frieza becomes one of the most devastating villains in this or any universe. Once Paragus learns of Vegeta surviving the destruction of their home planet, he insists on using Broly for his vengeance with Frieza cheering from the sidelines.

At one hour and 40 minutes, this is the longest theatrical Dragon Ball film to date (the extended version of Resurrection ‘F’ is two hours and 10 minutes), but the writing of the film deserves to be mentioned. The Dragon Ball franchise has always had an issue with either wasting time with unnecessary flashbacks, long-winded speeches, or simply two guys staring at each other for multiple episodes. The Dragon Ball films that came before DBS: Broly aren’t much better with the majority of them clocking in somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes while every film had a storyline and formula that was similar to both its predecessor and its successor. DBS: Broly has an actual storyline that captures your attention from the get-go. The film has a way of referencing the events of the previous Dragon Ball series and movies without being overbearing. They’re brief, to the point, and serve a purpose. Dragon Ball Super: Broly may be the most well-written Dragon Ball adventure to date.

The first Dragon Ball Super film and 20thDragon Ball film overall expands on where the scouters came from and is the anime debut of Goku’s mom Gine. You also get glimpses at Nappa with Hair, Raditz as a kid, and a young Vegeta briefly acknowledging that he has a brother (Tarble from Yo! Son Goku and Friends Return!! may also be canon now). It’s also interesting to note that Frieza’s flesh is pinker and his appearance is more like how he looks in the manga. One of the big drawing points of the film is that this is the debut of the SSJ God form (pink hair) for Vegeta and yet he uses the transformation without any sort of explanation. However, thankfully the film explains why Broly wears that grass skirt the entire film and it turns out to be the most heartfelt moment DBS: Broly.

Super Saiyan God Vegeta.
Super Saiyan God Vegeta.

It’s funny that Dragon Ball Super: Broly makes a point to show that Bulma is equally as vain as Frieza and vice versa. Their plans for what they want to wish for with the dragon balls are hilarious. DBS: Broly feels like the franchise is going in a new direction while also keeping the best elements from the series you love to make it feel like a natural evolution. Goku being a total dolt and not being the most intelligent guy around is a major source of comedic relief as is Vegeta calling him an idiot repeatedly and being completely embarrassed by working with the likes of Kakarot. While Broly is still this monstrous force that is essentially uncontrollable, the character is more vocal than he’s ever been and he has a back story that invokes sympathy towards his situation.

The animation is a blend of hand drawn animation and a more computer generated style not unlike how the video game Dragon Ball Fighterz looks. The traditional animation is the most impressive with the Goku fight against Broly being a high point. Not only does Broly mop the floor with Goku, but the film actually shows you the fight from Broly’s perspective for this first person view of Broly flying, punching, kicking, and blasting Goku as they chase each other all over the Ice Continent. The CGI is a bit more bulky as the characters seem rounder and more muscular, but it dives into realities being shattered because of the battle being so enormously powerful and Broly also awesomely barfs ki blasts like Godzilla’s atomic breath.

Goku powers up to stand a chance against Broly.
Goku powers up to stand a chance against Broly.

It’s unusual that a film this good and this successful not only debuts in January, but is also this satisfying and masterfully crafted but here we are. Dragon Ball Super: Broly is easily the best Dragon Ball film to date. The animation is superb and the fight against Broly lasts for nearly half of the film (a solid 50 minutes). This is the film Dragon Ball fans have been waiting 20 years for. Touching and humorous with chill-inducing fight sequences that leave you gasping for breath, Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a reminder that Dragon Ball has so much left to offer for both long gestating fans and newcomers.

5 stars for Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2019)

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Chris Sawin

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      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        3 weeks ago from Israel

        Oh, cool!

      • ChrisSawin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Sawin 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, TX

        Very cool. I may look into the One Piece manga at some point. The Yamcha manga is called That Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha. I think it was drawn and created by a fan originally, but gained so much popularity that it was released as a single volume.

      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        3 weeks ago from Israel

        Oooh, Yamcha being badass sounds really interesting; will definitely give it a read.

        As for One Piece, the anime is--barring the soundtrack--terrible, awful pacing that borders on insulting, shoddy animation and badly looking action scenes, all as a result of the studio's chapter-per-episode policy. On the other hand, the manga is pretty damn good, even great at times. I think it has one of the best world-buildings in manga/anime, with a very rich and diverse setting and very-well written story arcs, which really gives a good explanation how the series is still going 20 years after debut. If you'll ever want to start the series, I highly recommend the manga over the anime, although even in that case, it takes a while to get going, but in my opinion it is a worthy exchange for a truly immersive work.

      • ChrisSawin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Sawin 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, TX

        The manga is totally different from the anime since it was adapted after the anime was already ongoing. I haven't read it all, but it's fun to see stuff unexpected happen. That manga about a guy being reincarnated as Yamcha and making him live longer and get stronger is pretty great, too. It's just a one-shot. I'm super weary when it comes to anime that is like 500+ episodes. I'm interested in One Piece, but have never dove into starting it. Feels like it'll take multiple years just to get caught up.

      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        3 weeks ago from Israel

        Unfortunately not at the moment, although I might follow it in the future. I am somewhat pre-occupied with One Piece right now which I started not too ago, but I might give Super a read after I'm done catching up.

      • ChrisSawin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Sawin 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, TX

        I hear you, man. Dragon Ball will always be a big part of what I love about anime. I feel like Super is finally taking the series into uncharted territory, so I hope a new series is on the horizon. I was pretty bummed when they announced Super was ending.

        Are you keeping up with the manga and how it's now in a brand new arc? I really like the design of Moro, so I hope he ends up being cool.

      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        3 weeks ago from Israel

        Yeah, the action always drew me too, but as time passed I also came to acknowledge some of the series' writing elements (especially Vegeta's development). While it has so many flaws that are hard to ignore today (such as its pacing, the power creep, paddled fights, etc), it's still a rather big part of my childhood and what drew me to both anime as a whole and shounen in particular.

        And ye, likewise! Thank you as well!

      • ChrisSawin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Sawin 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, TX

        The action is typically what I'm drawn to and I didn't see Dragon Ball in its entirety until last year, so I mean DBZ is what I've known for so long. I guess I see the flaws of Z more and more over the years as the filler and episodes where nothing seems to happen stand out more than the enjoyable aspects of it as time goes on. The comedy bits of DB seem to stand the test of time a lot more. Goku's inability to comprehend the difference between boys and girls and whipping out his junk at every opportunity will never not be funny to me.

        This is the longest conversation I've ever had on Hub Pages regarding writing, a film, or any topic in general. So thanks for that.

      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        3 weeks ago from Israel

        I think BoG manages to maintain this balance of comedy/action/drama pretty well, especially due to Beerus' overall characterization. RoF... Not so much, although it also has good doses of funny moments. I personally prefer drama/action to comedy in DB, but I understand your preferences as the DBZ portion of the series really kicked the saga to a more serious tone besides some relatively short arcs and fillers.

      • ChrisSawin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Sawin 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, TX

        It's weird, I haven't seen the film versions of BoG and RoF. Only Super, but I did love how those first episodes had a more comedic tone to them. I miss the comedy of the original Dragon Ball series (that series is perfection other than those last three episodes after Goku and Chi Chi get married) being more prominent in later series. The new Broly film seemed to have elements of that as well with Frieza/Bulma and the number of times they make fun of Goku's intelligence.

      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        3 weeks ago from Israel

        I'm sure they won't put him on a bus given the reception his revamped character received and sheer popularity. Would be a waste considering they'll continue DB Super in some form. I do hope they won't re-adapt the movie as an arc like they did with BoG and RoF; it's nice to expand on stories from time to time, but imo it wasn't that necessary for these two.

      • ChrisSawin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Sawin 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, TX

        I felt like he was crazy one-dimensional in the other movies. They gave some depth to him this time around; an innocence that's never really been touched on before. You're actually left wanting to see more of him in whatever aspect that might be.

      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        3 weeks ago from Israel

        Of course. I have watched the original series, Z, GT, Super and all the movies (as well as some of the specials). Personally I never found the original Broly to be an interesting villain beyond his design, but Toriyama's involvement and the movie's canon status made me interested.

      • ChrisSawin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Sawin 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, TX

        Do you keep up with Dragon Ball and are you familiar with Broly? I feel like the film can be enjoyable for people who are at least familiar with who Goku and Vegeta are, but the film has Easter eggs to Broly's previous appearances and little throwbacks to the events of DBZ and Super.

      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        3 weeks ago from Israel

        Once I'll get the option to watch it, I'll be sure to tell you!

      • ChrisSawin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Sawin 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, TX

        Hey, thanks! It's really good. If you end up seeing it, I'm interested in hearing what you think of it.

      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        3 weeks ago from Israel

        This was a really good review! Can't wait to watch this movie myself.

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