“DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY” review: Most action-packed film in the series
For the latest Dragon Ball movie, the creative team and series creator Akira Toriyama had a tough task ahead of them. How do you make Broly, a villain created only for the movies, a part of official Dragon Ball lore in a believable way that would appeal to fans of the original movie and those who want nothing to do with him?
With Dragon Ball Super: Broly – out January 16 – Toriyama and the Toei team did just that by bringing a story with heart, callbacks and plenty of action. In fact, the Broly movie may have the most fast-paced action of any Dragon Ball film to date, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly’s story is a solid one, albeit one with missed opportunities. Still, the length of film and the time given to action sequences make up for the limited amount of time spent with certain characters.
The tale of the Legendary Super Saiyan begins when Frieza becomes the ruler of the Saiyans. Fans of Dragon Ball are familiar with the last days of Planet Vegeta and the Saiyan race. But the Broly film does a good job of framing a story that mixes King Vegeta’s jealousy of Broly’s power. Frieza’s paranoia about the Legendary Super Saiyan and a re-working of Goku’s origins that includes not just Bardock. But his mother, Gine, who was previously only seen in a manga story..
These were all nice touches and makes Broly and his father Paragus more sympathetic figures. That as they leave and escape the destruction of Planet Vegeta.
When I say missed opportunities, I mean getting more exposition and time with King Vegeta, and especially Bardock and Gine. The film relies heavily on fans’ prior knowledge and connections with these characters instead. That of giving them a reason to like or dislike them before Frieza blows them all to hell.
Even when we spend time with a young Broly and Paragus
There’s no time for a connection before we are whisked away to the present where we meet Goku. Vegeta and the others after the Tournament of Power arc.
However, when we get to the present the story really picks up. Goku, Vegeta, Bulma, Whis and Beerus keep that wonderful chemistry from the Dragon Ball Super series, delivering one-liners and insults. That give the movie some levity before the impending danger. Frieza got the biggest laughs out of me, and I suspect he’ll do the same for you.
Broly and his father are given more depth in this film, which was much needed. Their motivations are understandable if not misguided. New characters Cheelai and Lemo are welcome additions and interesting foils to Broly’s hulking body and shy demeanor.
The story and characters in the Broly film aren’t going to set the world on fire. The film could have hammered home the “sins of the father” aspects, but all the threads come together to bring fans an enjoyable Dragon Ball adventure. But all of that takes backseat to the action.
I said it earlier, but the action in the Broly movie is worth the price of admission alone. The character designs and fluidity of the animation need to be commended.
Dragon Ball has always been an innovator in fight scenes and bombastic action, and Broly takes that to the next level. The film is about an hour 40 minutes long with the final fight scene taking about 40 of those minutes.
Once the action gets started it doesn’t let up. Fighters shoot energy blasts, punch through mountains, block and dodge attacks— you can’t take your eyes off of it. But it’s not just the action itself. The directors took some creative risks with camera angles and points of view.
There’s one part of the fight, early on. That puts the viewers in the point of view of Broly as he’s punching Goku through ice mountains. It’s pretty incredible especially on the big theater screen.
Vegeta, Goku and Broly all get their moments to shine in this massive fight and the emergence of Gogeta.The fusion of our two protagonists, is great bringing the Dragon Ball canon into a new era.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly ‘s final fight scene is over-the-top, brutal and has everything fans will want to see. There’s also some nifty call backs to the first Broly film that fans will enjoy.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is the most action-packed film in the series history. Period. While the story could have been more fleshed out, considering the constraints of a movie it makes sense to cut bits short. If Toei decides to re-tell this movie in an animated series over multiple episodes, there’s a lot to mine from it. Even if they don’t, Broly sets up a ton of story potential for the franchise.
Whether you’re a Dragon Ball fan or a fan of Shonen anime, I highly recommend watching Broly. And if you can, try and catch it in theaters, you won’t regret it.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly releases in North American theaters on January 16. Tickets can be purchased on the Funimation site.
Rating: PG (for prolonged frenetic sequences of action and violence, and for language)
Directed By: Tatsuya Nagamine
Stars: Masako Nozawa, Aya Hisakawa, Ryô Horikawa
Written By: Akira Toriyama
In Theaters: Jan 16, 2019 Limited
On Disc/Streaming: Apr 16, 2019
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: FUNimation Films
CRITIC REVIEWS FOR DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY
The final scenes are so obviously open-ended, and fraught with promises of things to come, that the filmmakers might as well have concluded with a title card: “Stay tuned for our next exciting episode.”
“Broly” delivers exactly what “Dragon Ball” fans want from a feature; newcomers may find themselves lost in places.
The Broly movie may have the most fast-paced action of any Dragon Ball film to date, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
If you’re a Dragon Ball fan, you’re going to love this film…if you’re a casual fan, or not a fan, I would say that there are a lot of things left unsaid and you’ll feel a little bit lost.