Reviewing an anime film like Dragon Ball Super: Broly is going to have some complexities. There’s no denying that these films are made for the fans of the series. They aren’t made with the purpose of branching out to a new audience. Make no mistake here, Dragon Ball Super: Broly is for those who have watched the show first, which is why this movie manages to excel in so many regards.
With all that being said, I believe it is fair to review this movie from the perspective of a fan. I’ve been watching Dragon Ball for a long time so this movie really hit home in terms of nostalgia. It’s easily one of the best anime movies ever made and the best Dragon Ball related product in years. If you have even a passing interest in the show, Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a must-watch.
The story of this movie is all about Broly. He is the main character and driver of the plot. Akira Toriyama wanted to make his own version of the character and he’s done an excellent job. The movie also gives some background to the destruction of Planet Vegeta, a scene which has been done before. However, this is the definitive re-telling of the incident. And yes, Bardock: The Father of Goku is no longer canon as it would contradict this movie. It’s not ideal since that special was amazing but it’s also not a major issue.
I’d like to quickly mention a small point that may not be relevant to everyone. The prologue part of the movie is an adaptation of the Dragon Ball Minus manga. Now, I know this story has a bad reputation among fans, so some of you might be worried. However, the movie manages to make the manga somewhat palatable. It’s very short and actually done a little better than the source material. There’s no need to worry about it, is what I’m trying to say.
The characters make the story more enjoyable. Broly is a great villain who has more layers to his personality than the original. Even Paragus gets a more fleshed-out role in this movie. The set-up to the epic battle between Goku,Vegeta and Broly is surprisingly well-thought out. Broly and Paragus are given a very good reason to fight the Saiyans from Earth. It felt like a very natural occurrence.
Some of supporting characters are great as well. There are these two Frieza soldiers who play an important role, Cheelai and Lemo. They bring a lot of personality and energy to the movie. There isn’t too much else I can say about them without spoilers, but they are good additions to the Dragon Ball universe.
One of the best characters in the movie is Frieza. Once again, saying too much would spoil some key moments. Regardless, Frieza has a ton of awesome scenes throughout. One clear aspect about this is how Frieza has grown over time. He’s actually developed. Not to say he’s become a good guy now. In fact, far from it. Frieza is still extremely petty and wants revenge against Goku. The writers have added another dimension to his evil ways that keeps the character engaging and fresh.
Goku and Vegeta are also great in this movie, especially because of the voices of Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat, respectively. The two rivals have good chemistry and there’s plenty of back and forth between them. They also have quite a few funny moments together which brings back memories of Dragon Ball Z.
Speaking of which, the writing in this movie was excellent. There was a healthy amount of humour and all of it was funny. None of the jokes felt forced or cringeworthy. The delivery, timing and content were all perfect. Dragon Ball has always been partial to a bit of humour, but it doesn’t always pay off. This time, it was the right choice and worked out.
Outside of the humour, the writing maintains its quality. There are moments when the jokes take a backseat during the more emotional moments. Those moments aren’t very common, but that’s not to be expected. Too much drama would’ve ruined the flow of action. Besides, Dragon Ball has never been about over-dramatic moments and that’s how it should stay. There is no need to over-complicate something as simple as a Shounen anime.
Now, the best part of the movie. It’s the animation and fight sequences. This is one of the most gorgeous animated movies I’ve ever seen. The hand-drawn segments are stunning. Characters move in smooth and fluid motions. There is probably one (maybe two) scene where the animation looks a tad off, but it’s a small scene that’s over quickly. Then it’s right back to the action.
Before I talk about the actual fights, I should mention the CGI. Yes, this movie does use it and also during some of the battles. It’s not as jarring as you would think but the difference is still obvious. In an ideal world, I’d love for the whole movie to be animated. That’s just not feasible with the sort of things they tried to do during the action scenes. However, this is still a negative point and one of the flaws of this movie.
As for the fighting, it is fantastic. The choreography and scale of battle the best in Dragon Ball. All the fights flow at the perfect pace, capturing the nature of battles while allowing viewers to witness every blow. Broly’s fighting style is especially brutal, which contrasts with Goku and Vegeta’s focus on technique and skill. Every single fight manages to somehow outdo the last.
To top it all of, there’s that classic Dragon Ball soundtrack. The music sucks you into a vortex of hype and gets you pumped up to see the action. I don’t want to mention specifically what the music does, since it’s quite unique. Aside from being a spoiler, it’s best to go into this movie without knowing about certain things out of context. If I told you about it now, the scene would make little sense. In context, the music is the perfect fit.
For most of this review, I’ve just been praising this movie. The truth is, I don’t have many complaints about it. Aside from changing Bardock and the occasional CGI, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, has everything I wanted. It’s wonderful to see that the Dragon Ball franchise still has some life left in it. I was expecting the worst after Dragon Ball Super, but the series has somehow managed to revitalise itself in the best way possible. If you get the opportunity to see this in theatre, don’t pass it up. It’s absolutely worth every cent.