Review: Dragon Ball Super: Broly – Meaningful reboot for the classic villain

son goku dragon ball super broly movie still

Dragon Ball Super The Movie: Broly ドラゴンボール超スーパー ブロリー (2018)

Movie review

Directed by the Dragon Ball Super anime series’ co-director Nagamine Tatsuya (One Piece Film Z, HappinessCharge PreCure! anime series), and yet again written and personally supervised by the legendary creator himself Akira Toriyama, this movie reboots the previously non-canonical villain of the franchise’s film series, Broly. Here, the character is given an updated origin story and is now made canon in the current series through the involvement of the resurrected Frieza.

If you grew up watching the franchise’s releases and remember Son Goku arriving Earth crying butt naked and his cries were the reason why Broly hated the protagonist, forget all that as this film gives everything a slight to overhaul reimagining. The story takes place after the Universe Survival Saga in the Dragon Ball Super anime series but I haven’t been following since after Z. Thankfully it doesn’t really matter and the film gives a bit of recaps through dialogues of what happened. And I had a great time watching it without feeling too familiar with everything.

broly closeup dragon ball super broly movie

Like in most Dragon Ball Z movies, Goku (Masako Nozawa) and Vegeta (Ryō Horikawa) are enjoying their usual training and pleasures of eating until a powerful threat is sensed and they fly there to fight it. But that’s the only cliche the film uses. There’s not as many fan servicing. The usual characters like Gohan, Krillin, Tien Shin Han and Master Roshi don’t feature at all while the others that do only appear for a minute and aren’t involved in the fight. And the battle doesn’t end with a big finishing move after Goku “borrows” powers from his comrades when he’s beaten. Instead, it allows continuity. I like it. It’s refreshing approach that could get older fans like myself to come back and watch the Super series or future films.

Surprisingly the film spends the entire first act, or more, to patiently tell the new origin story of Goku and Broly in Planet Vegeta. More screen time than Man of Steel (2013) uses for Superman’s parents in Planet Krypton. The film effectively makes Broly a meaningful character instead of just the bigger, stronger bad guy that he was in the past films who simply just gets defeated and forgotten. Here, he’s a tragic anti-villain with unknown limits to his power. He gives the fans of the protagonists somewhat of a dilemma. You want to see Goku win but you don’t want Broly to lose either. Not only that, his story progresses Goku’s, his Saiyan heritage and his future fight-combo with Vegeta. All that without giving up the consistent faithfulness of the franchise’s tone and good humour.

The film may start slow for proper storytelling and character development but it eventually does give the fun, cool and violent Super Saiyan action that fans love to see albeit only a total of four characters actually fight this time. There’s also added context and explanation to make the fights more interesting to watch instead of just fireballs and quick-moving punches and kicks. The battle certainly has more emotional weight than usual in Dragon Ball movies. In overall, the film is superior to the past films involving the non-canonical Broly. Perhaps the only thing I really miss from previous ones is the fully hand-drawn animations of the old days.

What I would’ve named the film: “Man of Steel: Doomsly”

Malaysian censorship: Highly doubt anything would be censored. There’s a lot of violence as you’d expect from a Dragon Ball anime but the characters are not humans and our local censorship board probably couldn’t care less about animations. Plus, it ain’t Goku and Bulma of the old days *wink*

Second opinions: My girlfriend enjoyed it as well, saying that even the fighting is interesting and was pleased that the characters are still as cute as before. My friend, a fellow Dragon Ball fan who secretly skipped half-day work to join me at the press screening, liked it as well. He thought that it’s lots of fun, the action is nice, the animation is good and is pleased that Broly is now canon.

Verdict: If you’re a Dragon Ball fan, it’s unlikely you’d be disappointed. You don’t even need to follow the current Super series to enjoy this canonical movie.

Rating: 4 / 5

Dragon Ball Super Broly movie poster keyart malaysiaCountry / Language: Japan / Japanese
Based on: “Dragon Ball” manga series by Akira Toriyama

Genre: Anime, fantasy martial arts
Running Time: 100 minutes
Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
Screenwriter: Akira Toriyama
Voice Cast: Masako Nozawa, Ryō Horikawa, Bin Shimada, Ryūsei Nakao, Aya Hisakawa, Toshio Furukawa, Takeshi Kusao, Kōichi Yamadera, Masakazu Morita, Katsuhisa Hōki

Malaysia Release Date: 27 December 2018
Rated: P13
Local Distributor: 20th Century Fox Malaysia
Production: Toei Animation

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