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Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2019)
Movie Reviews

Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2019)

Slow-paced action and the erasure of beloved canon make this an uncomfortable experience – even for hardcore Dragon Ball fans.

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King Vegeta (Banjo Ginga) is forced to cower when the intergalactic warlord the Sayans work for – King Cold (Jason Douglas) introduces the Sayan race to his son and successor, Frieza (Chris Ayres). Frieza turns out to be even more ruthless than his father, but gifts the Sayans with new high tech scouters, capable of finding and calculating power levels of any living creature in the area. King Vegeta goes to check on his son in his nursing pod, and discovers another toddler named Broly in the same nursery! Broly is weak, but has such potent latent power that it’s hypothesized by King Vegeta’s advisors that he could be the most powerful warrior in history. As a result, King Vegeta exiles Broly to a distant planet, and Broly’s father Paragus (Dameon Clarke) goes with him.

Years later, Frieza returns to the Sayan planet to destroy it. Before he does, famous warrior Bardock (Sonny Strait) sends his infant Goku to the planet Earth to be spared Planet Vegeta’s destruction.

Jump to Earth, many many years later! Goku (Sean Schemmel) and Vegeta (Christopher Sabat) have already lived the events of the Dragonball Super series. The multiversal tournament is over and they are free to relax and spar in peace. They get an alert that someone’s stolen the Dragonballs and Dragon Radar from Bulma’s office, so they go in search of the thieves, to discover that Frieza, now back from the dead, has sent scouts to steal the balls for him.

Meanwhile. other scouts of Frieza have happened upon the barren planet where Paragus and Broly have been alive this whole time, oblivious to the fact that their home world was destroyed. Paragus has trained Broly to become a powerful warrior, and when he hears that Prince Vegeta is still alive, he agrees to let Frieza use Broly as a weapon to kill our heroes in combat. Paragus is shocked to learn that Super Sayans aren’t just a myth, and fears for his son’s life… but Broly unleashes unimaginable power, making him a formidable foe for Goku and Vegeta, even in their Super Sayan Blue forms!

Dragon Ball Super: Broly is somewhat confusing. As fans of the series know, Broly has appeared in three previous Dragon Ball Z movies already. And yet, this new movie completely resets his origin story and treats it as if those previous movies never existed. Even while I’m as big a fan as you’re likely to meet, I was forced to research why, only to discover those movies, much like the series Dragonball GT, isn’t considered series cannon as creator Akira Toryiama had no part in their creation. So even though we’ve seen the Z Fighters combat Broly on multiple occasions, none of that really happened in the continuation of the main series, making this the first time he’s ever technically appeared. Like I said, it’s a little confusing. It’s also sad, since the first Broly movie was most fans’ favorite Dragonball film. So, to learn that never really happened felt like a crushing blow.

So how was this new movie? Personally, I thought it was awful. Well, OK, let me back track. To give credit where it’s due, the new origin for Broly and his motivation for fighting Goku is much stronger here than in the original movies. Unfortunately, he’s the only character with stronger motivation this time around. Hearing what Bulma’s wish would have been, and then what Frieza plans his wish to be made me roll my eyes so hard. Like many humorous moments in the series and the films, it’s something that is obviously meant to be funny, but comes off as just over-the-top ridiculous and goofy. Lame, rather than funny.

Also, it took a very long time for any fighting to finally happen. And then once it did, it quickly became repetitive, with many of the same moves happening over and over again for extended periods of time.

I liked how they explained Broly’s powers, but at the same time it also felt a little too easy and made me wonder why no Sayan before him had the same sort of abilities. Especially since it’s known to all fans of the show that a Sayan becomes more powerful with every fight and near-death experience. But this is the first time Broly has ever fought someone who wasn’t his father (and his dad is infinitely weaker than the Z fighters). So it was cool… but also felt like a cheat.

There’s another major element in the climax of the film that irritated me. Again, we’re re-introduced to something that has happened in a previous DBZ movie (I won’t say exactly what as I don’t want to spoil the climax), but they treat this event like it’s never happened before! Again, apparently certain (most?) of the DBZ movies are not considered cannon, no matter how popular they may be.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly is filled with many things guaranteed to confuse fans who didn’t realize the things they enjoyed before were no longer cannon. It’s also dreadfully slow-paced, and the fighting fluctuates between cool and repetitive while also being poorly written (despite having a screeplay by series creator Akira Toriyama himself). They should have just let the original Broly movies stand as the “real” iteration of the character and made this Broly’s 3rd comeback rather than a total reboot.

About the Author: Travis Seppala