Above everything else Dragon Ball Super: Broly is an animation showpiece. It cycles through several styles as it goes on and you can really feel the animators putting their stamp on Dragon Ball here. It’s also a third backstory and setup for two thirds of one big fight with then a nice little epilogue. Though there is good character writing and Akira Toriyama’s particular brand of humor is in full display.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly starts out as flashback to before the start of the original series, back before planet Vegeta was destroyed and the Saiyans were wiped out. This part of the movie is an adaptation of Dragon Ball Minus, a 14-page comic which came out in 2014 in which Akira Toriyama retconned the origin story for Goku and the character of his father, Bardock. One of the problems with minus was that it strips Bardock of the brutality that made him stand out in his origin film (Bardock – The Father of Goku) and makes Goku’s origin exactly like Superman’s instead of an inversion of it. The original Bardock film was made with little input from Toriyama and the result was a story that was darker and less lighthearted than something Toriyama would write. This was the whole appeal of Bardock and made him stand out and it’s why Minus has been fairly maligned.
The other problem with Minus is that at only about 14 pages it’s really short. But this is the problem that Super: Broly actually solves. There’s just enough extra fleshing out of the events from the manga to make it work as a story, even though it is just background and mostly serving as a contrast to the main feature here: Broly and his origin.
Broly’s origin is also being redone here, but the Broly movies are garbage so that’s barely worth talking about.
The big thing to note is that Broly isn’t just another foe for Vegeta and Goku to fight in this film, really this is his movie. I know I talked all about Goku’s origin but that’s not really a story on it’s own, it’s backstory that serves as fanservice and to contrast with Broly’s origin. Broly is the character who has a full arc and it’s Broly who is in the normal hero role in the fight: constantly struggling and getting constantly stronger as the fight rages on. Which I think is the most interesting aspect of this fight, that this time it’s Goku and Vegeta who completely outclass Broly at the start of this fight (Broly can’t even go Super Saiyan) but Broly keeps adapting and getting stronger. Though Broly is still Broly, Dragon Ball’s version of the incredible Hulk, so he is still an uncontrollable screaming machine which makes the fight ultimately a little less emotionally satisfying than it might have been, at least for me, but it does make it more unique.
The thing that makes this movie for me is the character work and animation, and that special brand of very dumb Toriyama humor. I’m less impressed with this big fight than most Dragon Ball fans seem to be but I still quite enjoyed it. The amount of effort they poured into the animation for this movie and the strong fan reaction to it is certainly exciting for the future of Dragon Ball and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Also the best parts of this movie mostly have to do with Freeza. The way his character has been built on since being brought back from the dead have been great.
Thank You For Your Time.