Friday, January 18, 2019

Dragon Ball Super Broly Review

Dragon Ball Super Broly was surprisingly amazing. It's not -just- a dumb action fighter movie. It IS one with insane action sequences, and if that's all you needed, go freaking see it while it's still in theaters.

I have a long complicated history with Dragon Ball, and especially regarding the titular character, Broly. That is to say, prior to seeing this film I absolutely loathed the character from the old film series (for those that don't know there were old Dragon Ball Z movies back in the day that did not fit into the TV show's story, three of those starred Broly, whom in those versions was a big dumb brute whose only motivation was that as a child he heard another child crying and this upset him, the other child being Goku, so he has to kill him now for.... reasons). The old Broly was a cardboard cut out of a character who made no goddamn sense and was only popular because "his power level is maximum!"

But this movie, unlike the old ones, is actually connected to the TV series in plot and is thus a completely different story. The drama is in full effect here in this film and I cried my eyes out several times. Incidentally, this is not a terrible starting point as it shows the origins of the main characters of this story - Goku, Vegeta, and the new Broly, and how each survived the destruction of their shared home world because of, or in one case in spite of, their parents and the different ways this has impacted who each of them are.

This may all sound pretty heavy, and it can be, but it ALSO lays on the comedy in well timed doses to keep it from being a slog and there are multiple moments that had me laughing my ass off. Goku not knowing what Repugnant meaning and actually asking his adversary to define it for him, or the revelation of what Freeza wanted to wish for on the dragon balls being keen examples of this.

Visually the animation is the absolute best I've ever seen for this series, and that says an awful lot. The pretty is in full force here, and sparkling in some CGI here and there tastefully helped compliment the absolutely stunning hand animation. The soundtrack was on point, but I wouldn't necessarily call it amazing - though I really enjoyed the riff on the Dragon Ball Z theme song, Head Cha La early on.

This continuing past the end of Dragon Ball Super did concern me somewhat as I am still following it's weekly dubbed airings on the Toonami block, Saturday nights on Adult Swim. However, no major spoilers for the current arc appeared for me, much to my surprise.

The only major thing that could impede viewers is if they were not current with the show is the presence of Freeza, a longstanding villain previously thought dead. Though he was notably revived in 2015's 'Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F', he was defeated at the end of such, and so was previously thought dead, he recently made his return in Dragon Ball Super, and as such is present here.

All of this though avoids the biggest reason I loved this movie, and that's Broly himself. No longer presented as a brutish moron, Broly is now a tormented soul who engenders a good amount of sympathy. While he is the antagonist of the film, he is being used, first by his abusive father, and then by Freeza, and what ultimately sets him over the edge into a mad like rage is one of the most heartbreaking moments of the film.

I would say this film is perfect but for a bit of overuse of action towards the end that attempts to add suspense to a dramatic moment, but really just feels like padding, but this is like saying that a masterpiece cake isn't perfect because the icing is a bit too rich. I'd still call this film an absolute masterpiece, a 9/10 and heavily recommended.

No comments: