‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’ entertaining and engaging
If you were a certain age, specifically eight, growing up at a certain time, specifically the late ’90s to the early 2000s, there was one show you were unable to escape: Dragon Ball Z. The show chronicled the adventures of Goku, a protagonist who is equal parts Superman and Jesus all mixed into one spiky-haired strongman. Sent to Earth to avoid being hunted down by his planet’s authorities, Goku remains one of the only survivors of his race, the Saiyans. For years, Goku reigned as the strongest there was, that is, of course, until the subject of this new film arrived: Broly.
Those unfamiliar with the mythos can relax. Dragon Ball Super: Broly does a reasonable job with catching you up to speed on the two characters you’ll be following the most. Goku and Broly. The first 20 minutes are devoted to what began their stories: Broly, being marooned as a child on a volatile planet where the only source of sustenance is a viscous yellow liquid, and Goku, having been sent to Earth with the love of his friends and family. It’s a retelling of the Charles Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities if instead of the French Revolution, it centred on two superaliens throwing each other into mountains.
After that 20-minute grace period, the film, essentially, throws you into the deep end and hopes you can swim. There’s a quick montage of 20 years’ worth of Dragon Ball Z stories, and then you watch as Goku interacts with an 11-foot-tall blue man(?), a human-sized, purple Egyptian cat who is known as a ‘God of Destruction’ then goes off to find the seventh dragon ball, which, if collected with the other six, will summon the mystical dragon Shenron to grant the collector one wish.
Ridiculous as it is, Dragon Ball Super: Broly is an entertaining and engaging film. There are several moments that feel very much like a children’s TV show, especially in the exposition-laden dialogue. But the movie is surprisingly self-aware and has very strong moments of character that can be appreciated, even from a newcomer’s perspective. The animation is slick when it needs to be, albeit a little choppy when it doesn’t. All that matters, really, is the fighting, which at the end of the day, was more than solid entertainment.