Dragon Ball Super: Broly | Movie Review | 9Lives
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SPOILER WARNING: Plot summary ahead! If you would like to explore the wondrous adventure of Dragon Ball Super: Broly without any spoilers, you may use the instant transmission technique.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly erupts on screen in a continuation of the cinematic return of Dragon Ball and the first canon appearance of the legendary Broly, a Saiyan warrior with untold power, who fans of the franchise have yearned to see again since his debut in Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan in 1993.

This time series creator Akira Toriyama would reinterpret the legend of Broly and the secrets of the Saiyan’s power in a brilliant display of storytelling that champions what enchanted us most in the original ’80s and ’90s series. Presented in a directorial marvel of rich colour cascading in bouts of kinetic combat, powerful energy pulses and scarred landscapes that quiver to the clashing wills of the Saiyan warriors as the fast and frenzied action of Dragon Ball is brought to life in a way never before seen.


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The adventure begins 41 years before Dragon Ball’s present day with the descent of the tyrannical King Cold, and the full fleet of the frightening Cold Force on the Saiyan homeworld, Planet Vegeta. Enslaved and subjugated, the proud Saiyan warriors are reduced to soldiers in the conquest of planets for profit in the continuous expansion of the Cold empire.


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On this day, a new terror would chill the hearts of the once mighty Saiyan race as the Cold Force celebrates the inauguration of the iconic Frieza, King Cold’s son, and the vile villain that would vow to one day destroy the Saiyans in fear of a legend. A legend that would fuel King Vegeta, ruler of the Saiyan race, to fight back and claim a future free of Frieza’s lineage, but he would not accomplish this.


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Instead, the hope of reclaiming their honor would be inherited by prince Vegeta, a Saiyan child with vast reserves of strength and believed to be the only one capable of realising the legend of the Super Saiyan, until… the emerald glow of another incubation chamber fills the room dedicated to Saiyan children with high battle potential. Infuriated, King Vegeta demands the identity of the child whose power would rival his son’s.

This child’s name is Broly.


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In fear and envy, King Vegeta exiles Broly to the repugnant planetoid Vampa. As news reaches Broly’s father, Paragus, he rushes to confront the King, demanding to know why his son has been discarded, but the debate would end in despair as the hope of ever seeing his son again dwindles. Fleeing from the frightening thought and abandoning his ancestral home, Paragus steals a star cruiser to search for his son, swearing to one day take revenge on King Vegeta.


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In the years to come, unrest would continue to grow in the Saiyan warrior ranks, as their might grows as well. Bardock, father of Dragon Ball’s greatest hero Goku, fears that Frieza may come to the conclusion that the Saiyan race must to be culled. Frieza’s apprehension forces him to take action and answer Bardock’s dread as the overlord decides to destroy Planet Vegeta but not before sending little Kakarot (Goku) to a frontier planet called Earth.


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The adventure of Dragon Ball begins as Goku learns of his Saiyan heritage. He battles the proud Saiyan prince Vegeta, faces the fearsome Frieza, defeats the ultimate android Cell, boldly braves the onslaught of Majin Buu and even takes part in a universal tournament to test the might of the greatest warriors in existence. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the next foe.


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Somewhere in the distant reaches of space Broly is being trained by Paragus and as fate would direct them, their distress signal is received by scouts of the revived Frieza Force, Lemo and Cheelai. The two befriend the mild-mannered Broly who, for the first time, is treated as more than a tool for war. Recruited and reinstated, Broly and Paragus return to Frieza as news of the surviving Saiyans and Broly’s immeasurable power inspire the villain to pursue vengeance against the heroic Goku once more, but this time he is determined to hold Saiyan might of his own.


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In a journey to collect the seventh and last dragon ball, our heroes venture to the glacial northern wastes, only to be met by a Frieza’s familiar presence and a mysterious power emanating from his ship. It would be the first time in 41 years that Broly and Paragus would see their fellow Saiyans, but seeing Vegeta’s visage tears joy from their hearts as fury erupts.


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By his command, Paragus unleashes Broly in the greatest combat sequence in Dragon Ball history. With every blow, Broly matches the strength displayed by Vegeta, with even the golden glow of the Super Saiyan form seemingly no match for the Saiyan brute’s immeasurable might. Pushed to the limit, the Saiyan prince is forced to transform once more as crimson shards of light enfold him, and the Super Saiyan God form is unlocked. Utterly outmatched, Vegeta makes short work of the Saiyan brute Broly — or so it would seem.


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Defeat does not weaken this Saiyan, as his power swells, seemingly in response to his adversary’s advances. In the silence that follows Broly’s mighty roar, Goku enters the icy ring and challenges his Saiyan kinsman. The warriors take flight in a marvel of cinematography as the camera maneuvers around the mighty combatants and even takes a first-person perspective during the bout, which has never been seen in Dragon Ball.


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With Goku’s Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan God forms defeated, the emerald light emanating from Broly only grows more brilliant. As the earth cracks under the weight of the warrior-brute’s wrath, our heroes resolve to reveal their true power in the ascended Super Saiyan God form known as Super Saiyan Blue. Busting into combat, clad in ethereal energy, Super Saiyan Blue matches Broly’s power as the mysterious Saiyan seems to reach his limit, until…


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Frieza, having battled the first Super Saiyan, is all too aware of the requirements for the transformation — the pain of loss — and aims to trigger the transformation in Broly by mercilessly murdering his father, Paragus. Horror and harrowing heartache splinters the Saiyan warrior as he sheds the hesitation to hurt others, and reveals a power never before seen. A power that one could call legendary.


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With the combined efforts of Goku and Vegeta in their Super Saiyan Blue forms, our heroes are unable to stand against the Legendary Super Saiyan and retreat, having one last trump card to play. Alone our heroes couldn’t defeat the Saiyan brute, but together perhaps they could. Here we reach the highlight of Dragon Ball Super: Broly. The first canon appearance of the mighty Gogeta, a fusion character consisting of Goku and Vegeta in a union achieved through the hilarious and adorably whimsical fusion dance, which the proud Prince Vegeta is very reluctant to perform.


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As the prince swallows his pride, our heroes unite and combine their might to form the most powerful warrior in the universe. One that might even defeat Broly. The incredible soundtrack by Norihito Sumitomo swells as the final battle commences and the warriors clash with their most iconic techniques in a breathtaking display of animation that embodies emotion with every movement.


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As the world-breaking battle reaches its end, and Broly’s power is truly eclipsed for the first time, Gogeta triumphantly readies the fan-favourite and genre defining Kamehameha energy wave, unleashing the brilliant beam of light towards Broly. This is where the Saiyan brute would meet his end, but his friends would never allow that. Lemo and Cheelai have taken the collection of dragon balls which, when gathered, grant any wish, and just as all seems lost Broly wakes to find that he has been transported back to Vampa, the planetoid on which he was raised.


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Furious at the failure of his plan, Frieza reluctantly retreats, until the next time the icy overlord will challenge our heroes. Broly, no longer alone, is free to forge a future of friendship and peace as he’s joined by Lemo and Cheelai, and even share a warrior’s bond with Goku.


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“What’s your name?”

“I’m Goku. But Broly, you can call me Kakarot.”

Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a brilliant achievement of storytelling and expressive animation in the most impressive installment in the Dragon Ball cinematic universe. Reviving the wonder of the series’ action-adventure spirit, I can’t wait to join our heroes in a quest to gather the dragon balls once more.

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