Right, so this is one of the most prominent parts of the DBZ film library. Broly, the Legendary Super Saiyan, whose biggest battle was trying to find his way into the canon of the series despite being a permanent fan favorite. While almost 25 years later this eventually happens, one of the reasons I even decided to watch the original DBZ movies in the first place was to discover the history of the only movie-only character to break into the canon.
Now, we are here.
As per usual, this movie is spurred into action by the entropy of the Z-Fighters deciding to go on a picnic. I cannot fathom why they keep trying, by the end of this I will tally how many movies begin this way. Even Vegeta shows up to this one, sitting under a distant tree as to not give the impression that he wants to be there. Goku and Chi-chi are absent because they are interviewing with a school for Gohan, but spirits are kept high as Master Roshi gets drunk (a running gag throughout the movie) and Krillen opts to sing for the group.
As it tends to go, things get weird immediately. A ship lands and unloads a bunch of guys only describable as henchmen-like along with a Saiyan named Paragus. One thing I wasn’t expecting from this movie was the humor in it, I only thought of the Broly movies as grim last stands against an invincible berserker. I wasn’t wrong, of course, but it does add a little exposition before this.
At the same time that King Kai warns Goku of an impending Legendary Super Saiyan threat, Paragus tells Vegeta that he and his son Broly have been creating a new planet for the Prince of Saiyans to inhabit — all while Krillen is still singing. Vegeta barely even acknowledges this man with a grunt before hopping onto a spaceship with him to fuck off to absolutely wherever. A drunken Master Roshi, Oolong, Gohan, and Krillen all are swept onboard too, with Future Trunks joining right before the doors close.
Once the Z-Fighters arrive on the planet, Gohan, Trunks, and Krillen discover that Paragus has actually been using displaced alien freak labor for whatever the fuck is happening on the “New Planet Vegeta”. The planet is barren and in ruins, but thankfully Paragus and his newly introduced son Broly offer to help Vegeta (fruitlessly) look for the Legendary Saiyan that is wreaking havoc. Incredibly helpful. I can’t blame Vegeta for not seeing the threat that is Broly when he appears, because we were both let down by his initial appearance.
One of the funniest moments in the entire DBZ movie runtime happens when Krillen is actually able to scare off the henchmen beating up the enslaved alien laborers. No one expects it to work, not even Krillen, so he throws a few punches to show off his toughness. Goku teleports to the planet after finding where the Legendary Saiyan is supposed to be and ends up getting decked by Krillen.
Things proceed as normal until Goku and Broly end up seeing each other face to face. Broly begins to have a moment where he is unable to do anything except for exude killing energy and primal grunts and it is immediately visible to all that he is the Legendary Saiyan. Well, actually, not at all. Goku goes to sleep that night and Broly literally hulks out in his sleep and bursts into the room to kill him, thankfully dispelling the real clue hunt that became of the search for the Legendary Saiyan.
Another great moment in this movie is while this is all going on, Master Roshi starts sucking Oolong’s toes in his sleep. No, I’m not joking. I was truly at a loss for words. While it seems like the real conflict of the movie was beginning, Master Roshi had a mouthful of pig foot.
While Paragus is able to call off Broly thanks to the control devices in his jewelry, the stage is set for the conflict. One really confusing sub-plot is that Paragus, who controls the most powerful Saiyan warrior of all, is relying on a giant comet that is supposed to hit the New Planet Vegeta in one day. Trying to buy time, Paragus tells Vegeta that they will locate the Legendary Saiyan if they go searching for the entire day. Goku arrives to announce that the major depressive-looking Broly is actually the one they’re looking for. Broly responds by promptly losing his shit and going insane.
What is even more bizarre is that once Broly shows his true power, Vegeta becomes completely catatonic. I was actually surprised here, since usually Vegeta is the one signing up for getting his ass whooped first in the name of pride. He simply falls to his knees while Goku, Gohan, and Trunks power up for their own respective ass whoopings.
Broly beats the brakes off everyone. I thought it was kind of exaggerated based on my impressions of him, but no. This might be the only villain that Goku never even has the initial upper hand on. It is to be expected that everyone who isn’t Goku will get whooped decent, but he is not exempt in this one. Broly is really a nasty freak, one of my favorite moments in this movie is when Krillen and Roshi are trying to herd the alien refugees to safety and Broly just turns to them in mid-fight, taunts them for thinking they could ever go home again, and fucking nukes their entire home planet in front of them.
Not only that, but Broly even takes a break mid-fight to merk Paragus. The approaching comet (spelling death for the entire planet) is almost there, and Paragus decides to cut his losses and hit the road since Goku and Vegeta are eminent goners and he can no longer control Broly. As he buckles up for his departure in his escape pod, Broly shows up, turns that man into pulp, and throws his ass into the comet manually.
While Gohan is literally hanging from a post about to die, Piccolo once again shows up at the very last second to deflect the killing blow. The real curiosity of mine by series end will be the counter for picnic openings vs Piccolo appearing specifically to save Gohan’s life, because these both happen in almost every movie so far.
Piccolo gives everyone a Senzu Bean, restoring them to full health, but it just gives Broly another chance to beat them down. He actually laughs at them healing, totally unafraid of the 4 on 1 matchup, and says that they’re just going to endure even more pain before they die. I can see why he is viewed as one of the hardest villains.
Several minutes later, everyone is laid out on death’s door again. At one point Piccolo gets launched so far that he actually makes it back to where Vegeta is on his knees shaking. This dude picks Vegeta up BY HIS HAIR and hauls him over to the battlefield. Seeing the comet that will destroy the planet is near, Vegeta manages to find it within himself to fight as well, and is promptly mulched.
As the fight draws to a close, the Z-Fighters realize their only chance is to give Goku all of their remaining energy. Everyone except Vegeta complies, which is truly just insane to me. This dude spent 25 theatrical minutes on his knees speechless and decides to regain his pride at this moment. However, he finally agrees and Goku is able to land one last-ditch attack on Broly, defeating him. Right before the planet is destroyed by the comet, Goku manages to teleport everyone (including the entire newly liberated alien work force) onto the Capsule Corp escape ship.
One thing I would like to mention before I go is the absolutely insane reason for the motivation of the villains. Dragon Ball Z usually has little explanation for its villains besides them being explicitly just evil, but Broly’s intense hatred for Goku is almost laughable when you discover why: Broly and Goku were in adjacent cribs as infants on Planet Vegeta, and Goku’s unending crying disturbed Broly so badly as an infant that he shattered his brain. I’m not joking.
Paragus has an almost worse explanation for his actions in that King Vegeta ordered infant Broly’s death because he was destined to become the most powerful. Baby Broly literally gets stabbed with A SWORD and Paragus gets mortally wounded by the former king, then they are left to die in a crater. So Paragus… spent an insane amount of time and energy orchestrating this bizarre setup with the new planet and comet to kill… the now dead King Vegeta’s son… because that was the next best thing. And ironically, the only reason Broly and Paragus survived Frieza’s destruction of Planet Vegeta was because as a newly-stabbed infant, Broly was able to channel his rage and fly them both into space to relative safety.
Yeah, it’s a lot to take in.
This was one of the better movies in the series so far. Aside from some really bizarre or inconsistent moments, I really enjoyed it. However, being the first DBZ movie over an hour, its length actually hurts it in this case. By the end I was ready for things to wrap up, which is fairly rare for the mostly short and sweet 40–50 minute runtimes of the rest of the movies.
However, I can see why fans love it, especially for the time in which it was created. Broly is a one of a kind villain as far as DBZ characters go, and it is plain to me why he has become a fan favorite since the very beginning. He did his reputation justice and I really liked that he was just completely evil with no care for anything except carnage in a way that most DBZ villains can’t really attain. I can’t imagine how hyped I would’ve been to see this as a kid when I was watching DBZ religiously and trying to go Super Saiyan in the church bathroom during Sunday School.
Next up is one of the ones I am most excited for, Bojack!
One of the funniest moments of the entire Dragon Ball Z filmography occurs in the initial fight between sleeping Broly and Goku. Please, if nothing else, just watch this. Broly is a fucking freak.