Well, it’s time to look at the latest DBZ film. I got to watch it dubbed right off the bat, which is great thanks to the limited theater release over here in the US. Battle of Gods was a lot of fun, (9/10) but I still did walk away from it with a lot of mixed feelings. I thought this one ended up being much better and it certainly felt more action packed, which is a good thing!
For the plot, Frieza’s men go to Earth and grab the Dragon Balls in order to awaken Frieza. With their master back, they head out to space so that Frieza can train a little before going back to Earth to fight Goku. Unfortunately, Goku and Vegeta are training with Whis at the moment and are far away from Earth. Can the Z Fighters hold out for long against Frieza’s entire army!?
All right, there is a lot to talk about here so let’s start with the technical factors, move on to the characters, and then wrap up with the power levels discussion. Heh heh, let’s just say that there is quite a lot to talk about on that subject and I even had a member of the audience to back me up on that part!
First off, the animation looks quite good. As you would expect from a modern DBZ film, the fights are very intense and it’s great to see all of the attacks with the modern animation. (Except for the Spirit Bomb, which is still being saved. Probably for one of the final gods) The film still uses that intriguing CGI effect at times for when the characters are clashing. I could honestly do without it, but I’ve never minded having cutscenes in the middle of the epic fights so it’s all good. Would the scenes be better if they were purely animated? Most definitely, but the fights still look great.
One interesting thing to note is that the fights really emphasize power over speed for the most part. Gone are the quick flurry of blows from the older films and I thought that Battle of Gods actually showed off their speed more. Goku and Frieza is actually a slow fight as the film slightly slows the speed in the background so you can focus on each blow. It’s a good effect although I’m hoping for some more speed in the next film since I always love a really fast fight. It’s just epic to behold!
Resurrection F’s soundtrack is one of the big areas where this film beats out Battle of Gods. We had some pretty great themes here while there were no memorable ones in the other film. Frieza’s opera theme is certainly epic to behold and that rock intro to it was great as well. It sounded like Death Note’s second opening. I also really liked the remix of the main DBZ theme even if we only got a short glimpse of it. I guess it’s straight to Youtube for the full version eh?
I’d also say that the writing is good as you may expect from the legendary Akira Toriyama. Even Master Roshi seems like a likable character if you didn’t know any better. He’s portrayed as one of the smart fighters since he quickly estimates how many soldiers need to be defeated and he also looks impressively good
at the expense of the other Z fighters as he takes down multiple waves of soldiers with his original Kamehameha and solid fundamentals. That being said, there are still some things that I’m a little iffy on, but I’ll leave that to the individual character pages.
An interesting part of Frieza’s plight is how hell is portrayed. It’s always been a fun interpretation in DBZ world, but Frieza essentially states that Hell is only valid for Earth. If you die somewhere else, then it is a different hell or afterlife so to say. It’s a very intriguing premise and I suppose that it is a little similar to Marvel’s universe where there are many different hells. Hela, Mephisto, and Death all have their own version of the place and that seems to be what DBZ is gunning for. I don’t think it will really be delved into, but that would be an interesting concept to tackle.
Goku is the lead character so it’s only natural that he is a solid character here right? I’ve always liked Goku as he is a great character and he was written really well here. He constantly warns Frieza that fighting him isn’t really the best move. Goku is actually more overconfident, maybe even slightly arrogant than usual, but with his power level, why shouldn’t he be? While his weakness may apparently be that he lets his guard down, I woudn’t call it much of a problem. It doesn’t happen too much and shouldn’t have even happened here except for plot hax and Whis needing to make a point.
Goku still tries to spare Frieza multiple times showing just how heroic he is. However, at the very end, he unleashes a final blast as he makes a critical decision. Considering that hell here is actually quite pleasant and not painful in the slightest, one can argue that destroying Frieza isn’t so bad. It’s still the concept that you should think about, but Goku isn’t a stranger to destroying his foes. Whether accidentally or not, he typically unleashes a final Kamehameha that does the trick. Since a lot of fighters are reincarnated eventually once they turn good, Frieza should be back as well. I didn’t really have a problem with Goku finishing Frieza off though as they can still continue to fight in Hell if Goku so desires. (He probably won’t since he has a good sparring partner with Vegeta!) Since Hell is just a part of Earth according to Frieza, it will be interesting to see if the heroes have to visit the real deal in a future film if one of the gods lives there. The future films have a lot of promise even if I don’t see them getting quite that serious for a few more films as the heroes build up their power levels a little more first.
Vegeta was naturally an exceptional character in this film as always. My one gripe with him was probably that he waited a little too long to do anything while Frieza was messing Goku up. I (Along with the audience who were stating different ways that they thought Vegeta would intervene) expected Vegeta to come in with his iconic neck kick or at least catch Frieza’s punch. While he still did get his turn to fight Frieza, I thought that he could have moved in sooner. His fight with Goku was pretty awesome and his unwavering confidence is back in full force. I’m also glad that he doesn’t want to team up with Goku since a 2 on 1 fight isn’t the Saiyan way.
Whis mentions that Vegeta thinks a little too much before he fights while Goku has the opposite problem and it’s nice to see the film depict this in the fight scenes. Whether intentional or not, you can see that Vegeta fights Frieza in more of a standarized way as he chooses optimal ways to hit the guy while Goku just unleashes on him with a flurry of solid blows. Vegeta uses several of his combat techniques from the video games which was a lot of fun and his personality is still one of the most enjoyable in the franchise. It’s easy to see why Vegeta is such a fan favorite and I still consider him to easily be the best character in the series. I’m glad that they’ve cleaned up his portrayal since Battle of Gods. It’s also worth noting that he continues to show more natural talent than Goku. Goku needed the death of Krillin to make him turn into a Super Saiyan and Vegeta just trained for it. Goku needed the power of 5 Saiyans to unlock God Mode. Let’s just say that Vegeta’s classic approach continues to work wonders for him.
Frieza always was one of the best DBZ villains and it was great to see him return. While Perfect Cell is still the coolest of the big 3 DBZ villains, I do prefer Frieza to Buu. Frieza had a nice amount of arrogance to him and his final form just looks so great. It’s very easy to see why he is such a threat and his theme song in this film is amazing. There’s really not much to say about his personality as it stays very true to his manga counterpart. It’s also nice to see that he was dedicated enough to train to surpass Goku, making him look much better than the average villain. His banter with Goku is one of the better parts of the film and he’s deceptively intelligent at times.
Gohan looks pretty bad as expected since he doesn’t train at all anymore. He really doesn’t care about fighting and just wants to live his life as a normal dude. He doesn’t even arrive to the fight in his full uniform. I do appreciate the fact that the film still showed him to be a bit of a pacifist though as he makes sure to take down all of the minions without actually destroying any of them. That shows a lot of control on his part and also hints at his true power level. If only he could have had more of a fight against Frieza. Since I consider the new films to be the Goku and Vegeta adventures, I’m not sure if this will change anytime soon, but maybe at some point. Gohan getting SSJ God mode as well would be pretty awesome. As a character, he’s certainly still likable.
Piccolo is also a good character and he actually gets his own fight. The only side character to pull that off! He’s still confident in battle while being a nice guy despite his gruff exterior. Unfortunately, he’s the only character who doesn’t use his trademarked attack (Special Beam Cannon) unless I’m missing something. He just uses generic energy blasts against the opponents unless it was supposed to look like his Hell Grenade technique. It’s also possible that he used it in his fight against Tagoma. That was a really enjoyable fight and it was cool to see Piccolo really have to put some effort into his match.
Krillin has a nice role here. He’s now a respectable cop and he even went back to his iconic bald look. Krillin does a good job of weeding out the enemy troops and his confidence is always nice to see. He’s certainly a good supporting character. Jaco got to make his animated debut here and his character was also pretty amusing. His ray gun’s delayed effect is as potent as ever and he’s brutally honest about how he will only help the heroes a little. He’s a nice guy, but he just doesn’t want to mess with someone like Frieza. He would get destroyed in an instant so you can’t blame him there.
Master Roshi got a good role for the first time in DBZ history, which is fantastic for his fans. It’s safe to say that he had quite a few as people cheered and laughed for his scenes. Beerus is still a character that I don’t like. He simply gives himself way too much hype and I can’t stand how everyone is afraid of him and gives the guy so much respect. It’s honestly completely out of character for Goku and even Frieza’s scene will make you wince a little on the inside. Beerus blowing up a planet with a sneeze was cool though as more feats is always a good thing! I could have done without Goku saying that the blast would have destroyed him though. We don’t want anti-feats…granted, he wasn’t in his final form yet. Once Goku and Vegeta inevitably surpass him, that should make things better. That being said…have they already surpassed him. If you remember, God Goku was able to give Beerus a decent fight and SSJ God Goku would likely be 50X stronger thanks to the power boost. That means…Goku should be much stronger, and by extension, Vegeta as well. Good Game Beerus!
Whis also gets a lot of hype, but he’s more likable than Beerus and never tries to get people to fear him. He doesn’t bother with empty threats as he just has fun eating all the desserts that he can stomach. Whis not noticing that he had a phone message was a little….intriguing since his scepter should have let him know immediately, but I’ll assume that he was trolling. He’s not exactly the hero type and just does whatever he feels like doing. His unique ability is certainly handy in a fight although it has more limitations than most other characters who have this kind of technique. Thanks to his high level of hand to hand combat and speed, he should definitely be fine in a fight. It’s hinted that he’s stronger than Beerus and the heroes certainly shouldn’t trust him as I could see the guy ultimately become a villain.
Sourbet is one of the new villains and he’s essentially a Babidi kind of character. He can’t really fight, but he makes plans and gets things done. He’s not a bad villain and I applaud the fact that he went to Earth himself, but he’s not my kind of bad guy. Some more feats would have helped him tremendously. That being said, while his plan worked, it was still a bad plan as it shouldn’t have succeeded. The heroes should have been able to stop him as soon as Shenron appeared thanks to their incredible speed. Ah well, more on plot hax later.
Tagoma is the power hitter of the group and he ends up going against Piccolo in the film. While I think he should have been crushed immediately since that kind of feat would put him on second form Cell, it’s good that at least one of Frieza’s henchmen could really fight. His name is a lot easier to remember than the underlings and as a result, I’ll definitely remember him as the films go by. He made for a good mid-film boss, but I am glad that Piccolo never went down. Had the fight gone on, I’m confident that Piccolo could have made a comeback. (The Gohan fan to the left was panicking during the fight as he thought that Piccolo should clobber the guy so when the fight started to go south, the guy was really going crazy in his chair!)
Shisami had a much smaller role as he got on Frieza’s bad side. It’s safe to say that everyone knew he was doomed from the start once he questioned Frieza. You simply don’t do that! Shenron looked nice and fierce, which is an improvement from his scared days in older films. (As recent as Battle of Gods!) Bulma also got a good role as she assembled the heroes and talked tough to Frieza. Tien’s mostly a nonfactor, but it was still nice to see him contribute to the fight. Pilaf’s crew weren’t even that annoying and they actually did well this time. It’s a little on the plot hax side that the Z Fighters just leave the Dragon Balls lying about, but it works out well for Pilaf. Those 3 were certainly more likable than in Battle of Gods and they even tried to put up a fight!
The audience was certainly very enthusiastic for this film and I’m tempted to say that it was more intense than the Avengers, beating it out for second place. DBZ is a lot shorter than Avengers so the latter had more time for cheers, but DBZ had constant yells and cheers throughout the film. It was great to see the dedicated DBZ fanbase attending the new film. This must have been what it was like in the early 2000’s when DBZ was at its height. People were yelling and making one liners as the film was starting and then yelled a lot with anticipation and tension during the fight scenes. Everyone especially liked Goku’s Ryu inspired backfist hit. It was good to see Goku use an actual advanced martial arts move in that moment!
I have to give a lot of credit to the guy sitting towards the left of the row that I was on. He was really on point for just about every inconsistent power level moment. He was a big fan of Gohan so I knew that he would be pretty upset by the time the film was over since it was already a known fact that he wouldn’t look so good. None of the other Z fighters will ever be acknowledged as a tough fighter who can help out Goku and Vegeta anymore unless something drastic changes. Gohan has a slight chance of improving, but I think that DBZ will just become the Goku and Vegeta adventures for the foreseeable future. The guy had to say “I”m done” about 10 times because Gohan kept underwhelming him with lines like “I can’t win!” or getting one shotted by Frieza in the guy’s first form before Gohan could even turn Super Saiyan.
The thing is, the whole film is built around a plot hole in terms of power levels. Frieza is revived and trains for 6 months. Somehow, this is enough for him to go from being pre Arc 2 SSJ1 level to post Battle of Gods Super Saiyan God mode tier? Seriously? Let’s put this into perspective for a second. Frieza’s final form was on par with Goku’s SSJ1 form and par is a strong word since Goku was clearly stronger at that point. Super Saiyan 2 is around 2-3 times stronger than SSJ1 and SSJ3 is 4x stronger than that. So, if SSJ1 was a 1, SSJ3 Goku is a 8-12 star fighter. After that, we have God mode Goku. Considering that SSJ3 Goku couldn’t last a second against Beerus and God Goku gave him a good fight, let’s say it’s a power boost of about 10x. Then, we have SSJG Goku from this movie, which amps up his strength another 50x. That’s not even counting all of the various zenkai boosts like Base Goku from Battle of Gods easily being stronger than SSJ2 Goku from the older days and maybe even SSJ3. Frieza passed all of that in a mere 6 months? He couldn’t do that if he had 60 years! He is literally making himself hundreds of times stronger just like that. He’s no Saiyan, that’s just not possible. Even for a Saiyan it would be impossible. Remember, Goku had to use the Time Chamber, which turned one year into a day. That’s already more time that he spent training than Frieza.
So, considering that the plot was a power level inconsistency, I figured that there would be plenty more in the film. This doesn’t affect the score in the slightest as the stronger a character gets, the more plot hax there will be, but it’s still worth noting. After all, if there was no plot hax, the planet would have blown up many times over from the intensity of the battles. Goku getting pierced by a random ray gun is also complete plot hax. Granted, Goku let his guard down according to Whis, but even so, in SSJ God form, Goku’s ki should have deflected the blast with ease. There’s no way that it would do any damage to him.
Gohan pretty much deserves his own paragraph. He should be able to wipe the floor with the entire cast. Losing to Frieza in an instant was embarrassing. Now, we can overlook this by saying that Frieza is on Goku’s level now, but then why was Gohan not fighting at full power at that point? Also, if Master Roshi, with a power level of 139 could stand up to dozens of Frieza’s soldiers, then Gohan, Krillin, Tien, and Piccolo should look far more impressive than they did. The fact of the matter is that Roshi should have died instantly when the fight started. Even Frieza’s henchmen aren’t that weak. Saibamen are vastly stronger than Roshi.
There’s no way that the henchmen are that weak. We had one good scene where Gohan moves so fast that it looks like everyone is frozen. The problem is that this should be how things look for the Z fighters the entire time. That’s how wide the power gap is at this point. The minions simply looked too impressive even though they were being crushed the entire time. The heroes should really not need any effort to defeat them. Frieza states that Gohan could take out the entire army if he wanted too…and that’s what should have happened. The gap between the talking and the on screen action was considerable.
It’s interesting to note that Majin Buu doesn’t get to appear even though he was mentioned. That was just really odd and I’m assuming that he’ll be in some kind of Director’s cut. Still, it doesn’t make any sense that he would be out of the picture. This was his chance to shine after all and he blew it! Hercule would have been nice to have as well. At least Shenron finally gets his props here as the villains start to fear him again. He’s probably gotten much stronger since his last fight. It’s a missed opportunity here as the wish should have been to make Frieza stronger than Goku. While that would have to mean that Shenron would be stronger than Goku, it would have involved less plot hax.
One last note on the plot hax side. Aside from Buu not appearing, Yamcha, Chiaotzu, and Android 18 didn’t join the fight either. (Although at least 18 got a cameo) Where’s Android 17 as well? All of these guys should have joined the fight considering what a threat this was and it would have been cool to see the gang fighting. Considering that Roshi could beat the minions, the other fighters wouldn’t have a problem. If you think about it, Android 18 is stronger than quite a few of the fighters who did go to fight Frieza. (Krillin, Tien) It goes without saying that Majin Buu would have been helpful and what about Goten and Trunks? With their SSJ3 Gotenks form, they would have really done well and without power level inconsistencies, they could have probably defeated Frieza. The reasoning for keeping all of these characters out was pretty bad.
So, where did this film rank in the overall DBZ franchise? It goes without saying that it clobbered Battle of Gods and that film was in my top 5! Well, I would actually probably put this as the second best film. It was close, but it barely nudged Super Android 13 out of the spot. After all, Roshi was still being a little dicey here. This film really had no such negatives. Broly will always be the best DBZ film though as I still think that it has the best fight scenes in the series. You want a film where the stakes are real (No Whis and Beerus to keep things light) and the fights emphasize speed as well as power? Broly’s the film to see. While the animation may technically be better in this film on the whole, Broly had more of a theatrical feel to it. The animation just seemed to be on a higher level in that regard and didn’t use any CGI tricks to help itself. I can only imagine how intense seeing that one in theaters would be! It’ll be hard for any film to pass Broly, but if Broly really does return in the next film, that could present a challenge to the classic!
Overall, This was an incredible DBZ movie for sure. It had a lot of great action scenes and a dynamite soundtrack as well. The writing was good and while Beerus annoyed me, the movie did a good job of making almost everyone likable. Even Master Roshi actually acts like a good character, which impressed me. I’m definitely ready for more movies in this series and it’ll be great to see Gogeta appear again as it was certainly hinted at as well as a normal Goku and Vegeta tag team. Considering that they’re both able to fight at such a high level now, it’s easy to see why they would overwhelm any opponent when it is two against one.