How can a new Dragon Ball Z movie follow a near-perfect predecessor like “Battle of Gods”?
Easy: continue everything the last film did so well, but do it better.
That’s exactly what the new DBZ movie “Resurrection F” was able to do, completing a fantastic one-two punch of quality Dragon Ball films that hasn’t been seen since the Broly/Bojack efforts of the early 2000s.
As I referenced earlier, “Resurrection F” sticks to the working formula of the previous film by perfectly capturing the essence of what fans want to see, which is an action-packed nostalgia trip that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Speaking of nostalgia, what better way serve it up to fans than by reviving the show’s most iconic villain? For those who don’t know (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t), “Resurrection F” treats longtime viewers to a rematch between the Z Fighters and the genocidal maniac named Frieza. While the concept’s development feels a bit tacky and rushed in the beginning, we’re quickly compensated for it with Frieza getting a surprisingly large amount of screen time.
Although Frieza doesn’t exactly steal the show (the space patrolman Jaco does), he is crudely charming enough to keep the plot moving at an engaging rate, which is a surprise considering how Goku and Vegeta are nearly absent from the film’s first act.
Which leads me to another great aspect of this movie: its character balance. A lot of Dragon Ball movies–scratch that– a lot of Anime movies center around a novel villain coming around and wreaking havoc until a main character shows up and deus ex machinas his or her way to victory. “Resurrection F” finally breaks this mold by having nearly the first half of the film featuring the rest of the Z Fighters engaged in a lengthy battle….and not getting their asses kicked for once.
Fan favorites from the last film, Beerus the Destroyer and Whis, also play unexpectedly large roles as well. No complaints from me, though, since I didn’t get enough of the charismatic duo after “Battle of Gods”.
In terms of pure action, “Resurrection F” delivers what I would consider the best in the Dragon Ball universe…at least since the SSJ3 Goku/Kid Buu fight.
As you can imagine by now, the creators of Dragon Ball Z have some pretty deep pockets, and they spared no expense with the fight sequences. 3D visuals, some insane mid-action perspective changes, and all the classic techniques–from the Special Beam Cannon to the Destructo Disk–that we grew to love culminate in a viewing experience that seldom loses steam.
What also helps keep the action alive is the soundtrack, which includes a the Frieza-inspired song “[F]” from one of my favorite Japanese rock bands, Maximum the Hormone (see: Death Note, opening 2). Fun fact: the Frieza-inspired song, in turn, helped inspire creator Akira Toriyama to make this movie. Go figure.
The movie also somehow finds a way to match its insane fight scenes with the same classic Dragon Ball humor that is tragically absent from most DBZ films. The jokes are timely, delightfully referential, and always true to whatever character is delivering them.
Also- the brief glimpses of each earthbound character living normal, post-retirement lives gives off a strangely poetic vibe. Could it be that showing Krillin work a day job is a way to mirror our own post-DBZ lives? And, just like the Z-fighters, we’re leaving our new lives or careers for one more battle with some old friends by watching this movie? Just a thought.
With all this in mind, how can this film go wrong? Well, that’s the thing: it doesn’t. Aside from an ending that’s one fatal error away from being horribly satisfying, I can confidently say that this is the best Dragon Ball movie to date, with “Battle of Gods” as a close second. What a coincidence, considering that these were the only two in which Akira Toriyama was heavily involved.
Final Score: 9/10