Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ Plot:
Desperately searching for a way to bring back their master, Frieza’s army seeks the dragon balls on Earth. Their plan succeeds and the ruthless monster himself comes back for revenge. Can Goku defeat one of his most dangerous foes once again?
It’s a very good time to be a Dragon Ball Z fan. Over the past few weeks, the brand new Dragon Ball Z: Super has been airing in Japan and enjoyed by many excited viewers. There’s currently no plans to bring it overseas, much to the chagrin of impatient international audiences, but you know it’s coming someday. Fortunately, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is here to tide us over. The entire premise is cause for happiness. Frieza, one of the most iconic villains in anime, is back with a chip on his shoulder. This is that extra edge 2013’s Battle of Gods didn’t have. While Gods was a welcomed new installment after years of nothing, Resurrection is a clever continuation of a classic story arc. It came up to the gate with a lot of promise. The good news is that it fulfills most expectations in many ways. Sadly, it also misses the mark in a few elements.
The story of this movie is a point of praise. Frieza is the definition of a classic bad guy. Though he didn’t actually appear until Season 2, his influence was felt at the very beginning when the nearly extinct Saiyan’s came to Earth for Goku. His defeat near the end of Season 3, and official death in Season 4, were good ends to his arc, but future films showed that his family was still very much a threat. Promising his return with a stronger, golden form was the exact type of buzz this brand new edition needed. A new fight with Goku is basically DBZ’s equivalent of a pay-per-view boxing match between two rival legends. Come for the punches, stay for the energy blasts.
As any fan knows though, it has been a very long time since these two powerhouses fought. While Frieza was wallowing away in the flower meadow of Earth Hell, Goku was getting stronger against new bad guys. His most recent evolution came with his Super Saiyan God form from the previous movie. How could Frieza even stand up to this? The perceived solution is Frieza’s new form, but the truth is, the entire fight felt one-sided from the start. Goku had no issue fighting Frieza in his regular state, and when he transformed to the even newer Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan (which we’ll just call SSGSS), the division grew even more. Sure, for a brief period Frieza landed some big hits, but that’s quickly explained away. Then there’s also Vegeta waiting in the wings who has also reached the same heights as Goku (finally!). If it wasn’t for a late fight cheap shot, this would’ve been a battle without the threat a failure. Basically, not what you’d want from DBZ where death happens all the time.
The focus on our supporting Z-warriors was amazing though. While Gods was basically an excuse to watch Goku fight the nigh unstoppable Beerus, Resurrection let the “other guys” go all out against Frieza’s army. A lot of it was nostalgia filled too. Krillin returned to his classic bald look, Gohan went Super Saiyan for the first time in a while, Piccolo went all out, Master Roshi brought back his super jacked form, and Tien was actually useful. Newcomer to the anime Jaco the Galactic Patrolman was a very pleasant addition too. This chaotic melee of a handful of warriors versus what looks like thousands of Frieza’s goons was expertly animated, and the clearly better production quality made it flow like butter. That’s saying a lot because, let’s be honest, DBZ looked awesome before.
There was a glaring absence of three characters however: Majin Buu, Goten, and Trunks. Buu takes the cake as the biggest omission by far. When Frieza is being filled in on what Goku has done since his death, he makes a point to state that Beerus and Buu were two individuals he was never told to fight. They were simply much too strong for him. In a way, they were boogie men that King Cold used to keep Frieza wary. This right here is perfect setup for Frieza to comment on how Buu is currently a jolly, obese creature who loves food. Yet that never actually happens. Buu isn’t even mentioned ever again. Beerus shows up and deeply unsettles Frieza, which was very funny, but that was it. Not only was this a disappointment, it’s also very hard to believe that Buu, one of the strongest fighters on Earth, never sensed what was happening. The same can be said about Goten and Trunks. Their absence is given an excuse that could work if there wasn’t a real threat of Earth’s destruction. Why would you even bother holding back at that point?
On the more positive side, introducing the SSGSS form was a smart move as it fills a pretty big hole from the past movie. The only way Goku could enter his Saiyan God form was by standing around and letting other Saiyan blooded people give him their energy. Literally no one except Beerus would let that happen. SSGSS however fixes this issue. By entering God form once, the Saiyan in question can tap into this new blue haired upgrade at will. Problem solved! This also opens the door for even more upgrades in Super which will no doubt come at some point down the line. Honestly, I also dig the blue look. It’s a cool change from the classic yellow.
The way the film ends is a bit of a toss up. It’s not exactly a spoiler to say Frieza is defeated right? I’m sure we all expected it. How it happened was a shocker though and it deserves to be seen with fresh eyes only. Granted, what transpires feels like a bit of a cheat. In a film where the marquee battle already lacks a smidge of suspense, a certain character just so happens to have the exact abilities necessary to save the day. It’s never explained how, they simply do. As much as that power is bound to be abused in the future, Goku’s hard lesson of overconfidence was warranted. Far too often he tries to take a high ground and everyone else barely picks up the slack after him. Perhaps this will give us a whole new Goku in Super.
Resurrection ‘F’ isn’t my favorite DBZ movie. The memories I have with classics like The World’s Strongest and The Dead Zone can never be replaced. However, after so many years of nothing (I only very recently watched Battle of Gods), Resurrection is exactly what I needed. Despite the lack of stakes, watching Frieza and Goku battle once again was pretty freaking awesome. If they were to bring back his oldest villains in one crazy battle royale, I’d be all for that. Giving the supporting warriors plenty to do was excellent as well. Seriously, when was the last time Krillin and Tien got to kick some major ass?! If you’re a longtime fan like I am, you must watch this movie. At the very least, it will hold you over until Super comes out officially.
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ Hits Theaters August 4 and will run through August 12, 2015.
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television editor. Every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.