Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F is the fifteenth Dragon Ball Z film, but it’s actually only the second to be supervised by series creator Akira Toriyama himself, after Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. Battle of Gods was very well received, and it felt great to have Toriyama back at the helm. Resurrection F continues on the story from Battle of Gods, and features the return of the iconic and legendary Frieza. But is it as good as Battle of Gods?
Like Battle of Gods, Resurrection F has also received a limited theatrical release in North America and the UK. Except this time there’s a lot more showings! Find out where it’s still showing in the UK here: http://www.dragonballzuk.com/
Battle of Gods did, of course, feature a “battle of Gods” — but this wasn’t where the film shone. It was the charm and humour surrounding the titular fight that made it great, capturing the spirit of the original Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball series in a way some of the non-Toriyama films had failed to do. The return of Frieza, the iconic villain from the second saga of Dragon Ball Z, promises an epic battle. Trailers showing off as much had me a little nervous that there would be too much fighting and not enough of the other stuff, but thankfully I was wrong.
There’s a lot of humour throughout the entire film, starting from the very get-go as we’re taken to Earth’s version of Hell, and we see Mecha-Frieza trapped in a cocoon surrounded by bright colours and happy, fun, stuffed animals playing music. It doesn’t stop there as even the big fights at the end are punctuated with humour. This is something Toriyama has always understood very well, and has always been something that has set Dragon Ball apart from other fighting manga and anime — it gets the balance just right. Seeing it at a cinema was great, with the whole audience laughing out loud at various points, and a child exclaiming, stunned, that “Golden Frieza was on fire” (his power aura).
It does feel like there is more fighting in Resurrection F than there was in Battle of Gods, but it could just be that the fights in Resurrection ‘F’ were better. This time instead of the story building to an epic one-on-one fight Frieza has returned to Earth with hundreds of Frieza soldiers. And, of course, Goku and Vegeta aren’t around right away. This means some of your favourite Z fighters have to hold their own from a while, and it’s great to see some returning favourite back in action, from Gohan in his nerdy glasses and tracksuit, to Master Roshi finally bulking up once again.
Frieza’s return is a big event in the series, and there’s perhaps no better villain to bring back than him. In the west the Frieza Saga aired in about 1999, and for many people it’s a high point for them. While Dragon Ball has some great villains, Frieza is without doubt one of the best, his original appearance being genuinely scary and meaning, his forms perhaps the most strange and bizarre of any character in the series.
Even though there is some menace and goosebumps around Frieza’s return, you’re not going to be able to replicate the slow building menace in a movie than when you have a whole arc of a series to play with. “Golden Frieza” has been heavily marketed, and is Frieza’s solution to matching Goku’s growth in strength since their last battle. It’s a shame to say then that he never really feels like much of a threat in the way Beerus did. Once Goku shows up it feels like a lot of the threat evaporates, even though they do run into some difficulties taking him down. It is a little underwhelming, but the rest of the film makes up for it.
Resurrection F is a great follow-up to Battle of Gods. It carries on the mood and charm perfectly, and is packed with the same combination of exciting new developments and nostalgia for the original series. While I found Resurrection F struck a better balance when it came to mixing the fighting and humour than Battle of Gods, I wouldn’t be surprised to find some people who think the other way around. Also the dub is, as always, fantastic.
This new era of Dragon Ball Z is pretty exciting, and it’s great to see Dragon Ball Z continuing to get back on track! I can’t wait to see what’s next, and with how well Resurrection F has performed theatrically, we’ll hopefully see something soon!