*this review contains possible spoilers*
*but it’s Dragon Ball Z so you can probably guess what happens anyway*
Resurrection ‘F’ is the second film since series creator, Akira Toriyama’s return to the franchise. It begins some time after the events of Battle of the Gods, opening with Pilaf and Co. still hunting the dragon balls. But they’re being watched and are quickly accosted by what’s left of Frieza’s army on their quest to, as the title suggests, resurrect their leader back from the dead. Once restored, Frieza learns that he’ll need to train in order to stand a chance again Goku, who’s grown much stronger since their last encounter.
Cut to about six months later and the Dragon Ball gang are living fairly peaceful lives while Goku and Vegeta are off training with Whis. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (an inclusion from Toriyama’s other work) shows up to warn Bulma that Frieza is on his way to Earth. The DB gang, minus some unfortunate exclusions, gather to meet Frieza and his army to stall until Goku and Vegeta arrive. Fighting ensues. Fighting continues. I’m pretty sure we get at least an hour-long fight scene.
The latest DBZ film is fan service in the best possible way. The stalling fight with Frieza’s army serves to give all the attending fighters some great moments. Even Gohan, who’s mostly given up fighting to live a normal life, has some time to shine and prove he’s still got moves. But there are some noticeable absences as Goten and Trunks are left out by Bulma so they can be kept safe. Android 18 is also left out to take care of her daughter but there is some fun dialog between her and Krillin before he leaves. However, the inclusion of Jaco is a lot of fun and his character jives well with the rest of the cast. I’m hoping to see more of him in Dragon Ball Super.
One of my big complaints with Battle of the Gods was overly silly direction it took. What Resurrection ‘F’ nails is that balance between the gravity of Frieza’s return and its humor between characters. It feels like it’s choosing its punchlines better which ultimately makes them more effective.
The fight sequences between Goku and Frieza are great but its use of CGI feels distracting at times, similar to Battle of the Gods where the two opponents would be superimposed over a clearly CGI backdrop. Resurrection ‘F’ sometimes takes it a step further where a 2D animated Goku and Frieza would briefly look CG, like they were pulled from a recent DBZ video game.
Resurrection ‘F’ has some story issues too, including the ending being pretty obviously foreshadowed at the beginning of the film. The movie has opportunities to take some unexpected turns but ultimately plays it safe, even stealing away Vegeta’s moment glory. I even wonder how much (if any) impact this will have on the continuity of the series, as reports from Japan are already saying Dragon Ball Super is basically redoing the events of Battle of the Gods.
But despite its shortcomings, Resurrection ‘F’ manages to be a ton of fun and is certain to please fans both old and new. It delivers on exactly what it promises: the return of Frieza and a grand fight between him and Goku, both with new forms to show off. And while the film never quite reaches the impactful level of the final battle on Namek, getting to see the show’s most iconic villain back, duking it out with Goku on the big screen, is a real treat.
Final Score: 8/10