Dragon Ball Super: Broly is punching through box office records. The 20th entry in the Dragon Ball film series opened at No. 1 in the United States, and it's now the third highest-grossing anime movie in history, beaten only by two Pokemon features. However, Broly isn't only scoring big on ticket sales; it's also racked up an impressively super scores among critics, higher than every installment of the so-called DC Extended Universe but one.
Broly, a supremely powerful and supremely angry Saiyan antagonist for Goku and his allies, debuted in 1991's Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan. He appeared in two other Dragon Ball Z movies, in 1993 and 1994, but this original iteration is considered to exist outside of the franchise's canon, as it wasn't penned by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama. Toriyama, who designed Broly, retooled the iconic villain for his first canonical appearance in this new movie, fleshing out his origin story to give his infamous Hulk-like rage better grounding.
The Dragon Ball saga, with its obsessive pursuit of power-ups and open-ended storytelling, has gradually come to more closely resemble superhero stories, and where reviews for Broly are concerned, it's giving the DC and Marvel cinematic universes a real run for their money.
Broly's critics' score of 81 percent on Rotten Tomatoes bests every DCEU movie to date, with the exception of Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman. In the cases of Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, each standing at 27 percent, that's a decisive beating.
But, let's be honest, it's a bit of a one-sided battle. A more commendable victory is the one Broly has also delivered over much of the more generally positively received Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, The Incredible Hulk and Avengers: Age of Ultron all score lower on the Tomatometer than the Dragon Ball Super spinoff. Even Avengers: Infinity War only just scrapes a win against the Saiyans by 4 percent.
Broly isn't even the most critically acclaimed Dragon Ball movie, either. 2015's Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' leads the charge with 82 percent, although Broly is going down much better with audiences. These numbers are, of course, worlds apart from the measly 15 percent that the despised live-action adaptation, Dragonball Evolution received in 2009.
What makes Broly such a success? Other than the blisteringly fast-paced action the franchise has become known for, reviewers have praised it for being much more accessible than previous entries. Obviously, accessibility will be of no concern to hardcore fans, but it makes a big difference for newcomers or those accompanying younger viewers to know they won't have to fret about not understanding why all those glowing-haired, flying men are blasting energy beams at each other.