Though Dragon Ball Z might not have the best character development or the deepest storylines, the series has always been known for it’s fight scenes and some of the best villains in fiction. Both Frieza and Cell are memorable even over a decade after the series finished it’s first run in America. That’s saying nothing about Vegeta, who had to struggle to see if he was going to be Prince of All Saiyans...or just another family man.
Still, while the television series had some fantastic bad guys, this list is devoted to a different group. Though the films aren’t technically “canon”, they still provided us with some of the most dangerous challenges Goku and the others ever had to deal with, and this list looks at ten of the deadliest villains from the movies.
10 GARLIC JR.
Garlic Junior is an interesting villain because in his introduction he serves as more of an inbetween for the eras of Dragon Ball and it’s sequel series Dragon Ball Z. There’s no talk of Saiyan heritage in Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone. The fantasy nature of the original series is still there, yet to be replaced by the sci-fi elements that would come later. But as for Garlic himself, he attains the wish from the Dragon Balls everyone was after: immortality. In gaining this, he gets a second form able to keep pace with Goku and Piccolo...but he still can’t quite match up, and winds up being yanked into an alternate realm he opened of his own volition to destroy them.
9 ORIGINAL BROLY
Of course, current Broly is more powerful than the original by far, as he’s keeping pace with Super Saiyan Blue. However, the new Broly is essentially a decent kid who was taken advantage of by his father. He’s a product of the last remnants of a destroyed society. Old Broly...he was literally just a psychopath, driven to despise everything because Goku cried a bunch when he was a kid. It’s the pettiest nonsense ever, and for this he nearly wiped out an entire planet and did murder his father. And that’s to say nothing of what he did to all of the Z Fighters.
Cooler was one of the few villains during the movies who was liked enough to be brought back twice. He was a lot like Frieza, except where Frieza had four forms, Cooler had a hidden fifth transformation that was able to handle a Goku who’d already defeated his brother...at least, until Goku went Super Saiyan. But not even Super Saiyan was able to save Goku when Cooler returned, boasting a connection to a sentient computer known as the Big Gete Star which would regenerate his new body endless times and create thousands of clones. It’s a miracle he and Vegeta were able to destroy Cooler at all after being used as as an energy source to power the Star, but the movie had to end at some point.
7 ANDROID 17 & 18
When we see Trunks back in his era during the Cell Saga, it’s after he’s spent a lot of time training with his father. He’s gotten a great deal more powerful, and so he returns to find the Androids and squashes them. But during Dragon Ball Z: History of Trunks, we get to see the Androids back when they were the biggest threat around.
They were both merciless, attacking cities for no reason other than they could, and once obliterated an amusement park people were using simply because Trunks and Gohan had escaped. In the main timeline, the Androids waste more time driving around through the countryside, so History of Trunks is necessary to display the evil that Trunks spent his whole life dealing with.
6 ANDROID 13
These days, when people think of Android 13 they mostly think of Team Four Star’s Dragon Ball Abridged dub, where the character is just some generic redneck in a trucker hat who happens to be capable of throwing hands with Goku. And to be fair, as villains go he’s certainly not the worst that Goku and the gang ever faced. He was originally part of a trio of androids working with Dr. Gero, but while they weren’t quite as much of a threat as models 16 through 18 proved to be, once two of them were turned to scrap, Android 13 absorbed their remaining parts and somehow got vastly more powerful, transforming into Super 13. Though he gave the team some trouble, he was clearly another villain in the vein of Broly: big, dumb, and with a sole desire to kill Goku.
These days the only Bojack people think of is Bojack Horseman. But long before that, Dragon Ball Z had a different Bojack, a warrior with designs of conquering the galaxy, who’d been sealed off by the Kais because his power was too great for them to defeat. And true enough, when he got free of their power, he was able to go head to head with any of the Super Saiyans without having any trouble at all, especially once he transformed. Even his henchmen were powerful enough to beat the Z Fighters, who had proven powerful enough to survive their battle with Cell. It took Gohan going Super Saiyan 2 again to stand a chance against Bojack and save the universe from having him as their ruler.
Janemba was like the films’ version of Majin Buu. He starts out as this giant being that speaks in simple sentences and causes harm more accidentally than purposefully. Though Goku was able to beat this version of Janemba with Super Saiyan 3, the second version proved far more terrifying. This version, much like Super Buu, required Goku and Vegeta to fuse in order to have a shot against him. Though Janemba was crushed in the end, he was literally made of concentrated negative energy, and his existence itself caused both life and afterlife to be thrown out of wack. Even though a few others are more powerful, almost none of them were capable of this.
The “last” DBZ movie until the franchise was revived with Battle of the Gods introduced an unstoppable monster known as Hirudegarn. This was basically DBZ’s excuse to sneak a giant monster in for Goku to battle against. Taking place after the Buu Saga, Wrath of the Dragon sees our heroes dealing with an ancient evil created only to destroy.
Though the entire gang teams up to battle against this threat, his ability to constantly transform into better, faster forms makes this difficult. Hirudegarn washes Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks, and eventually everyone else saves Goku. The only reason they won at all is because of a plot-related weakness they snuck in.
Beerus isn’t much of a threat now, but while Battle of the Gods is a funny movie, there wasn’t anything funny about the god of Destruction coming to Earth and claiming its time was up. Don’t forget, the humor in this film was about their attempts to appease Beerus so he wouldn’t kill them all. While amusing on one level, it’s terrifying on another. Goku had already attempted to fight him in Super Saiyan 3 form and got taken down in all of two hits. Nothing they had was able to take Beerus on, and even going Super Saiyan God was merely enough to amuse Beerus enough not to destroy them.
Reintroduced in the film Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of F, Frieza returned more dangerous than he ever was before. Somehow, the Frieza Army managed to discover the Dragon Balls and wish the galactic conqueror back to life. Realizing he wouldn’t stand a chance against Goku, upon reviving he began training. Achieving a new level of power, he returned to Earth and ran through all of the Z Fighters with ease, causing Goku and Vegeta to return to the planet. But even their power wouldn’t prove to be enough, as Frieza’s new Golden Form was beyond anything they’d ever seen. Only Frieza’s hubris (and Whis’ powers) stopped things from having a much worse ending.