There are currently 20 released anime films in the Dragon Ball franchise and none are as popular or as controversial as The Broly Saga. The Saga consists of three films including Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly: Second Coming, and Bio-Broly. The first film was released in 1993 while the two sequels both came out the following year. They may be the only old Dragon Ball films that remain a hot topic of discussion among fans to this day.
There are many reasons why these films are still talked about so much -- and not all of those reasons are good. For decades fans considered the character Broly and these movies to be mostly mediocre. Despite this, the potential for greatness was there and that led Akira Toriyama to canonize Broly by completely revising his backstory in the Dragon Ball Super: Broly film released in 2018.
Here's a ranking of all four Broly films from worst to best based on what's good and bad about each of them.
Bio-Broly is undoubtedly the most disliked among these films and deservedly so. It's arguably the only one with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. In this film, Mr. Satan is blackmailed into visiting the laboratory island of a man called Lord Jaguar in order to fight his so-called Bio-Warriors. Goten, Trunks, and Android 18 tag along with Mr. Satan, and they defeat the Bio-Warriors in Mr. Satan's place when it's clear they're too strong for him. This leads Jaguar to reveal his ultimate weapon which Trunks and Goten recognize to be Broly.
Goten and Trunks find out from Maloja, the priest from Natade Village in Broly: Second Coming, that he sold Broly's blood after he was defeated in the previous film and the Bio-Warrior that appears to be him is a clone. The two boys attempted to destroy the clone before he awoke but he sensed their attacks and broke out of the tank that was holding him. In doing so, he ended up doused in bio-liquid which basically turned him into a mutated slime monster. Fighting ensued and Bio-Broly was eventually defeated by getting drenched in water which conveniently solidified the bio-liquid he was covered in.
Overall, there really isn't anything to be impressed by in this film. Broly's return felt implausible and the way he was defeated was ridiculous. Technically, it wasn't even really him.
3. Broly: Second Coming
Broly managed to survive after being fatally wounded by Goku near the end of Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan and escaped the planet in a Saiyan space pod that crash-landed on Earth. He crashed in an icy area and got frozen and trapped in ice as water poured over him. He was preserved in the ice until seven years later when Goten's cries shattered it.
Goten, Trunks, and Videl were in a nearby village searching for the Dragon Balls because Videl wanted to see Shenron. Goten's cries which broke the ice Broly was trapped in reminded him of Goku's cries from when they were babies, and this of course made Broly angry. Videl was the first to be confronted by Broly, after which Goten and Trunks joined in and they all fought until Gohan arrived in time to save the day.
Unlike in Bio-Broly, the action in this movie is entertaining to watch, especially after Gohan gets involved. Additionally, the Family Kamehameha in which Gohan, Goten, and Goku (in spirit form) each fire Kamehameha waves together to defeat Broly is one of the most memorable and epic moments in any Dragon Ball film. Unfortunately, apart from being strong, there is nothing at all compelling about Broly's character in this entire film. He just shows up, fights, and is defeated. This movie essentially has no plot, but at least it's fun.
2. Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan
The only Dragon Ball film more popular than this one is perhaps Dragon Ball Super: Broly. The original Broly film is actually quite decent, especially compared to its sequels. The plot follows the Z Fighters as they meet Broly and his father Paragus, and subsequently attempt to hunt down the legendary Super Saiyan who's been wreaking havoc across different galaxies. They eventually find out that the one they've been hunting was Broly all along.
It was revealed that Broly had been mentally unstable ever since he was a child. He was so dangerous that even Paragus was terrified of him and had a device made that allowed him to keep Broly under control. Paragus then decided to use Broly's incredible power to conquer the universe. Moreover, Broly held a grudge against Goku because the latter kept the former awake for days when they were babies with his incessant crying. Goku's presence made Broly uncontrollably angry and this led to a huge battle between him and the Z fighters.
There's plenty to enjoy about this film. The story is interesting enough and the action is among the most intense in the franchise. The major flaw is Broly himself. He's portrayed as a one-dimensional character who held a grudge over something as simple as a baby crying. For that reason, this is only the second-best Broly film.
1. Dragon Ball Super: Broly
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is the best film in the entire Dragon Ball franchise. Not only does it have an amazing story but it's actually canon, unlike the previous films. The film revamps Broly's backstory while also telling the story of how Planet Vegeta and the Saiyans were annihilated by Frieza. It even introduces Goku's mother, Gine, for the first time in the history of the animated franchise and depicts the events leading up to her and Bardock sending him off to Earth and why they chose that planet.
Broly and Paragus weren't on Planet Vegeta when it was destroyed by Frieza because they were exiled by King Vegeta years prior. King Vegeta didn't like that baby Broly was showing more power potential than his own son. He was told that Broly might be the legendary Super Saiyan and that steeled his resolve to get rid of him and Paragus. Thus, they spent years stranded on a relatively tiny planet that had a harsh living environment.
Paragus decided he would train Broly and get revenge on King Vegeta for treating him and his son so terribly. Years later they were finally rescued from that planet by Frieza's subordinates. One thing led to another and they eventually met Goku and Vegeta and the two engaged in an epic battle against Broly after Paragus decided to take his revenge on Vegeta in place of his deceased father.
This film adds a lot of new layers to the main series by filling in holes in the Saiyans' pasts. Broly is well-written with actual emotional depth and isn't just a crazy fighting machine. Unlike in the previous films, he talks to people and ends up making friends. Finally, the action sequences are second to none in the franchise in terms of visuals and scope.