Anyone with even a crude understanding of the Dragon Ball extended universe could sit through the English-dubbed movie and walk out of the theater having had a great time. After all, Broly is essentially an extended action sequence, easily filling two-thirds of the runtime with physics-defying martial arts and glowy muscle men getting punched through arctic mountains and shooting energy balls out of their hands and yelling "gwAAHHHHH!!!" when they turn into their higher Saiyan forms. This wouldn't hold attention unless the animation commanded it, which it does. Lush, rich, and neon-tinged, the art is a directorial marvel, translating the hand-drawn feel of manga into a fluid, kinetic landscape where set pieces are meant to be (and will be) destroyed by crashing bodies or pulses of energy, and camera angles shift between sweeping bird's eye, tight third-person, and, most interestingly, first-person perspectives.
In the periphery of the centerpiece brawls is some, frankly, important contextual storytelling that even longtime fans would find enlightening. The movie begins 41 years before Dragon Ball's understood present day on Planet Vegeta, inhabited by the Saiyans, a warrior race enslaved by the king of the universe, King Cold, who hands down his reign to his son, the eminently recognizable antagonist Frieza. What's new here: We've never really had this past hammered out so clearly to see the power dynamic between the Saiyans, who conquer and raze planets for profit, and how Frieza subjugates them before he destroys Planet Vegeta altogether. Of course, our three future heroes -- Goku, who's called his Saiyan name Kakarot, Vegeta, and Broly -- escape the destructive fate of the rest of their race by simply being incubating children shipped off to other distant planets, Broly because he's deemed an overpowered freak and Goku because his parents want him to have a better life, before Frieza blows the rest of the Saiyans to bits.