Whis wakes Beerus, the God of Destruction, from his long slumber and tells him that Frieza was defeated by a Saiyan. Thirty-nine years earlier, the Oracle Fish (Yogen-gyo (予言魚)) foretold that a mighty opponent would appear before Beerus, the Super Saiyan God. Beerus, with Whis, then tracks down the Saiyan warrior Goku, who defeated Freeza. On Kaiō-sama's planet, Goku proceeds to challenge Beerus. Despite having powered up to Super Saiyan 3, Goku is ultimately overwhelmed and defeated in two strikes. Disappointed by the subsequent lack of challenge, Beerus departs in order to seek out more powerful adversaries on Earth.
Beerus' arrival interrupts Bulma's birthday party. Vegeta, who already knew about Beerus, because of a warning from Kaiō-sama, casts his pride aside in order to put Beerus in a good mood. Meanwhile, Pilaf, Mai, and Shu sneak into the party in order to steal the Dragon Balls, but are not recognized as they have been turned into children; before the events of the film, they gathered all the Dragon Balls themselves and wished for youth, but Shenlong made them a little too young. Discovering the three of them, Trunks mistakes Pilaf for a monkey and fibs to Goten that Mai is his girlfriend, which leads to the trio being brought in front of the party-goers. When Mai accidentally drops the Dragon Ball she stole, she takes Trunks hostage, but no one seems concerned. A drunk Gohan dares Mai to shoot him; he deflects the bullets with one finger, but one of them hits Videl's leg and another one hits Beerus' forehead. Dende heals Videl and discovers that she is pregnant with Gohan's child. Videl has been hiding the fact to surprise Gohan later and they do not reveal it to the others yet. When Beerus asks Mr. Buu for one or two of the puddings he has, Buu eats all of them, angering the God of Destruction, who decides to destroy the Earth. Buu, Android 18, Tenshinhan, and Piccolo attempt to fight Beerus, but are easily defeated. Gohan powers up and attacks Beerus, only to be taken down by a heavy kick. Vegeta tries his hand at defeating Beerus, but he is also taken down. Goten and Trunks fuse into Gotenks and attempt to fight Beerus but are quickly defeated as well.
Bulma becomes annoyed at the fighting ruining her birthday party, and yells at Beerus, before slapping him. When Beerus slaps her back, it sends Vegeta into a fit of rage, becoming even stronger than Goku; however, he is still defeated. Goku appears, having been watching Vegeta's fight and summons Shenlong to ask what a Super Saiyan God is. A Super Saiyan God once appeared on planet Vegeta to stop evil Saiyans, but failed because of the form's time limit. The dragon also reveals that they need the power of six pure-hearted Saiyans for one of them to reach the Super Saiyan God form. Goku transforms into a Super Saiyan God, a form far stronger than even the Super Saiyan 3, thanks to the power of himself, Vegeta, Gohan, Trunks, Goten, and Pan (from inside her mother Videl), fulfilling the prophecy once stated by the Oracle Fish. Goku confronts Beerus again and they wage an intense battle in space, right above planet Earth. The form gives Goku the power to resist Beerus, but he reverts to his regular Super Saiyan form due to its time limit. However, he learns the form's godlike feeling, which allows him to use some amount of Super Saiyan God power against Beerus. The two seem to be equally strong, but Beerus eventually decides to use his strongest attack. Goku stops the energy sphere, barely holding it back, but after Chi-Chi and Goku's friends appear in Goku's mind, he is able to absorb the energy sphere and briefly transform into a Super Saiyan God once again. However, Goku is overwhelmed with exhaustion, and at Beerus' suggestion, finally admits defeat. Beerus recognizes Goku's effort and reveals that he was the second strongest person he had ever fought, after Whis, who is also his martial arts master and is even stronger than he is. Goku also learns from Beerus and Whis that there are actually other universes with other Gods of Destruction. Back on Earth, Beerus decides to spare the planet and takes his leave with Whis after bidding farewell to Goku and his friends, who return to Bulma's birthday party. It is revealed by Whis that Beerus used 70% of his power while fighting Goku.