The SUPER Mario Movie We’ve Been Waiting For


It is finally time that the Super Mario Bros. franchise gets an ACTUAL movie (don’t bring up the 1993 live-action one…), but is it any good? Critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic gave the movie a 55% and a 47%. Those are low very low scores compared to the audience scores, which are a high 98% and an 86%. Why are the critic scores so low? This will be discussed later in the article; anyway, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, in my opinion, is a fun and referenced-packed adventure that can be watched by all ages, but is especially more enjoyable for the biggest Mario fans. Of course, it isn’t perfect. As my main issues are with the general pacing which leads to lack of substance in some scenes, as well as other scenes being pushed down to compensate with the little time the movie has.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie begins with out two brothers, Mario and Luigi, living in Brooklyn, New York struggling to get their new plumbing business off the ground and running. Their family do not help them at all, giving them words of scolding rather than encouragement. After seeing on the news that Brooklyn is having a massive plumbing problem, they rush to the scene, desperate to get their names out there. They arrive and pull some shenanigans, which then ends with them underground in a pipe maze. They find our iconic green pipe and get pulled into this warp dimension; Luigi gets sent to the Dark lands, and Mario to the Mushroom Kingdom.

The voice acting in this movie was stellar and I definitely owe everyone on the VA team an apology for my past pessimism when they were announced, especially with Chris Pratt as Mario. He was definitely one of the best performances in this movie, followed by Charlie Day as Luigi, Jack Black as Bowser, and Anya Talor-Joy as Princess Peach. How could we talk Mario without his original voice actor, Charles Martinet? It was confirmed that he would be in this movie, but I really wish we got to hear more of him, honestly.

The animation in this movie was stellar and groundbreaking compared to what Illumination usually churns out. You could really tell they improved a lot and cared about making this movie the best they could produce. The animation truly compliments the brilliant settings designed for this movie. But there are some parts where you could really tell that this was an Illumination film, not that that’s a bad thing this time around.

(SPOILERS) I will now talk about the number of references that I noticed in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Despite not being a big Mario fan, I was still able to pick out a LOT of fun refences sprinkled into this movie. My favorites being references to other Nintendo games, like Star Fox and Punch-Out, and the worldbuilding and designs in this film. The Mushroom Kingdom was amazing and masterfully crafted with Easter eggs of the past Mario games; the Mushroom Kingdom was definitely my favorite place in the whole movie. Then there were Easter eggs to Super Smash Bros., which keeps the tradition that the Sonic the Hedgehog movies started of referencing the classic games that inspired the films.

(MORE SPOILERS) However, the worst part of the movie has to be the really weird pacing. The Super Mario Bros. Movie starts off really fast, practically catapulting you into the plot without giving you time to process the scenes being presented to you. This issue kind of dies down towards the middle of the movie, but picks up again at the end. It felt like its 92 minutes was way too short for this movie and should’ve been extended by another half hour. It was a shame to skip right past the many areas Mario, Peach, and Toad traveled to, like The Sand Kingdom from Super Mario Odyssey and the area full of Cheep Cheeps. But the biggest downside has to be the disrespect that the Yoshis received in this movie. They only had one scene and weren’t even in the foreground.  And I also felt the ending suffered from this fast pace, too. It was basically speeding past everything that happened after the brothers defeated Bowser. This is one of the complaints from the critics that was actually valid.

(EVEN MORE SPOILERS) Enough with the negatives, let’s move back onto the positives! The ideas presented in this movie were amazing and even surprised me. I especially loved the idea of the Kongs using karts as a main form of transportation, which gave the film an excuse to throw in many Mario Kart references, including the legendary Rainbow Road. The whole Rainbow Road ambush scene is a highlight of the film for me, mostly because of the Mario 64 feel we got to see after the scene, which was as scarily scarring and traumatizing as ever. But my favorite scene hands down has to be the Super Star final fight with Luigi and Mario. I was so happy to hear the invincibility theme while they were shredding through Bowser’s army.

(LAST SPOILERS) I heard that there was a post-credit scene in this movie, so we waited, but was it worth it? In my opinion, yes and no. The post-credit scene shows us the pipe maze we saw at the beginning of the film and zooms into a Yoshi egg, which then cracks and the screen cuts to black with the iconic “Yoshi!” scream. Sure, I am happy we may get another film, and Yoshi will be a more prominent role in it, but this gives zero clues as to what it could be. Side note: my theater had a young adult group all dressed up as Mario characters, and they yelled and hollered at this scene as if the next Marvel movie was being teased; it was so funny to see them having a blast!

Would I recommend The Super Mario Bros. Movie? Yes, absolutely so; it is a must-watch and groundbreaking videogame adaption that just proves to us that the video game movie curse has been broken permanently! I would say that this is the best video game adaption, even better than the Sonic the Hedgehog movies, but being a Sonic fan, those movies were more enjoyable. However, The Super Mario Bros. Movie comes very, very close to beating them. I hope they do go forward with a sequel, because I just want to see more of the colorful and fun Mario universe on the big screen in the future!

Angelo Soto


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