“The Super Mario Bros Movie” surpasses expectations as a fun animated adventure for everyone

Though flawed, the new animated hit film is a fun adventure revolving around a familiar video game icon in an unfamiliar world on a mission to save his brother.


Melanie Gomez, Features Editor

The Super Mario Bros Movie just had the biggest opening weekend ever for an animated film beating out the sequel to the Disney film Frozen, which has held the record since 2019. Even though the film opened in theaters just the other week, it is certain that this film will be one of the biggest films of the year and perhaps even the decade.

The movie adaptation based on the popular video game franchise is already the second Western adaptation and the second animated film adaptation overall.  There was a Japanese exclusive animated film released in 1986 and the Western live-action film released in 1993 that failed critically and financially.  Since the 1993 film, the company behind Mario’s fantastical world, Nintendo had been hesitant in making another Western-made film, that is until now.

However, film critics have given the film negative to mixed reviews citing their own issues with the film’s plot and characterization. Meanwhile, the majority of fans who came out to watch the film since its release has given it overwhelmingly positive reviews as they believed it was made with a genuine love for Nintendo fans. 

Before I went to see the film I took into consideration the two sides of opinions that have formed, those who hate the film and the plot, and those who have everlasting adoration for it. 

Like many, I have been a Super Mario fan since childhood and grew to play Mario platforming titles such as Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey. Since the movie was announced it has been one of my most anticipated movies to date and as a person who has watched the 1993 film before, I had hoped that this would be the one to finally get it right.

I was going into the movie a bit concerned with the reviews, but when I came out of it I would say that I was surprised by the amount of joy that I had gotten out of the movie experience. In fact, I think this is the most fun I have had watching a movie in theaters in ages.

The plot itself I noticed is quite a mix of different Mario media properties throughout the years and includes plenty of easter eggs for fans. The beginning of the film takes elements from some of the earlier Mario adaptations, especially the ‘80s cartoon The Super Mario Bros Super Show, a Western cartoon of the Mario franchise that aired on American television in 1989. 

The film begins with the brothers, Mario and Luigi, starting their plumbing business in Brooklyn and branching away from their old boss, Spike. After a failed first plumbing job, the brothers are clowned by their Italian American family, including their father who is voiced by Mario’s video game voice actor Charles Martinet. After the brothers see a massive flood in the news, Mario has an idea to fix it much to Luigi’s reluctance. However, the brothers are sucked into a green pipe they have found and are warped into separate locations in an alternate world. Luigi was captured by the servants of the villainous Bowser and Mario lands in the Mushroom Kingdom where he must seek the guidance of the only other human, Princess Peach.

Overall, I thought the story was fine for what it was. After all, it is a film marketed towards children but made for everyone. I didn’t expect the movie that has much of a complicated plot and it really didn’t need much to keep you entertained. It was bright and colorful, and the animation really did bring me into the world of Super Mario. It was a very beautiful and visually appealing movie to look at, especially with the scenes including the Mushroom Kingdom and Rainbow Road.

They did fine trying to put in as much lore as possible, yet they were missing quite a few notable things I expected to see in the movie. However, I think that they are saving some of these elements and characters for a sequel that I could definitely imagine would be made soon. 

The few things I would complain about are my personal preference and that being the wasted potential of the usage of Luigi in this movie. I thought that Charlie Day did a good job voicing Luigi, though he isn’t the stereotypical Italian American voice that we are used to, however, his voice fits Luigi as a character very well and it was a shame he wasn’t in more scenes or had a larger role in a side plot. After all, the movie is called the Super Mario Bros Movie, not just the Super Mario movie. I’m hoping that if the sequel is developed that the next movie will flesh out Luigi more, perhaps Luigi’s Mansion-themed side plot or a solo movie.

As for the other voice actors, I think the majority of them did fine in their roles, even the controversial decision to cast actor Chris Pratt over the voice behind Mario, Charles Martinet. Pratt definitely was the weakest voice actor in the main cast, with his voice being a sort of mix of Martinet and Pratt’s own voice, but it was okay for what it was. 

Anya Taylor Joy did well as Princess Peach, though it was just Joy using her more Americanized accent for the role. Like Day, she didn’t stray that far from using a unique voice. While not so cartoony, she definitely embodied the stronger side of Peach they decided to do for the film, which I enjoyed quite a lot. I can also give props to Seth Rogan as Donkey Kong, who surprisingly was also a delight to see on screen. 

However, Jack Black as Bowser is the strongest voice of them all, he brought a new level of entertainment for the villain. He balanced both the intimidating side of Bowser while also mastering the comedic side of him that we see in the games. 

Character development was typical, nothing extravagant, all it was simply Mario trains to be better and smarter and Luigi becomes braver. I think it would be that adding an additional half an hour of runtime would probably fix some of the weaknesses the film had. In reality, a lot of the issues I had was that the film was that it was extremely fun, yet it felt like it was way too short. 

In the end, it’s definitely a good movie for everyone to enjoy, Mario fan or not. I still would recommend it despite my own personal preferences, it could be better, but it is still a great watch. I will definitely revisit it in the future when it comes to streaming and I am highly anticipating a sequel.