The Super Mario Bros. Movie review: Game Over

The Super Mario Bros. Movie, image courtesy 2022 Nintendo and Universal Studios
The Super Mario Bros. Movie, image courtesy 2022 Nintendo and Universal Studios /

One of the most popular video games to date is coming to life in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. It’s been quite a year for video game/board game adaptations. Will this one be good? Or will it fall flat?

The Super Mario Bros. Movie follows the story of the brothers on their journey through the Mushroom Kingdom. Chris Pratt stars in the lead role of Mario with Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, and Jack Black as Bowser.

When we first meet Mario and Luigi, they just spent the rest of their money on an ad to ramp up their plumbing business. After dinner with their family, Shorty goes awry, and the duo sees a chance to save the city and put their business on the map. One thing leads to another, and the pair ends up splitting up in the middle of the opposite ends of Mushroom Kingdom. Now, Mario must go on a mission to save his brother while Princess Peach is trying to stop Bowser from destroying the Mushroom Kingdom.

Let’s get the good out of the way first by saying the visuals in this film are brilliant, and the creators do a great job of inserting us into the world of Mario in a way that makes you feel like we were little kids all over again. Another thing I loved was the little easter eggs they placed throughout the film for the callbacks to the games. As far as the cast, Anya Taylor-Joy massively stood out from the rest by giving the best performance as Princess Peach. And Jack Black as Bowser is rather splendid too.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie plays it far too safe

I don’t hate the idea that The Super Mario Bros. Movie is for the kids, but I wish it were willing to take more risks for the adult audiences. I am sure we have plenty of kids that are fans of Mario, but the core fanbase are those of my age and older, so a little dark humor would’ve made this movie much more fun. The script played it far too safe, causing the jokes to be stale and unfunny.

The main cast struggled with their voice acting here, with the key characters in Mario and Luigi, Chris Pratt and Charlie Day, being the biggest culprits. At least with Seth Rogen, he told the world that Seth Rogen was playing Donkey Kong (which was funny), but Pratt and Day were in and out of character within the movie, which became annoying. It got so irritating one minute hearing Day and another hearing his version of Luigi that it took me out of the film.

Overall, there are not enough power-ups to make me want to sit through this again. That said, I do think that families and kids will enjoy this, and because of that, I give it a recommendation, but fans of Mario, temper your expectations a bit. Don’t forget to stay for the very funny post-credit scene.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie hits theaters on April 5, 2023. 

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