The Super Mario Bros. Movie, a long-awaited film featuring the iconic character from gaming, has finally arrived after decades of failed video game adaptations. Despite a live-action film misfire and numerous other disappointments, Illumination and Nintendo’s joint effort has paid off in full. The film benefits from the endless creativity of the game developers, artists, and musicians who have made the Mario franchise a pop culture sensation. It moves forward with the velocity of a Bullet Bill exploding out of a cannon, and presents the Mushroom Kingdom with impressive detail and reverence. Even a flimsy plot cannot detract from the magic of the games that inspired the film.
The premise of The Super Mario Bros. Movie is simple: while working on a plumbing job in Brooklyn, Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) are unexpectedly transported through a warp pipe into the Mushroom Kingdom. They quickly become involved in King Bowser’s (Jack Black) scheme to steal the Super Star and seize control of Princess Peach’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) Toad-filled kingdom. Mario, a fish out of water, goes through the motions of the classic “warrior from another world” trope, but the decades of Mario games provide an infinite number of wild scenarios and imagery for the co-directors, Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go!), to draw from and create inventive action sequences, particularly once Mario gains the ability to fly with a Tanooki suit.
Overall, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a satisfying and thrilling film that has been worth the wait. It celebrates the source material and provides plenty of nods to the long-standing fan base while still appealing to newcomers. It is an example of how, when done right, video game adaptations can be a hit on the big screen.
The impressive soundtrack really captures the grand and playful nature of the game’s music.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is known for its inventive use of recognizable elements from the Mario games to solve problems within the movie’s world. These references are used in ways that feel natural and relevant to the story, making the movie accessible to general audiences while still including inside jokes for fans of the games. The inclusion of these references is not just for the sake of fan service, as they are used to enhance the movie’s world-building.
While some sequences, like the Rainbow Road race, may feel a bit forced, the movie is not expected to provide logical explanations for everything. The audience is already familiar with the fantastical elements of the Mario universe, such as floating platforms and power-ups that transform characters into cats and flamethrowers. Therefore, the inclusion of a Mario Kart race to make a journey from point A to point B more exciting is an acceptable addition to the movie’s world.
Overall, The Super Mario Bros. Movie strikes a good balance between accessibility for general audiences and including nods to fans of the games. The use of recognizable elements from the games is justified and enhances the movie’s world-building.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie has amazing visuals that set a high standard for future video game adaptations. The movie’s use of music, including recognizable tracks from the games, is excellent. However, the addition of pop tracks and generic animation tropes can be annoying. The voice acting is enthusiastic and brings life to the characters, with Jack Black’s Bowser being a standout performance. While Bowser’s motivations are not explored in depth, Black’s portrayal makes him frightening and unpredictable. Despite some flaws, the movie does a good job of balancing natural conversation with fantastical elements, and the supporting characters add range to the ensemble.