‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Review: Mario comes to life in the new movie


The vivid and nostalgic cover for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (Photo courtesy of Nintendo).

Warning: this article contains spoilers for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”

“It’s a me, Mario!”

When “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” trailer was released, it deserved its hype and millions of views. The trailer was a vivid trip of nostalgia for fans that grew up playing the 8-bit games, and to their anticipation, the movie was finally released in theaters on April 5. 

The movie began as a prequel to the many “Mario” game plots we all know and love: Mario and Luigi’s origin story and descent to Mushroom Kingdom. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” kept familiar elements, like game mechanics and character attributes. Although much of their life back in Brooklyn represented in the movie was never revealed in the games, from their struggles with life to their mundane family, the plotline works incredibly well to humanize the two brothers. 

There are slight variations between the movie and the games, but they made the franchise more enjoyable and engaging. 

Mario and Luigi, the best brothers, in front of their plumbing business truck. (Photo courtesy of Nintendo)

Growing up with the games, the bond between the two brothers never really stuck to us. It was always Mario or Luigi, but never Mario and Luigi. By separating the two during their accidental descent to a fantastical universe filled with mushroom people and talking animals, it served to strengthen their endearing bond a difference from the game — yet made it more emotional than the games. 

During Luigi’s whole time in Bowser’s threatening, dark and fiery kingdom, his main goal was to find Mario. Likewise, Mario’s initial reaction and main goal in the foreign Mushroom Kingdom was to rescue Luigi from his eventual demise. Rescuing each other was their main goal not rescuing Princess Peach, which was the main objective of the game. 

Princess Peach and her “getting ready for battle” attire. She is a princess that can actually protect her civilians. (Photo courtesy of Nintendo)

Though Princess Peach didn’t need any rescue at all. Instead of being a typical damsel in distress, she basically carried the whole movie with her skilled usage of power ups and fluid movements — an absolute girl boss. Without her, Mario wouldn’t have known how to use the yellow question mark boxes or had showstopping parkour skills. Even her voice sounded self-assured and assertive, contrary to her meek voice in the games, which we much preferred. 

The voice actors were definitely a different addition to the franchise, especially with well-known actors Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach and Jack Black as Bowser. This was totally unexpected casting, but it definitely works. Each of their voice actors matched the personalities of the characters perfectly, although it was a little upsetting that Mario lost his Italian accent as the movie progressed. Though this small fault was forgiven after hearing Bowser’s “Peaches” ensemble. Even after exiting the theaters, we could still hear his voice echoing in our ears. 

Bowser’s “Peaches” ensemble. He sings fondly of Princess Peach and world domination. (Photo courtesy of Nintendo)

To our surprise, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” successfully incorporated many aspects of the games. From character themes to the classic game mechanics, the movie brought nostalgia to the devoted fans of the Mario franchise. The movie accurately portrays the strong bond between the two brothers, Mario and Luigi, and does different characters such as Princess Peach, Toad and Bowser justice when it comes to both character design and portrayal. Princess Peach’s overall personality and mannerism, Bowser’s grudge against Mario and Toad’s loyalty to both Mario and the Princess remain the same, even on the big screen. 

The nostalgic parkour course in “Super Mario.” (Photo courtesy of Nintendo)

We were thrown back in time when the familiar game mechanics appeared on screen. As Princess Peach was testing Mario’s will to go to the Dark Lands, she introduced him to an obstacle course which, to our surprise, resembled the classic “Super Mario” games’ course! From the green tubes and the pesky piranha plants to the yellow question box that grants players buffs, these well-known game mechanics could be seen throughout the movie. During his battle with Donkey Kong, Mario was seen purposely landing on these yellow boxes in order to receive mushrooms that granted him buffs, such as size and strength, in order to defeat Donkey Kong. 

The infamous Rainbow Road from “Mario Kart” featured in the movie. (Photo courtesy of Nintendo)

The repeated references to the Mario games don’t stop there. In the chase scene, where Mario and his gang were fleeing the Koopas, the characters can be seen on Karts and a rainbow trail, which many fans know can be seen in “Mario Kart.” These references brought a wave of nostalgia upon us and made watching the movie a memorable experience.

While the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” contained a lot of fan favorites, a question arises: did it live up to the hype? 

The movie was a solid adaptation of the Mario video games; however, for a comedy, it lacked depth and included too many humorous aspects instead of progressing the storyline. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” worked well alongside the Mario franchise; however, as a standalone movie, it wasn’t the most engaging, as it had a slow start and too many unnecessary scenes that could’ve been left out. 

We wouldn’t rewatch it for the plot, although we would for the animation and nostalgia. The movie is definitely more enjoyable for those who grew up playing the games, as it was fun to point out the hidden easter eggs within the animation… like Tanooki Mario from “Super Mario Bros. 3.”