The Super Mario Bros. Movie Review


Official Theatrical Release Poster (Illumination Studios/ Universal Pictures)

James Steigerwald, Feature Editor

In September of 2021, Nintendo announced they would be teaming up with Illumination and Universal Pictures to make an animated Super Mario Bros movie. This was huge news, especially for those who had grown up with the games.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” moves at an exceptionally fast pace. The plot throws a lot at you and does not waste any time explaining. If you’re familiar with the Mario games you’ll understand a lot, but if you’re not, you will have to accept that this is a world with floating question mark boxes and mushrooms that make you bigger when you eat them.

Because everything moves so fast, the plot is thin and does not leave much room for the characters to develop. But do the plot and characters necessarily need to excel in a movie about two plumbers going head-to-head against a fire-breathing turtle?

No, not really.

The movie does not really have anything to say, and that’s completely fine. It primarily exists to be a thrill ride that focuses more on its world-building. The action set pieces it moves through are fun and visually stunning, filled with easter eggs and references that give it so much charm. Illumination has really stepped up its animation game, and in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” their improvement shows.

One of the most controversial talking points leading up to the movie’s release was its voice cast. When it was announced that Chris Pratt was going to be voicing Mario, the majority of supporters did not take the news well. From the teasers and trailers, it seemed like Mario’s voice was not distinct enough, and sounded more like Chris Pratt than it did the character. But after watching the movie, Mario’s voice was not bad after all. It wasn’t amazing, but in no way did it ruin my enjoyment of the movie. Pratt surprisingly did a decent job with it.

The rest of the voice acting was great as well, with Anya Taylor Joy as Princess Peach, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, and Keegan Michael-Key as Toad. Charlie Day does a fantastic job as Luigi, which is a shame considering he gets sidelined pretty hard in the movie and deserved more time to shine.

The instrumental score remixes themes from all the games and does a great job with accuracy. It was nice that some audiences were able to hear the music from the games they grew up with, reimagined in a modern fashion for the movie. There were awesome renditions of the Super Star Theme, and Bowser’s Castle Theme, and hearing the DK rap was an absolute joy.

Overall this movie serves as a big love letter to the “Mario” franchise, with its fantastic set pieces, references, and music. The people working on the movie clearly had extensive knowledge of the games, which is especially great for hardcore fans. While the movie can be overwhelming at times, it flows well and is a ton of fun to watch, making it an all-around memorable experience.