The spectacular Super Mario show

A movie about a plumber does the gaming community justice


Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

The wide array of characters throughout the film is a spectacle. References of retro games with modern comedy combine to make a fun experience for any age.

Eddie Shi, Staff Reporter

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” cast was shockingly revealed in September 2021. A star-studded cast of Chris Pratt, Jack Black and Seth Rogan play critical characters throughout the film. The movie was releasing trailers until its release on April 5. During the promotion time, many fans had hoped for a lighthearted adventure movie that stirred up nostalgia from their childhood. Luckily, the film delivered one of the best gaming movies of the year.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was made in collaboration with Universal Pictures, Illumination and Nintendo. These massive studios do not disappoint with their animations and world-building. Hundreds of interactions and events are happening in the background of the main scenes. For example, when Mario attempts to meet Princess Peach, the mushroom citizens can be seen hitting coin ATMs, moving crates, or just reading books on a bench. The textures are well-animated, with fluid movement among the characters. Unlike Illuminations’ past works with Despicable Me, there’s no choppiness or rigidness with the turtles, mushrooms, or monkeys.

*Spoilers below

From the movie’s beginning, there is a minor conflict between the Mario brothers and their new plumbing company. After buying a lighthearted commercial to boost business, many people criticized them for pursuing their dream. Their father wasn’t supportive, and neither was Mario’s former boss. The only person that supported them was the mother. I thought this would be a tremendous underlying plot point, but nothing comes of this. There’s only one scene at the finale where the dad comes and says he’s proud of them after the Mario brothers save Brooklyn. I felt like there was wasted potential for a family connection throughout the movie. However, I liked that Mario’s former boss appeared during the final fight with Bowser. He didn’t do anything but provide something for the audience to laugh at.

The lighthearted nature of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is why there is such a rating difference between critics and the general audience. Critics analyze, and well, critique shows. They look for issues and provide their feedback. When gauging critically, the movie has several plot holes and things where nothing makes sense, even for cartoon logic. In one scene, a toolbox appears in Luigi’s arm. In a set right after, the toolbox disappears only for it to reappear a few moments later out of thin air. The lava physics does not make sense, but cartoon lava never makes sense, so it gets a pass. However, the pipes absolutely do not. The show never discusses what the pipes are and why an explosion would cause a black hole-like suction to the human universe. It doesn’t explain how the Mario brothers returned to the “Mushroom Kingdom” either.

Yet, the biggest issue with the movie is motivation. There is no motivation in the film, so everyone is left with the feeling of why. I don’t know why Bowser was in love with Peach. There was no explanation of any of the kingdoms. One of the main characters, Toad, just appeared with no exposition or backstory and was used only when the story needed him to be used. The purpose of any character besides Bowser, Peach, Donkey Kong and Mario and be questioned. The barely flushed-out main characters are the only necessary characters for the show to run its course; the rest of the cast can be randomly filled out.

In the middle of the movie, many references are thrown in, and even a training session is added. It wouldn’t be a high-budget animation movie without iconic songs like “I Need a Hero” playing during such training sequences. The combat training was terrific. Besides the spot-on implementation of game mechanics into a movie, the actual fights were creative and used many different power-ups. Mario beating up Donkey Kong as a cat and fighting a nuclear Bullet Bill as a tanuki will forever be iconic. This movie was made for a young and fun audience with patronage to the original Mario players that get every carefully crafted reference.

It’s made clear at the end; “the Super Mario Bros. Movie” does not want to appeal to critics. The final fight with Bowser and the end of the Mario Kart race proved to the audience that it stays true to the Mario games. The movie brought an authentic Super Mario Bros experience to a large audience. Watching the film and spotting references without taking it super seriously is an extremely enjoyable experience. Also, Jack Black putting his life’s soul into singing as Bowser’s “Peaches” was the best thing in any movie I’ve seen in 2023. 4/5