“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” Review


WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”. If you haven’t seen this movie yet and want to avoid spoilers, please refrain from reading this article. You have been warned.


When it was originally announced that there was going to be a Mario movie, I was ecstatic. Seeing that this is one of the most coveted video game franchises in the world, along with many of the talented actors voicing the characters, it made me realize this was either going to be a hit or miss. This article will discuss the basic premise of the movie, the many references, my actual review, and “Peaches”. 


The movie begins showing Bowser finally attaining the Super Star, giving him power to destroy the Mushroom Kingdom unless Princess Peach marries him. It then flips to Mario and Luigi, two independent plumbers in Brooklyn, New York, and following a large plumbing leak they go out to fix it, only to be sucked into a Warp Pipe and separated as they get transported to the Mushroom Kingdom. Luigi is captured by Bowser and Mario is brought to Peach, and together the two team up to stop Bowser and save Luigi. On their journey, they enlist the help of the Kongs after Mario beats Donkey Kong in a duel, and the group then takes go-karts down a shortcut known as Rainbow Road. Bowser ambushes the group on their way, causing everyone but Mario and DK to be captured, and Bowser heads to have a wedding with Peach lest she see the destruction of the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario and DK realize they’re more similar than different, and taking a rocket from DK’s cart they fly to Bowser’s wedding. Peach is able to freeze Bowser by using an Ice Flower power-up hidden in her bouquet, and once they’re all together they wipe out Bowser army and free all the prisoners, only to have Bowser send a Bomber Bill that Mario knocks into the Warp Pipe, destroying it and sending everyone to Brooklyn. Mario and Luigi team up and, with the power of the Super Star, defeat Bowser and become heroes celebrated by all. Bowser is shrunk with a Mini Mushroom and imprisoned in Peach’s castle and Mario and Luigi are shown beginning their day as plumbers, only to now wake up in their new home in the Mushroom Kingdom.


Given that there are countless references throughout the movie, I’ll focus on the more Mario related ones. An advertisement introduces us to Mario and Luigi’s plumbing business, and the music played is the Mario Rap from the “Super Mario Bros Super Show” from 1989. Charles Martinet, Mario’s actual voice actor for the games, makes an appearance as Mario’s father and a guy named Giuseppe, with the latter using Mario’s actual in-game voice to approve of the brothers’ commercial. As Mario approaches Peach’s castle, which looks exactly like the one from Super Mario 64, the guards joke with Mario when he asks to go in, saying the famous line after you clear a world in the original Super Mario Bros., “Our princess is in another castle”. There’s also a whole scene dedicated to Mario Kart and its infamous Rainbow Road, which is the perfect iconic track to represent the series. The music in this movie goes above and beyond, with Brian Tyler working closely with Koji Kondo, the original creator for much of the Mario franchise’s music. Some of the most notable include the Super Star/Invincibility Theme, Donkey Kong’s “DK Rap”, and “Gusty Garden Galaxy” appearing for the movie’s credits. There are also hundreds of small pieces from the original Mario music weaved into the score, yet Tyler makes it feel original while containing the same Mario essence at its core. One can say the movie is one huge reference, and as a Mario fan I couldn’t be happier.


I would definitely be remiss if I didn’t talk about the masterpiece that is “Peaches”. Originally, there was no mention of any songs until roughly halfway through the recording process, in which Jack Black was offered a ballad to be sung by Bowser. Black worked on it and sent back his own version, and he noted how it was fun to explore the different aspects of revealing Bowser’s softer side in a love song while still showing a sense of jealousy for Peach’s love. All of this culminated in a musical masterpiece by Black that instantly rose to online popularity and became beloved by all.


While references were the movie’s greatest strength, some could say it’s also its greatest weakness. Many critics share the similar view that this movie didn’t try to do much with its story, and putting nostalgia aside I can agree. The movie is filled to the brim with references to the point that it can be summed up with this: Mario and Luigi are plumbers who get separated after going into a mysterious pipe and, with the help of the Mushroom Kingdom and the Kongs, save Luigi and stop Bowser from taking over the world. This is the biggest reason why there’s so much disparity between critics and fans, as hardcore Mario fans and even the standard viewer can appreciate the familiarity of various allusions to the Mario franchise, while critics expect a complex story that expands on the pre-existing characters and a well-developed plot line. In my personal opinion, and judge this how you will considering I’m a big Mario fan, I’d give this movie an 8.4/10. While the story is relatively simple, the amount of detail painted into every corner of the movie was nothing short of astounding. This movie definitely raises the bar for video-game-adapted movies going forward and excites me for what other movies Nintendo plans on developing.


If you’re a Mario fan and haven’t already seen this movie, then you’re just not a Mario fan. If you’re interested in seeing it but are still on the fence, I would highly recommend just getting some friends together and heading to the theaters.