It’s finally time to review the Mario movie. Right when the trailers came out I had a feeling that this one would be a winner because it just looked like a lot of fun. Now granted, I am one of the few supporters of the 90s film from the start and I don’t intend to reverse course now but even I have to say that it was surpassed by this one. The new Mario movie really does justice to the franchise and has a ton of great easter egg and character moments for all to enjoy. It’s definitely one of the top gaming movies out there really just after the first two Mortal Kombat films and the second Sonic movie. If we start to get technical like with the animated Tekken and Final Fantasy VII films then things get a little dicey so lets not count those for now.
The movie starts off with Mario and Luigi finally getting their commercial to appear over the news. They’re excited since now they can expand their plumbing business. Unfortunately their family members aren’t very supportive and it’s really been tough. When they end up messing up on their first job, all seems lost but they won’t give up! When trying to stop a big disaster in the city they end up getting transported to the Mushroom Kingdom and Luigi is kidnapped by Bowser’s forces. Mario will now have to team up with Princess Peach in order to save his bro, but will he be able to do this? Bowser is known far and wide as being immensely powerful.
Of course in the games you always beat Bowser but in the 2D ones that is only because of his fatal weakness to fire and in 3D you typically use bombs to beat him or throw in a black hole. This time Mario has to try going mano and mano and it’s tough since he can’t even beat the local work bully back home. Still, where there’s a will there’s a way and Mario puts in a lot of work to improve his skills and get ready for the challenges that are to come. He makes for a solid main character who never gives up and always stays true to himself. It was always great seeing him defend Luigi from the bullies both in the past and then in the present at the café.
If I have one little complaint about Mario it’s that he is a bit too weak physically at the beginning though. He should absolutely be able to handle Spike and just about any normal human he comes across. I mean Mario is a human too I suppose and I guess it’s actually a legit plot point that he’s smaller than most but you figure he makes up for that with agility and power. Later on in the mushroom kingdom he is pulling off some good jumps and acrobatics so I assume that any human is capable of this unless there is a twist that Mario is not human. I wouldn’t even mind that twist to be honest since it could be interesting but having him lose to a random guy was a bit much. I’m guessing they were going with a parallel to the first Sonic movie where he lost to a random punk but it just didn’t work out.
Back to the positives, the animation here is definitely top notch. It really looks just like the games. The colors are vibrant the whole time and everything has a fast paced energy to it. Things are always happening and that’s part of what makes the movie so exciting. You aren’t given a lot of time to rest or anything like that, it’s just all full speed ahead! As a result the movie seems to really end in a snap but the benefit of this is that there is no wasted time. Something is always happening here and all of the story beats work.
One of the most significant changes here is Peach who has turned from being a damsel in distress to a real fighter. It’s about time that they updated her character to be honest and this is easily the best version of her yet. I love the confidence and she does a whole lot of damage to Bowser’s kingdom. I dare say the film could have even gone just a little bit further here and had her get into a one on one battle with Bowser. The way she wielded her axe/trident type weapon I think she could have done a good job. Would have gone something like Yamato vs Kaido where Mario then steps in to finish the fight. Still, I was more than satisfied with what we got here.
Now the movie seems to be setting up a bit of a romance with Mario and Peach here which I’m not really buying into. They barely know each other at all here and DK teasing them about it doesn’t make much sense because they were having a completely normal conversation. Much like the games I expect this romance to not go anywhere and they stay in the permanent friend zone but we’ll see how it goes. Right now I’d much rather we keep the friendship dynamic with a lot of good banter to go along with it. Now that Mario has saved the world I see him having a lot more confidence and really keeping up with the banter on his side. So that’ll just make the dynamic even better than it was here.
Toad was also way better than I expected. For starters he wasn’t annoying and he wasn’t all talk either. This was a Toad who could actually defend himself and fight back. Needless to say I was not expecting that since it’s super rare for a Toad to do anything except get bullied and crushed all the time. This Toad knew what he was doing and ended up helping out when it counted. I look forward to seeing more of him in the sequel. Luigi doesn’t do a lot here and he’s mostly scared the whole time so I wouldn’t say he was great. I look forward to him getting some more development and really helping out in the future. Now that will be a real credit to his character and then he can team up with Mario on an even playing field.
The worst character by far was the Luma though. The gimmick of always being depressed about everything and thinking they were all going to die stopped being funny after about 1 second. Eh, definitely a swing and a miss from the film in terms of having a gimmick character. I much preferred the work bully because at least that guy had confidence and wouldn’t just give up like that. Meanwhile DK was also a really solid character here. They did a good job of showing off his strength but maybe too much in a way because nobody’s going to buy into Mario taking him on. DK was landing combo after combo on him so a comeback would just be impossible. The difference in their abilities was just too much and I would have had Mario take a hard loss but DK decide to help anyway.
The fight was fun though as we get a lot of back and forth there with some good Super Smash moves. As a slight missed opportunity I think we should have had a proper DK vs Bowser fight though. It could have been like Hulk vs Thanos in showing just how strong Bowser is. He’s always a decent amount ahead of DK after all and this would establish him as even more of a threat. The climax still works due to the circumstances there so that would be good.
Now, I do have to say Bowser wasn’t quite as solid as he could have been though. They focus a bit too much on how he’s in love with Peach and it comes at the expense of him being a true threat. His song wasn’t very good either so that was unfortunate. I know it’s getting a lot of buzz but it wasn’t really my thing. I like Bowser as the antagonist who looks out for his troops and is generally a wholesome guy. His not even knowing the name of some of his minions felt a bit out of character there. This is probably one of Bowser’s weakest incarnations as a result and I hope he improves in the sequel since I would like to see him be a threat again. Surely this isn’t the end of the road for him so lets get him back into the swing of things right away!
While I didn’t really care for the Bowser song, I did enjoy the soundtrack a lot overall. When the hero song started to play I knew that things were getting real. That song is always excellent and really gets you feeling the hype. It worked out well during Mario’s trial attempts and I dare say it would have worked really well in the climax as well. Then you also have the actual Mario game tunes which are solid as always. The movie definitely paid attention to the details here.
At the end of the day the most important thing here is that the movie is a lot of fun. That’s absolutely what you are hoping for with a title like this because if the movie was even slightly boring then something went dreadfully wrong. This is not the kind of movie that should ever be boring. That just wouldn’t make any sense. It’s also always nice to see all of the little cameos like King Bob Omb and King Boo running around. Definitely big villains from the classic days and acknowledging their existence was a great move. One of the best things you can say about the movie is that it really had no glaring weaknesses. It’s just a lot of fun all around.
Overall, The Super Mario Bros movie is a great title. There is a whole lot to love here and it has a ton of replay value. The adventure is great and the movie has an excellent cast of characters. We’ve already set up a whole lot of world building. I’m hoping the sequel adapts Super Mario Sunshine since I think that’s a very organic adventure to deal with next. Of course there are a lot of options so we’ll have to see how it goes. The final after credits scene is a lot weaker than expected though so don’t expect anything too hype there. It was definitely a questionable decision ending with that scene but hey I’m still glad it did have an after credits scene overall. Hopefully they don’t wait too long before releasing that film because I don’t want to wait.
What did you think of the voices? I haven’t seen it yet, but from the trailers, for instance, Bowser speaks but I “see” Jack Black onscreen since it’s clearly his voice. I mean, true, other video game adaptations also had big names as voices, but most have been live action versus a fully animated work.
I thought they did pretty well but you absolutely do hear the actor/actresses voices as much or even more than the characters. I’d say especially for Mario and Bowser since their celebrity voices are so well known. I thought the voices worked well for the characters though so it worked out
This movie is chock full of Mario references to the point every frame might need pausing to identify which reference.
And I enjoy it for that.
Absolutely, they did great putting everything in this one. Really looking forward to that sequel!
. I think this movie was a lot of fun but it fell short with the story I felt like I was watching a cinematic for a video game that I would probably buy 😆
The sequel will probably add some extra plot elements to make the sequel really grand. Maybe we’ll get to see Daisy and some of those alien villains. That would definitely do the trick