The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

super mario bros the movie poster 2023
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Decent job trying not just being a video game on the screen

Story needed some finessing

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Studio:  Universal Pictures/Nintendo/Illumination Entertainment

Genre(s):  Animated/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  April 1, 2023 (Premiere)/April 5, 2023 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

super mario bros movie vs donkey kong seth rogan

It’s on like Donkey Kong

Mario and Luigi have dreams of being the greatest plumbers in Brooklyn…if they can get their first job.  When Brooklyn is flooded, a trip into the underground reveals a passage to the Mushroom Kingdom.  Unfortunately, Luigi and Mario are separated, and Mario is going to do anything to get his brother back.  Teaming with Toad and Princess Peach, Mario must help build an army to fight Bower…but Bowser wants Princess Peach and Princess Peach isn’t saying yes to his proposal.

Directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a family animated action-adventure movie.  The film is an adaptation of the Nintendo Mario game series.  It received positive reviews and strong box office return.

I grew up on Mario from Donkey Kong (aka Jump Man) to the modern Super Mario Odyssey…I’ve played most of them and finished most of them (I even saw the original Super Mario Bros. movie in the theater).  Video game movies are always tricky.  The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a nice attempt, but there is still room for more improvement.

super mario bros movie bowser peaches jack black


The story is the weakest part of the movie, but it does show signs of being something workable.  Video game movies always are a threat to just be “put the video game on the screen and people will like it”.  There is a lot of that happening in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, but it does try to build a story and does a lot to encompass a lot of the different games (even Wrecking Crew).  It doesn’t slow down and kids will like the relatively manic pacing…but it could be even better.

The casting was controversial.  People were upset that Chris Pratt was selected for Mario though he doesn’t sound like his normal Chris Pratt.  Seth Rogan plays Donkey Kong while Jack Black eats up King Koopa (especially his “Peaches” song).  Charlie Day plays a more competent Luigi (in comparison to his Luigi’s Mansion games), Keegan-Michael Key takes up Toad while Anya Taylor-Joy plays the not-princess-in-distress Princess Peach.  There is also voice work by Fred Armisen and Kevin Michael Richardson along with Mario’s long-time video game actor Charles Martinet playing Giuseppe.

super mario bros movie vs bowser ending invincible star luigi

Do you still have to hit him 3 times?

The movie has the visuals.  It looks both like a video game but also more fleshed out.  It has a lot of in jokes and has a lot of hidden (or overt) ties to games that span generations of games (it particularly won me over by putting Kid Icarus in the movie).  The film also dives deep into pop music for the soundtrack which is somewhat pandering and fun.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is kind of what you’d expect.  It is fun, and it is light.  The movie isn’t supposed to be anything more.  The popcorn nature of this movie does a lot to win you over.  With all the success, I look forward to the next film in the series and hope with less introductions and set-up the movie can just roll…and develop a better story.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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