Super Movie Bros.

Despite disapproval from critics, the “Super Mario Bros.” Movie engages audiences through its compelling plot and recognizable characters.


“Let’s a-go!” 

On April 5th, Universal Studios released “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” based on the well-known video game series; with its iconic music, characters, power-ups, scenes and obstacles, fans of the beloved video game are super to love the movie. 

While the movie pays homage to the games, it also adds complexities to the characters and gives them each a unique backstory and identity. Tensions between Mario, Luigi and their parent are high due to their parent’s lack of belief in the brother’s new plumbing business, “Super Mario Brother’s Plumbing.” This conflict makes the character more accessible early on in the movie and encourages the audience to root for the brothers as they try to prove themselves to each other and their parents. 

The voice of Mario is expertly handled by actor Chris Pratt—he manages to make Mario even more lovable. The voice of Luigi is done by actor Charlie Day, who gives Luigi warmth and humor. While neither of the brothers has the classic Italian accent from the video games, I felt that they captured the essence of the characters perfectly. 

Another character with added depth is Bowser, voiced by actor Jack Black. Black’s portrayal of Bowser certainly stole the show with his impeccable comedic timing and heavy metal singing voice. While Bowser is the quintessential villain in the movie, the reason for Bowser’s need for domination is his love for Princess Peach, voiced by actress Anya Taylor-Joy. The love Bowser has for Peach is portrayed in the song “Peaches,” written and performed by Jack Black. This performance in the movies is so memorable that the song is now sweeping the nation with almost 9 million streams on Spotify. 

The animation style in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is whimsical and vibrant; it captures the look and feel of the video game while adding a more modern and relatable look. The movie starts in Brooklyn and sees Mario and Luigi enter Princess Peach’s world via the Brooklyn sewer system. As the audience watches the brothers move through the city and work with Todd to get to the Princess, they are given glimpses of each classic Nintendo game, including “MarioKart,” “Super Smash Bros.,” “Donkey Kong,” “Punch Out,” and, of course, “Super Mario Bros.,” which originally debuted in October 1985. 

The soundtrack throughout the film perfectly reflects each different level and version of its namesake game. Luigi’s phone ringtone is even the well-known Nintendo game console start-up sound. However, while the music in the movie is definitely recognizable, it is adjusted in a way that makes it feel more like a movie soundtrack and less like a video game. The harmonies are subtle and less overt while still giving the nod to the classic Super Mario sound. 

While critics have had lackluster reactions to the film, with a 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience has rated the film a whopping 96%, demonstrating the love and support the watchers and fans have for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” The critics’ low ratings seem to be calling into question the reliability of reviewers and prompting discussion on social media platforms such as TikTok and Twitter.

Despite the reviews, the film has broken the record for the high-grossed animated film and the highest-grossing film of 2023 with $500 million at the global box office, surpassing films such as Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” Moviegoers who grew up playing the iconic Super Mario games on Nintendo will appreciate the way the movie celebrates the video games and brings these characters to life, a true love letter to Nintendo fans. Even viewers who are new to the world of Nintendo will find the story endearing, relatable and fun. No matter who you are, this movie will leave you feeling joyful, happy and ready to pick up a controller to join in the fun for yourself.