The Super Mario Bros Movie – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Super Mario Bros Movie – Brothers, Nostalgia and Mushrooms: A Nintendo Tale

In the landscape of cinema, we escape into many different worlds.  From the common to the abstract, diving into the unknown brings intrigue to the journey.  With a relative string, the colorful can be real … especially when adaptations go beyond the imagination.  In this review, I look at a film that attempts to bring our childhood to the big screen.  With a very popular IP, the journey is a mixed bag of fondness and predictability.  Even through the simplistic notion of storytelling, The Super Mario Bros Movie is a genuine escape into the Mushroom Kingdom. 

The film follows two brothers, Mario (Voice: Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Voice: Charlie Day), as they are sucked into an adventure of a lifetime.  From reality to the obscure, will they find their way or be lost to another world.  On the surface, this adaptation builds off the outline of the hero’s tale:

               Reluctant main character > thrust into conflict/situation > series of reflective moments (for courage) > Overcome flaws to save (people/world)

Even with a basic outline, what makes or breaks the experience are two things: the characters and world-building.  In the beginning, the audience is introduced to Mario and Luigi, two brothers trying to establish their plumbing business in Brooklyn.  Through convenient plot devices, they get separated when sucked into another world.  Mario lands in the Mushroom Kingdom and Luigi lands (and is captured) in the dark lands.  After a series of expositional conversations, Mario teams up with Princess Peach (Voice: Anya Taylor-Joy) to stop Bowser (Voice: Jack Black) from his conquest.  From this point, the film is a ‘point A to B’ style journey, with a mixture of colorful world-building, folly circumstances and witty like moments.  Within the aspect of predictability, what draws you to the journey is nostalgia.  With this being Nintendo’s foray into film (after 30 years), there is a lot of potential that could be lost in translation.  For all the basic tropes that seem derivative, it is the simplistic aspect that brings realism to the imaginative.  The escape leads to moments that are nostalgic, but character driven.  There is a certain levity to Mario, Peach, Bowser that subverts their generalized archetypes.  For all that is likely, you develop a fondness for humanistic overtures within purpose.  Even within a overstretched plot devices, it is everything else that leads towards a pathway of enjoyment.   

As Mario continues, there is an expansiveness of world-building and nostalgia.  As new characters come into the fray like Donkey Kong (Voice: Seth Rogan), you get a liveliness that builds off the contrast of personalities.  As friction builds through budding of relationships, it builds off that ‘brotherly’ concept.  While motives are simplistic, it is those raw moments that provide a uniqueness to each character (including Bowser).  As certain plans get disrupted, we head into third act where Mario must find that ‘courage’ to save both worlds.  The finale is a mixed bag of CGI overload, action sequences and a finale of expected detail.  Even in that ‘hero’s triumph’ climax, there is a genuine feeling built within brotherly love.  The Super Mario Bros Movie might play off nostalgia, but there is a lot of fun in the escape.  If you are a fan of Nintendo, this property or imaginative world-building, this is one for you.  I say this can be fun for the family, at the right price.

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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