The Super Mario Bros Movie review

The Super Mario Bros Movie review

It’s THE Super Mario Bros Movie, not A Super Mario Bros Movie

The Super Mario Bros Movie is an interesting project for both Nintendo and Illumination. Not only is it trying to satisfy the typical needs of a movie (plot, visuals, themes, etc) but it also needs to honor the history of the Mario IP. While it mostly succeeds in the former, it’s designed so that the former actually supports the more weighted latter.

The plot is fairly thin; we know Mario gets sucked into a pipe and ends up in the Mushroom Kingdom, which is under attack by Bowser and his forces, only to serve as the last hope to save the day. We know this because that’s the plot of every single Super Mario Bros game. Mario + Luigi rescue the Princess and beat Bowser. The Hero’s Journey. Every time!

And so with this take on the IP, that cadence stays exactly the same.

But the important part may be that no one who’s seeing this movie actually cares about that aspect. From the moment the film starts, we can’t help but point to the screen almost endlessly, shouting out things like “that’s from Mario 3” or “look, the Kart I always use” or “that’s Charles Martinet!” Every scene, every moment is filled with an overflowing amount Mario-isms that we shift our focus to expect and hope for the next thing that pops up will be something that we recognize too.

It’s almost fascinating because, ultimately, the Super Mario Bros Movie isn’t so much a single-viewing theater blockbuster, but yet another way to experience Mario’s history, compacted and condensed into a tight hour and a half. The movie is so fixated on delivering that direction that this film will ultimately be watchable for years, and not necessarily for a story that may become stale, but for it being a way to see everything about Nintendo’s hero and get firmly caught up on who he and the series’ cast of characters are. It’s a cutscene that touches on every Mario game, a theme park experience that runs on its own for us to soak in. This is *THE* Super Mario Bros Movie, not *A* Super Mario Bros Movie.

And, for that, it’s fine to stare at the screen and point and reminisce.

This review is based on seeing the film in a theater, loaded up on nachos and blue raspberry Icees.