The Super Mario Bros. Movie: Surprisingly Good

After years of anticipation, intrigue, and even some controversy, The Super Mario Bros. Movie was released in April 2023, quickly becoming a box office hit. After only a month of being released, the film grossed over $1 billion at the box office, over ten times its budget.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a colorful journey from start to end. Despite having a rather weak plot, the visuals and sound design more than make up in terms of entertainment value. While the prologue taking place in Brooklyn can feel bland at times, as soon as the protagonists enter the vibrant Mushroom Kingdom, the visual quality immediately leaps up enough to distract from any sort of issues with plot. From the winding cityscape of Toads, to the fiery depths of Bowser’s floating castle, the visuals are enough to draw attention and keep anyone entertained, children and adults alike.

Another highlight of the Super Mario Bros. Movie is the voice acting. Jack Black’s performance as Bowser is near perfection, as is Keegan-Michael Key as Toad. Despite the controversial casting, I was pleasantly surprised by Chris Pratt’s performance as Mario. Although his performance does have issues, the negatives are entertaining enough to laugh at, such as his constant “serious” one liners. Lines such as, “Meow” truly bring the movie above and beyond. At the climax, when Mario said, “Let’s-a go,” my group burst into cheers.

The best part of the movie is easily the music. Almost all of the score of the movie is adapted versions of themes from the Mario game series. Every time a new motif I recognized came up in the score, I couldn’t help but get excited all over again. The highlight of the score was the DK Rap from Donkey Kong 64. Completely unaltered from its original version, it was a beautiful homage to the Donkey Kong franchise.

Overall, the Super Mario Bros. Movie is a fun watch and a beautiful love letter to the entire franchise. I’d recommend it to anyone who grew up playing the games or watching the original Super Mario Bros. show, as well as anyone who would enjoy the wonderful visuals or Jack Black’s performance.