Critics Smash The Super Mario Bros. Movie


Art/Photo by Westley

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) is one of the hottest topics of conversation. Mario’s status as such an integral pop culture character has led to intense scrutiny about the movie’s quality, but has since received generally positive reviews.

Anthony Parker, Entertainment & News Editor

   On April 5, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” hit theaters with an overall mixed response. Critics slammed the movie for multiple issues, whilst audiences praised it for its unique take on the Mario series. It recently became the highest grossing animated movie of all time, beating “Frozen II.” Does the movie deserve the praise? Or are the critics right? 

  Initially, fans of the Mario franchise were scared of the movie’s outcome. It was revealed in 2020 that the animated studio Illumination would be making the movie alongside Nintendo. Illumination is known for making kids movies with very little for older individuals to enjoy. In 2022, Nintendo announced the voice roles for the movie. Actors such as Chris Pratt, Jack Black, and Keegan-Micheal Key would play some of the main cast. Due to the actors’ immense social popularity, fans assumed that they would not match the characters from the original video games.

   “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” follows the titular Mario brothers, attempting to achieve success in Brooklyn with their new plumbing business. After multiple mishaps, Mario and Luigi are transferred to the video game world, where Mario must rescue Luigi from the infamous Bowser. Mario teams up with many famous Nintendo characters, such as Princess Peach, Toad, and Donkey Kong. Once released, the movie received a hurtful 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes from critics. However, audience scores on the same site were very high, reaching an amazing 96 percent. Why are critics and audience reviews of the movie so different? 

   One of the critics main complaints was the pacing of the movie. Since the film is targeted towards children, it moves at a very fast pace in order to keep the audience’s attention. Anthony Meneses (11) noticed that the pacing was a “little off.” If the movie was a little slower, he believes that he would’ve had a better experience watching. Meneses is a member of West’s Esports team and is the representative for Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. video game. As a big fan of Mario and the Nintendo license, he thought the movie was well done. He believes that the references and mechanics of the video games “were translated into the movie appropriately.” Controversy began due to the casting of Chris Pratt as Mario, since he doesn’t utilize a strong Italian accent in the movie. Meneses stated that his voice was a bit generic, and he would’ve liked to still see the “Italian accent on Mario, but watered down a little bit.” Overall, he thought the movie’s voice casting was pretty good, especially Bowser played by Jack Black. 

   Nancy Kim (12), a student who doesn’t consider herself a “hardcore Mario fan” but is knowledgeable of the games, believed that the movie was pretty good. She thought that it was similar to any other modernized remake of our childhoods like “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “The Lego Movie,” and “Detective Pikachu.” To her, the movie was “cringy but funny,” generating laughs “both ironically and unironically.” She was impressed at how “it was not really like playing the game, but instead being in the game.” This experience was helped by all of the classic Mario mechanics implemented into the story and style of the movie. 

    Critics have slammed “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” for being too simple and for attempting to only attract the attention of children. However, audience opinions disagree and argue that the movie is pure fun and a great representation of the Mario franchise. Are the critics correct, or are they being too strict? Watch the movie to form your own opinion!