The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a Lot of Fun, But Also Simple and Formulaic

The Super Mario Bros. Movie was made with fans of all ages in mind, which is perhaps where it falters. It’s packed full of Easter Eggs and video game references. These don’t necessarily take away from the plot, but the story itself has its issues.

That said, for those who are massive Mario and Nintendo fans, this movie is going to have you excited. It is fun and entertaining, even with its several flaws.

How Is The Voice Acting?

Ever since the first trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie was released, there has been a lot of debate about Chris Pratt’s Mario voice. It doesn’t match the iconic one that fans are used to. However, I assure you that this is addressed in a way that makes perfect sense very early on in the movie. That voice is not the direction that the filmmakers wanted to go in, but you will hear Pratt try his hand at it – and trust me, he can totally pull it off.

However, with the amount of lines that Mario has in the movie, considering that it focuses around him and Princess Peach, the iconic voice would have gotten old very quickly. It was smart to go down this road instead. It doesn’t take long before you stop paying attention to what he sounds like, and start paying attention to the story.

As for the rest of the cast, they all bring something great to the table. It is always a risk when creatives decide to go with actors who are more known for their live action performances than their voices in animated films. Although this is starting to become the norm.

Anya Taylor-Joy is wonderful as Princess Peach. The character is powerful, brave, and strong in the movie, with just a touch of feminism. Keegan-Michael Key makes Toad one of the best characters in the movie as he is fun and relatable. Seth Rogan tackles Donkey Kong in a way that will have fans thrilled – and yes, he does the laugh. As for Charlie Day? He is perfect as Luigi, even if he is way too underused (more on that later).

Jack Black as Bowser is probably the best performance of the film. He has done voice over work before and it really shows. He brings a terrifying aspect to this character, which is important, but is also absolutely hilarious. It is hard to discuss without spoilers, so I won’t go into too much more detail, but he is an easy character to be scared of and laugh at, at the same time. And yes, he sings (and it’s amazing!).

Is It Just Fan Service?

The Super Mario Bros. Movie might be filled to the brim with Easter Eggs and references – right down to the score and sound effects used – but there is more to it than that. It would be a lie to say that this movie doesn’t deliver on the fan service, because it does. However, that fan service doesn’t take away from the story, it only enhances it.

The problem lies in that the plot itself is formulaic and, dare I say, childish. In an effort to make this movie something that the whole family can enjoy, it dumbs it down way too much. The point is so that even the youngest Nintendo fan will be able to understand what is going on, but because of this it doesn’t feel like the stakes are ever very high. We all know what is going to happen, and are not shocked at all by any of the decisions made. The biggest reactions from the audience will come from the realization of every Easter Egg, not from the story.

Poor Luigi Is Sidelined

Another issue that many fans are going to have with this film is that Luigi is completely sidelined. The relationship between Mario and Luigi is the heart and soul of the film. It is pretty much the only thing that will evoke emotion from viewers, so it is a bummer to see these moments come few and far between.

While the movie starts out strong, as soon as Luigi is separated from Mario, which is quite early on, things go downhill storywise. It’s not that I don’t understand why they did this, and why the filmmakers opted to focus more on Mario, Princess Peach, and Donkey Kong, however Luigi is missed. Especially because Charlie Day does such an incredible job voicing him.

That isn’t to say that Luigi doesn’t get his moments, because he does. And when they come, trust me, they are some of the best scenes in the film. I just really wish there were more of them. This movie had a lot to flesh out in just ninety minutes so while I understand the reasoning behind it, I can’t help but be a little bummed because Luigi is my favorite character.

Overall Thoughts

The Super Mario Bros. Movie accomplishes exactly what it set out to do. It takes a well-loved franchise and delivers a fun movie filled with multiple set-ups for future films. This movie is made for fans of all ages, which causes a little bit of a misstep.

That being said, despite being formulaic and simple, it keeps fans entertained as they pick out Easter Eggs and references. There is no doubt that viewers will be begging for more – especially after that end credit scene (so be sure to stay til the lights come on).

The Super Mario Bros. Movie hits theaters April 5th.

Rating: 7/10 SPECS

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Tessa Smith owns and is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic and a huge geek. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics associations including the Critics Choice Association and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association. She grew up watching movies, playing video games, and reading comic books -- and still loves all of those things. She proudly lets her geek flag fly and spreads the word that there is nothing wrong with being a geek.