I'm just going to cut to the chase — The Super Mario Bros. Movie is one of the most divisive video game movies in recent memory, with a 56% critic score and a 96% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (at the time of writing this). So, I went into this with no concrete expectations, just curiosity about what to expect.
As a fan of the Mario games myself, I couldn't hide my excitement. Of course I was apprehensive, but video game movies have been getting better over the years — an impressive feat, considering the genre's flop-ridden cinematic history. But with films like Sonic the Hedgehog, Detective Pikachu, and Werewolves Within sweeping the box office, these movies have been changing the game (sorry, bad pun intended).
This is something I've always said about children's movies: most critics have forgotten who the audience is. The Super Mario Bros. Movie was made for children, not for you. And yes, I've heard the argument a thousand times from a thousand critics with mushrooms stuffed up their bums, that this movie is purely a vessel to push the marketing for Universal's Nintendo World theme park forward. And honestly? I don't care. I'm so excited to visit that theme park and this movie made me even more excited. Good marketing? Sure, whatever. Good movie? Absolutely, and that's all I care about.
I had an absolute blast watching this film. It's fan service at it's best, and it isn't forced down the audience's throat. Not to mention the incredible casting; I really didn't expect to like Chris Pratt's voice, but it was perfect. And Jack Black as Bowser? Literally the best decision Hollywood has ever made.
It's all there, it's awesome, and as a Mario fan it's so much fun. I mean honestly, what did you expect? A deeper dive into the stories of Mario and Luigi? Mario has never been deep — it's not supposed to be. It's a game! It's fun! It's silly! We love it! And yet, this movie supplies a solid plot with exciting twists and turns that make the whole experience like a thrill ride down the Rainbow Road.
Most importantly, I went to see this with my boyfriend's 9-year-old brother, and watching the pure joy on his face made me fall in love with this film. He was laughing, cheering, and gasping every time he recognized a power up or a Shy Guy and everything in between. He loved it so much that he wanted to take a picture next to the poster afterwards while sporting his bright red Mario hat with pride. To me, all a movie needs to do is bring us joy, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie succeeds in every way.