“The Super Mario Bros. Movie”: A film about love and Italians


Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Chris Pratt’s Mario (left) and Charlie Day’s Luigi (right) leave their plumbing careers behind for adventure in the Mushroom Kingdom in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

Joey Gonzalez, Life Editor

This article contains spoilers for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” 

5 Super Stars (Pun intended). 


I’m pretty sure every single one of us has had some kind of experience with the “Mario” franchise, from playing “Super Mario Galaxy” with our siblings to drunk “Mario Kart” sessions in college. It is arguably one of the most iconic and recognizable video game series to ever exist. So with past video game movies’ box office bombs in mind, like “Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020) and “Pokemon Detective Pikachu” (2019), critics took a similar approach to the genre’s latest release, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” This movie is truly something special; it might not have an insanely complex plot, but damn, was it entertaining. 

The movie, as the title suggests, follows the quintessential Mario and Luigi duo while they struggle to make it big in Brooklyn, New York. The two decide to open their own plumbing business, quitting their previous jobs and investing their savings into a commercial for their new business. A pipe bursts in the middle of the street and the brothers decide that it’s time to save New York—from mild flooding. Instead they find themselves falling into a Warp Pipe that transports them to a magical world. Mario lands in the Mushroom Kingdom, befriending both Toad and Princess Peach as he searches for his brother. On the other hand, Luigi is having a much worse time, finding himself deep within the Dark Lands and quickly captured by Bowser’s army. Bowser, who holds the Super Star, is making his way to the Mushroom Kingdom to ask the princess for her hand in marriage—a fact that neither Peach nor Mario are aware of. In preparation for the impending attack, Mario and Peach travel to the Jungle Kingdom to acquire the Kong army. However, Bowser is in on this plan and ambushes everyone on their way to protect the Mushroom Kingdom. The long battle that ensues brings the film towards a close, an ending that you’ll have to see for yourself. 

Critics be damned, this movie was nothing short of pure entertainment, and fans are in agreement. The recent release has set the record for largest global opening for an animated film of all time. It has already grossed over $700 million dollars and continues to climb. 

 The movie was jam-packed with references across the “Mario” franchise. Luigi’s flashlight-lit adventure in a spooky castle was reminiscent of playing “Luigi’s Mansion,” and the race to Mushroom Kingdom could have been pulled directly from a game of “Mario Kart.” I really enjoyed seeing all of these different aspects of the franchise portrayed throughout the film. I know some people felt that it was just an opportunity to flex a bunch of references without them really serving the plot, but said plot was literally the basic premise of every single “Mario” game: Bowser steals Peach and Mario is forced to rescue her. The movie actually built upon that plot, from the attempted conquering of nearly all the kingdoms and the capture and imprisonment of Luigi, to the passionate affection that Bowser has for Peach. It felt like all of the elements came together in a really fun and entertaining, albeit short, movie. And in all fairness, the visuals were stunning—each Kingdom had its own really distinct look, which made seeing a new location actually really exciting. I’m not even the biggest fan of the Mario series, more like a mid-tier Mario Kart enjoyer. 

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has faced some backlash for its casting choice. Mario, voiced by Chris Pratt, was not portrayed by an Italian-American actor which caused a lot of controversy over representation. Others had a problem with the levels of representation in the film in general. Former Luigi actor John Leguizamo announced that he would be boycotting the recent release as there weren’t enough Latin actors throughout the film. In an interview with TMZ, Leguizamo stated Like I was groundbreaking [in the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie] and then they stopped the groundbreaking. They messed up the inclusion. They dis-included. Just cast some Latin folk!”

My only personal complaint is that the film could have been so much longer. At times it felt a little rushed, with production trying to wrap everything up into one neat package. But I honestly didn’t mind, as the stunning visuals and the exciting plot kept me engaged the entire time. And how could I not mention Bower’s ode to Princess Peach, “Peaches,” perfectly performed by none other than Jack Black himself. The song hasn’t left my head since. If you’re looking for a movie that has you engaged for a full 90 minutes, I highly recommend checking this one out. Grab your little Bowser plushie, sit back and get ready to enter the world of the Super Mario brothers.