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Super Mario Bros Movie (2023) Review

This is my review for the 2023 movie “The Super Mario Bros Movie”. To preface this review, I am not a child and this is clearly a movie for children. The Super Mario Brothers Movie is a fun adventure, but one that fails to justify its own existence.

Why does this movie exist?

If you’re a movie studio looking to adapt a piece of media into a movie, it’s hard to justify why you would look towards the Mario franchise. The games (with the exception of some of the more out-there entries) have very simple storylines. Very simple storylines which justify a simple, and engaging, gameplay loop. There’s very little source material to adapt. The decision to make a Mario movie was clearly not one made with artistic vision.

I think it’s clear to everyone that this is a blatant cash grab. The story is generic enough that it could work without being attached to the Mario brand. Mario is there so that children (and man children) can point at the trailer and shout, “I know that guy! I want to see his movie!”. It’s the current state of the movie industry – no brand, no money. Credit where it’s due, it’s a very successful cash grab.

What it’s not, however, is a soulless cash grab. A team was given the task of making a Mario movie and I don’t think that team could’ve done a better job.

Is the Super Mario Bros. Movie good?

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) is fun. It’s a hyper-active adventure through a beautifully animated world. There’s plenty of comedy, action and Easter eggs for Mario and Nintendo fans – so it’s not just for children. However, don’t expect much more than that. In my head, I can’t help but compare this to the last two animated movies I watched – Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. That’s rough competition, but they do make it clear to me: kids can expect better. There’s some attempt at an emotional backbone to this movie, so the effort is there. It just falls flat.

What doesn’t fall flat is the comedy. This movie is funny! Jack Black carries the movie, in this regard, giving a very entertaining rendition of Mario’s nemesis Bowser. All of the other voice actors, including Chris Pratt, give decent efforts too.

The animation in this movie is beautiful, it really does feel like a vibrant, living world – which is rare for an Illumination movie. As mentioned before, there are lots of hidden details which encourages you to really look into the gorgeous backdrops too.

Will there be a “Smash Bros.” cinematic universe?

There have been a lot of discussions regarding this, but it’s difficult to find any justification for this inside the movie itself. The movie does establish that there are “lots of galaxies out there” – but this feels more like a reference to Super Mario Galaxy, rather than the start of the Avengers initiative.

Even the post-credits scene, which many expected to be an epic lead-in to something bigger feels more like the arrival of Tails in the end of Sonic the Hedgehog. It feels more like a teaser for a sequel (which is almost certainly going to happen) than it does for a cinematic universe.

To that I say, thank god. The idea of a Mario team-up with Detective Pikachu, Link and Samus makes me feel ill. There is no movie there, it’s just branding! Why do people want this?

However, there will almost certainly be a sequel to this movie. It is going to make a lot of movie and a sequel practically writes itself. A Mario Galaxy adaptation feels like the most obvious route. I’d love to see them take a risk and adapt one of the RPG games instead, though. As much as I complain about branding, I would be firmly sat in my seat for a Super Paper Mario adaptation.

Who should watch The Super Mario Bros. movie?

If you like Mario, you’ll like this movie. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child or an adult, if that statement applies to you – see this movie.

If that doesn’t apply to you, I wouldn’t rush to the cinema unless you’ve got nothing better to do. You’ll probably enjoy yourself, but you won’t feel great about yourself afterwards. It’s a real Big Mac of movies.

This was my review for the 2023 movie “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”. Did you enjoy this movie or was it just okey-dokey? Let me know in the comments below!

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