“Toad”ally worth a watch

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was an enjoyable family film that catered to both young and old audiences through nostalgia.

Illumination and Nintendo’s coproduction of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has many mixed reviews, as it was under hyped by critics but beloved by audiences. Rotten Tomatoes critics originally rated the film 46% but has since increased to 56%. Meanwhile, overall audience scores have given the movie a 96% on the website.

The film also dethroned Disney’s “Frozen 2” from its box office record since 2019 for the best-performing animated film in its debut week. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has earned $377 million during its debut week, compared to “Frozen 2” which had an opening gross of $358 million.

The film follows Mario and Luigi’s origin story into the characters we know. Both brothers go through a pipe under the city of Brooklyn and are split up as Luigi lands in Bowser’s dark lands and Mario lands in Mushroom Kingdom. On a quest to save his brother, he meets Princess Peach and others who seek to also stop Bowser.

The film catered to nostalgia and fan service as there were many references to other Mario franchise titles. Although there were many references to unpack, the movie did a wonderful job making it cohesive and not forced.

The movie had a very surface-level plot, although as a family movie, this isn’t always a bad thing. It allowed for casual viewing and an enjoyable time for audiences. Despite this, we can see Mario’s character development as well as those around him.

Some characters seemed to outshine others such as portrayals of Jack Black’s Bowser, Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong, and Charlie Day’s Luigi, who became fan favorites. The casting for these characters were spot on, especially with the route Illumination and Nintendo decided to go.

Chris Pratt not giving Mario a heavy Italian accent was initially hated by fans before its release but was later appreciated as the beginning of the movie poked fun at how it would sound. This left me realizing the clever touch and awareness the movie had, and how many could have been distracted by a heavy accent for the 90-minute span.

I was happy this movie did not shove many main Mario characters into the film as it was still fast paced and would not have allowed other characters much screen time. This could allow more characters a separate opportunity to shine without sacrificing quality. In the last post-credits scene, a sequel was teased as Mario and Luigi may have new adventures with other characters that had not been included in the movie.

The open possibilities between sequels and story spin-offs could allow Illumination and Nintendo to possibly make a Nintendo Cinematic Universe similar to Marvel. This would especially make sense with Super Nintendo World being introduced to Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando.

Overall, I would rate “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” 4.5 stars as it is a very enjoyable movie with visually pleasing action, references, and casual viewing.