The Super Mario Bros. Movie

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Only a few minutes into The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) did I find myself wondering who the movie was for. It certainly isn’ for Italian-Americans, and it doesn’t appear to be aimed at adults in any way, shape or form. It must have been made for gamers. I am not a gamer so I can’t claim to know anything about the aesthetic values of that community. But it does seem to me that The Super Mario Bros. Movie doesn’t look all that different from the games so isn’t it like watching someone else play a video game?

Perhaps I was more stymied than I ought to have been because the re-imagining of Nintendo’s signature property as a socialist fantasy aimed at consumers of commercial television that is Super Mario Bros. (1993) is such a unique and unusual blockbuster. Comparing The Super Mario Bros. Movie to Super Mario Bros. is, of course, unfair. Super Mario Bros. did everything it could to be original and different while The Super Mario Bros. Movie simply sets out to reaffirm and reassure Nintendo’s fanbase. It’s the difference between the pilot episode of a series and its reunion special.

I’m not oblivious to the fact that the animation is excellent in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, I just wish that all of that craftsmanship and artistry had been hung upon something a little deeper than fan service. Presumably with animation as its medium The Super Mario Bros. Movie could have been ten or twenty times more imaginative and subversive than Super Mario Bros. I just cannot understand why fans only seem to want more of the same for years only to abruptly decide that they don’t anymore. That’s exactly what seems to be happening to Marvel right now.

To be honest, I only finished The Super Mario Bros. Movie out of a sense of duty. I can’t critique a film unless I finish it and I can’t claim to love the cinema unless I watch a film, start to finish, in one go. The Super Mario Bros. Movie made that all very difficult for me. How can a movie so bland and juvenile have made in excess of five-hundred million dollars globally? What is wrong with people?