Fans Are Loving The Super Mario Bros. Movie, But Critics Are Tearing It To Pieces

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is out and fans and critics are split, with fans loving the new movie and critics hating it.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

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Reviews for the Super Mario Bros. Movie have been trickling in following its release. And while Mario Bros. fans can’t stop raving about it, critics don’t seem to share the sentiment. The animated feature currently holds a 98 percent audience score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, while the critics’ rating currently stands at a comparatively low 54 percent.

That’s a Certified Rotten score by the site’s metrics. The film would need a score above 60 percent to be considered critically fresh. “While it’s nowhere near as thrilling as turtle tipping your way to 128 lives, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a colorful, albeit thinly plotted, animated adventure that has about as many Nintendos as Nintendonts,” the Rotten Tomatoes general consensus reads.

Upon closer inspection, reviews from gaming and geek sites have nothing but love for the Super Mario Bros. Movie. Most harsh reviews seem to be written by folks who don’t have a long-standing affection for the game or its characters. The biggest complaints have been the volume of Easter Eggs and throwbacks, which come with little explanation.

While that could be viewed as problematic, it seems like an unfounded criticism. No story value is lost when several iconic characters decide to use go-karts in their quest to save the Mushroom Kingdom without a long-drawn explanation about the Rainbow Road. It’s an excellent reference for the fans who “get it” and a cool visual for those who don’t.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie sticks to this uncomplicated form of storytelling throughout the film, which matches the unpretentious plumbers who find themselves in an epic adventure. Mario and Luigi are introduced as the owners of a struggling plumbing business in Brooklyn. After seeing a major manhole leak on the news, they go underground to fix it.

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But they are both sucked into a pipe and separated in the process. Mario ends up in the Mushroom Kingdom, where Toad tells him that Luigi landed in the dark lands, controlled by the evil Bowser. His villainous plan also includes forcibly marrying Princess Peach and destroying the Mushroom Kingdom. So Mario teams up with his new friends to rescue his brother and save the town.

One of the other major complaints about the Super Mario Bros. Movie is the arc involving Princess Peach and Bowser. Some critics feel that using the wedding as a bargaining chip is “offensive, outdated, and inappropriate for children.” But these folks fail to see that this plot point is central to every Super Mario Bros game.

Others have maligned the Super Mario Bros. Movie for conforming to the Illumination brand, describing the film as soulless and generic. This critique completely misses the need to incorporate mainstream viewers who may not be familiar with the games. Ironically, this note starkly contrasts the negative reviews which have labeled the film as something only gamers would enjoy.

The plethora of inconsistent critic reviews indicate that movie-goers should not be swayed by what they read online. Movies are for everyone, and viewers should decide whether they love or hate something. The Super Mario Bros. Movie is directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic from a screenplay by Matthew Fogel.

The voice cast includes Chris Pratt as Mario, Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, and Jack Black as Bowser. Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen, and Sebastian Maniscalco also star. The Super Mario Bros. Movie hits theaters this week.