Super Mario Bros. MOVIE Reviews: What Are Critics' First Reactions?

By Sam Hargrave Updated:

The embargo for critics' social media reactions to The Super Mario Bros. Movie lifted, leading to the first reviews surfacing. 

Video game movies have long been held in a rather negative light, but that perception has finally begun to shift after heavily praised adaptations of The Last of Us, Sonic the Hedgehog, and more.

Coming up to bat next is The Super Mario Bros. Movie, bringing with it one of the most surprising, all-star voice cast ever for what has recently been revealed to be a relatively short first movie in, what could be, a new big-screen franchise.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Early Reviews Released

Super Mario Bros. Movie cast
Illumination Entertainment

The first critics' reactions to The Super Mario Bros Movie emerged online, with these early reviews painting a pretty great picture overall for fans of Nintendo's iconic Italian plumber.

Fandango's Erik Davis called the adaptation "the ultimate love letter to every era of Mario," putting particular praise on the humor and Jack Black's Bowser:

"Wahoo! 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie' is the ultimate love letter to every era of Mario. Loved the humor & especially Jack Black’s Bowser. I felt the same way watching the movie as I do playing the games. It’s just joyful. Also, stay for the credits!"

Gizmodo's Germain Lussier "really wanted to like it but did not." He criticized the flick as "overly goofy, bare-bones plot, filled [with] bad jokes:"

"I really wanted to like it but I did not. A few solid scenes capture the spirit of the game but mostly it's an overly goofy, bare-bones plot, filled w/ bad jokes & worse song choices. It looks great but I was more bored & annoyed than entertained."

Kinda Funny's Tim Gettys completely disagreed with any criticism of the music, going as far as to call it the "star of the show:"

"'The Super Mario Bros. Movie' was awesome. Teared up from hype more than once. The music is the star of the show. Nintendo fans are gonna be obsessed. I'm not sure ANY movie in history has ever had THIS MANY easter eggs. AND GOOD ONES!"

Isla Hinck praised the visuals and particularly how Anya Taylor-Joy's Princess Peach "is so cool in it:"

"Yo. 'The Super Mario Bros Movie' is awesome! So fun and so many nods! I loved it! And it's gorgeous! And Peach is so cool in it!"

GameXplain's Andre Segers called The Super Mario Bros. Movie "an utterly delightful thrill ride" that "nearly moved [him] to tears" even with its "somewhat shallow plot:"

"'The Super Mario Bros 'movie is an utterly delightful thrill ride that is as joyful as it is magical. It's a movie that is for Mario fans first, and despite a somewhat shallow narrative, is a blast. Nearly moved me to tears seeing Mario realized so beautifully."

Rendy Jones noted the "top-notch animation" and teased the "loving Easter eggs and cameos." He boiled the overall final product down to being "a Mario movie made by Illumination:"

"The Mario worlds are brought to life with top-notch animation and energetic action that will delight kids and fans. Full of loving Easter eggs and cameos. That said, it’s a Mario movie made by illumination and I’ll leave it at that."

Is the Mario Movie a Slam Dunk Win?

One thing every review seems to agree on is The Super Mario Bros. Movie managed to capture the essence of the franchise, which is certainly a good thing. Clearly, this is a true love letter to Mario that will reward fans with a plethora of Easter eggs - there are, at least, 33 classic characters appearing after all.

Generally, the reviews are in agreement the narrative is somewhat simple and perhaps not the deepest, but that should be of no surprise given its short runtime and young target audience. Clearly, what's there, combined with the humor and many Mario references, has been enough to enthrall most of these select critics. 

Although only Jack Black's Bowser and Anya Taylor-Joy's Peach were mentioned in these reviews as standouts, there was, fortunately, no particular criticism given to the rest of the cast. That will come as a relief to many given the widespread fear that an actor like Chris Pratt may not manage to pull off Mario.

Knowing all of this, it certainly seems the Mario movie will thrive with its biggest target audiences of younger children and die-hard fans of the Nintendo franchise. 

The Super Mario Bros. Movie hits theaters on April 5.

- In This Article: The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Release Date
April 05, 2023
Anya Taylor-Joy
Charlie Day
Jack Black
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.