‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’: Questions, Comments, Concerns

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Esquire Gamer Zone. We lost our heart and soul, Cam Sherrill, who entered a banned cheat code in the Esquire.com search bar and disappeared forever. It’s real bummer. The remaining players—myself and Josh Rosenberg—thought the Super Mario Bros. Movie, which hit theaters last week, would cheer us up.

It neither did nor did not. Josh and I both saw it. Then, at Esquire HQ while everyone else was busy with adult business (prepping the Pedro Pascal cover story), we spoke for entirely too long about this 90-minute-long children’s movie—conversations that, now, I realized I’ve blacked out—without really deciding how to cover it. Do we review it? (The Super Mario Bros. Movie is less of a film, and more of a call to Billy and Suzy to ask mommy for tickets to Super Nintendo World, so, no.) Do we make fun of it? (Too mean.) Do we… admit that it just kinda happened to us, while our bones rested in seats at the AMC Lincoln Square? (Our editor wouldn’t let us write that.)

So, over a week after The Super Mario Bros. Movie‘s unholy debut, we settled on a dubious format: Questions, Comments, and Concerns. That’s all we’ve got, ye citizens of Mushroom Kingdom, or Esquire politics readers who clicked the wrong link. Here goes.


Who will Chris Pratt lend his All-American vocal cords to next? (Oh, right. Garfield.)

Is this how my mom felt when she took me to see the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie? Sad and confused?

Why waste Diddy Kong on a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo?!

Mario has a family? I guess we always knew that if Mario and Luigi were brothers, then they must have parents. Still, I was fine with two mysterious brothers. Now, I’m thinking I want more story on the Super Mario Parents.

Where was Daisy? I know we’re working with a lot of IP here, but did we collectively forget about Daisy?

Mario doesn’t like mushrooms in this movie? I thought it was a weird choice. I was also thinking about the games and the consumption of power-ups, trying to remember a situation where it explicitly states that you eat them and not just encounter them. Sure, maybe Mario eats mushrooms and flowers! But does he also eat feathers, stars, penguins, and tanukis? Even after eating Super Nintendo World’s mustache burger, Mario’s diet continues to consume my thoughts.

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There’s some confusing Mario “Italian voice” ideas in this film. Mario is Italian, but he doesn’t have the stereotypical accent because he and Luigi think that voice is too hammy. Yet, in the games, he does. It certainly explains why Chris Pratt doesn’t do it, but not why Mario doesn’t.

I will lose my mind if this all ends in some Avengers: Infinity War-type Super Smash Bros. movie with all the video game characters involved. Seeing Mario talk to Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog may institutionalize me forever.

I know the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. film was too wacky to even comprehend… but after seeing the new animated film, it’s clear to me that there’s something really special about a film where a grown man is dressed up as Mario. We totally deserve another go at it—especially after that Pedro Pascal Saturday Night Live sketch.

The karting scene got me. The music, swag—vehicle customization ripped straight from the game!—gave me goosebumps. I nearly felt alive again.

“Holding Out for a Hero” continues to enjoy a resurgence. Shoutout to Our Life. I’m genuinely sorry if you’re just as sick as me, and you’re smack in between the Venn diagram of Euphoria fans and someone who bought a ticket to the Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Let’s skip The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2, where all of the things you know will happen, happen: Bowser breaks out of his cage! Mario rides Yoshi! Peach and Mario finally smooch!Give me the Charlie Day-led Luigi’s Mansion movie instead.

Jack-Black-as-Bowser delivered on the promise of Jack-Black-as-Bowser. Go hard or go home!

Speaking of Jack Black—his suggestion that Pedro Pascal voices Wario in the sequel? Yes. Simply yes.


It’s a shame Luigi never got to prove himself as equal to Mario but green. Justice for Luigi!

My theater audience seemed to find the Luma star who openly welcomed death as the funniest character in the movie. This is very concerning to me—and I don’t know what to think after a good amount of my experience watching The Super Mario Bros. Movie was just little children laughing at a cute little star who wanted to kill itself. A kid sitting in the same row as me turned to his mom and loudly whispered, “He wants to die!”

Really, I’m worried about what will become of the children in my Super Mario Bros. screening. Will they live full, happy lives? Or will their ideas about cinema be inextricably linked to Minions and Chris Pratt’s voice forever?

Nintendo! Excuse me, but Mario is an athlete, too. I hope you’re saving the big Mario Strikers set-piece for the sequel.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie has incited yet another critics-vs.-audiences war, which is more depressing than the sight of tiny Mario. (No relation to tiny Bradley Cooper.)

Headshot of Josh Rosenberg

Assistant Editor

Josh Rosenberg is an Assistant Editor at Esquire, keeping a steady diet of one movie a day. His past work can be found at Spin, CBR, and on his personal blog at Roseandblog.com.

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