Copyright, Universal Pictures
Today’s Prayer Focus

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

also known as “Super Mario Bros.,” “Brata Super Mario Film,” “Der Super Mario Bros. Film,” “Phim Anh Em Super Mario,” “Super Mario Braća Film,” “Super Mario brāļi: Filma,” “Super Mario broliai,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for action and mild violence.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

Moral Rating: Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Older Kids • Teens • Family • Young-Adults
Genre: Animation Adventure Comedy Adaptation 3D
Length: 1 hr. 32 min.
Year of Release: 2023
USA Release: April 5, 2023 (wide release)
DVD: June 13, 2023
Copyright, Universal Picturesclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

Bravery, courage, sacrifice

Teamwork to stand up against evil


Trying a new career, despite the risks

Copyright, Universal Pictures

Dealing with bullies

Good conquering evil

Copyright, Universal Pictures

Rulers who focus on conquering other lands

Copyright, Universal Pictures

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Featuring Chris PrattMario (voice)
Charlie DayLuigi (voice)
Anya Taylor-JoyPrincess Peach (voice), ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, and Mario’s guide, mentor, and love interest
Seth RogenDonkey Kong (voice)
Jack BlackBowser, a.k.a. King Koopa (voice), a monstrous, fire-breathing anthropomorphic turtle and the king of the Koopas, who rules the Dark Lands, steals the powerful Super Star, and plots to destroy the Mushroom Kingdom
Fred ArmisenCranky Kong (voice), Donkey Kong’s father, who rules the Jungle Kingdom and leads the Kong Army
Keegan-Michael KeyToad (voice)
Kevin Michael RichardsonKamek (voice), a Koopa sorcerer and Bowser’s advisor and informant
See all »
Director Aaron Horvath
Michael Jelenic
Producer Universal Pictures
Nintendo [Japan]
See all »

Somewhere in an enchanted world, the dreaded King Bowser (Jack Black) and his army of Kooplas of the Dark Lands, are on the march, destroying everyone and everything in their path in search of a golden star. With this star Bowser will have the ultimate power and be virtually invincible, becoming the ruler of all worlds. All that’s left is to march on the Mushroom Kingdom, led by the benevolent Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy).

In the real world, however, we meet up with Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi, two brothers who have quit the construction industry to start up their own plumbing business, The Super Mario Brothers. There’s just one problem though: they haven’t had much luck with the business. On top of that, their family really isn’t that supportive of their dream. As Mario’s parents point out, they gave up a good solid job to start something that “might” be successful.

One day, during a city-wide water main break, the boys head underground into the sewers to try and fix the situation. Assessing the situation, they just happen to stumble upon a mysterious green pipe that sucks them into a mysterious universe. Both Mario and Luigi are separated: Luigi is transported to the Dark Lands, ruled by Bowser, and Mario to the Mushroom Kingdom.

Mario enlists the assistance of Princess Peach and Toad (the Princess’ assistant) to help him find Luigi, with one catch: Mario needs to assist Peach in assembling the great gorilla army to help defend the Mushroom kingdom from the upcoming attack by Bowser and the Kooplas.

As Mario would say, “Let’s a-go.”

Do you remember the first video game you played? Was it at home, on a console, or at the arcade at the mall? I can. In fact (without giving my age away), the first video game I played was the “Super Mario Brothers” on the Super Nintendo. I can remember the feel of the controller, putting the cartridge in, hearing the ding of the game, pressing start and guiding Mario through each level, bouncing on mushrooms, grabbing coins, and going down the castle flag pole at the end.

“The Super Mario Brothers Movie” brings with it all the imagination, the fun and excitement that those who have grown up playing both the original and the numerous additional games have come to enjoy (“Super Mario 2,” “Super Mario 3,”“ Super Mario Galaxy,” etc.). There are so many “Easter Eggs” (or references to past films) that many, like myself, will smile and point out. This can be both to the films credit AND to its detriment…

One of the main issues is that the film tries to be everything, everywhere, all at once, and that can genuinely be confusing. There are missing pieces, and the pacing is so incredibly fast (faster than a game of “Mario Kart”), that I was anxiously and furiously jotting down notes on the back of my clipboard as the film progressed. Additionally, with regards to the “Easter Eggs,” I feel like the plot itself was an afterthought to the filmmakers main intention which was, “Let’s see how many Mario Brothers references we can throw in in 90 minutes.”

Now, a reviewer from IGN stated quite boldly a few days ago, “Remember everyone, this is a children’s movie!”. Yes, of course it is. The children are going to be entertained, certainly, as the film starts with energy and never lets off the gas pedal (sorry another Mario Kart reference. I’ll stop ha ha). It’s okay, however, to stop and let the kids take in the special moments of the film though (e.g., the trips through the various other lands that aren’t as essential to the film).

I will, however, praise the animation. Once again, Illumination is providing some stiff competition against Pixar and Dreamworks. The scenes are beautifully canvased, color-wise, in the most perfect shades and hues, and the attention to detail is quite nice, particularly in the Mushroom Kingdom. Likewise, I commend some of the performances. One in particular that surprised me was Anya-Taylor Joy’s Princess Peach. She really played the part well.

Content for Concern

VIOLENCE: Most of the violence in the film is animated and light in nature. In one scene Bowser destroys an ice castle with his fire breath. A wizard tosses some penguins around (no one is seriously hurt). A dog is saved from almost falling out a window. A dog chases after Mario and Luigi in one scene. Skeleton Koopas rise from the ground and attack Luigi. Mario gets hit multiple times as he attempts an obstacle course (no serious injuries and again, slap-stick). A Koopa’s skin is burned off (not graphic). Someone has their fingers slammed by a piano cover.

Donkey Kong punches Mario multiple times in a fight sequence, and Mario knocks him unconscious with a couple hits. There is an epic Mario Kart race where we witness car chases and some peril and car crashes. Characters fall into some water. A character uses phrases like “fresh meat for the grinder.” Another states something about a “ritual sacrifice.” Two people are eaten by an eel and burped out. A character gets tossed around.

LANGUAGE: “Idiot” (1), “Hell-hound” (1), “Stupid,” “You’re a joke,” (1), “Shut-up” (1)

SEXUAL CONTENT: Bowser thinks Peach is attractive and has a thing for her and so does Mario. Donkey Kong flexes his muscles while trying to impress the crowd at the beginning of the show.

DRUGS: Mushrooms that characters eat give special power-ups, like making them bigger, smaller, and giving different abilities (like becoming a cat).

OTHER: A cute, yet annoying character (to the other characters), in a positive tone, states, “There is no sunshine, only darkness,” and “The only hope is the sweet release of death.”


Mario and Luigi back on Earth are considered the “little guys” and various characters, including their own family, are telling them to give up on their fantasies and that they shouldn’t aim so high in life because it will just ultimately lead to failure.

Thankfully, God is not like this family. He can use anyone at any time for anything. In fact, the Bible states that God has predestined according to His purpose, which means we have been chosen by Him, specifically, to do great things in His name. Imagine being hand selected by the Creator of the entire universe! What an honor and a privilege!

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” —Romans 8:29-30

Jesus also states…

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” —John 15:16

And in Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians it also states…

“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” —2 Thessalonians 2:13

So never count yourself out! God is all-knowing, all-powerful and also all-loving. Because God is who He is, He chose us to be a part of his family, to be with Him in holy fellowship and to bear witness to others. As the Bible states…

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” —Matthew 22:14

Q & A

UNIVERSALISM—Will ALL mankind eventually be saved? Answer

Can a saved person become lost? Answer

How can I be sure of my salvation? Answer

What is “the unpardonable sin”? How does sin become “unforgivable”? Answer

Final Thoughts

Video games have come a very long way in the past 50 years. Once upon a time, many thought the game “Pong” was the greatest game that was ever created, but soon that faded. One that has stood the test of time, though, has been the Mario Bros. games, with the first one released in 1983 for the Atari.

For me, attending “The Super Mario Brothers Movie” was like sitting down and playing the first Mario Bros. game, or in my case “The Super Mario Bros.” game. You’re going to sit down, get comfortable and not have a care in the world which is fine, as the “Super Mario Brothers” film, for all intents and purposes, is a fairly clean (and I do emphasize FAIRLY) film as far as children’s films are concerned (let’s be honest, there’s not a lot of clean newer films out there for children.

Sure, there’s some violence in the film, but most of it is cartoonish, or brief, or adventure-based and nothing overly graphic and that’s probably the worst, content-wise, to deal with. There is, however, some positive messaging about bravery, courage, teamwork, and brotherhood that could lend itself to some nice family discussions. In short, this is a film I can safely recommend to older children, teens and adults of all ages. Caution for young kids due to violence.

  • Violence: Moderate
  • Profane language: Mild
  • Sex: Mild
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Mild
  • Occult: Minor
  • Wokeism: Minor
  • Vulgar/Crude language: None
  • Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This is probably the best film I’ve seen this year so far. It was animated well, it was hilarious, and the amount of nostalgia thrown in was mind-blowing. And, best of all, there was no offensive content whatsoever. If you grew up playing the Mario games you will probably love this movie. I highly recommend it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Curt, age 26 (USA)
Positive— Growing up I always loved Nintendo, the Mario Franchise and video games in general. This movie was superb, it didn’t disappoint, and was everything that the 1993 Super Mario Brothers Movie should have been. The CGI was superb and made the Mushroom Kingdom come alive, the plot and movie was true to the franchise canon, with cool meta references to Nintendo, such as when Mario is shown playing Kid Icarus on a classic 8-bit NES.

Chris Pratt, Jack Black, and all the other voices were done perfectly, nothing offensive in this movie.

What I loved about this Movie was how Mario and Luigi’s entire Family was shown having dinner together. Mario stood up for his brother Luigi and emphasized the importance of sticking together to overcome evil. Mario saves Donkey Kong’s life in the film and later the Mushroom Kingdom and Brooklyn as well. This movie also demonstrated the importance of taking calculated risks and believing in yourself to accomplish your goals, not letting anyone or anything judge or define you and tell you what you can or cannot accomplish.

Overall this movie was far superior to any Disney/Pixar CGI movie I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait for this film to come to DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Jeff Andrew Winters, age 43 (USA)
Positive—When it comes to Jack Black this movie is much more family-friendly than the two “Jimanji” films (2017 and 2019 respectively). Going forward I hope the amount of money this film grossed—an estimate of US$195 Million in the United States alone and US$368 Million Worldwide—will influence said actor to star in more family-friendly movies. I mean why star as a woke LGBTQ2+ avatar—which is displeasing to Christians—in “Jumanji” when you could star as a singing (“Peaches’) King Koopa instead. Let’s all pray for Jack Black with the following paragraph below:

Father, with an expectant heart, I ask You to draw Jack Black to Yourself. Pierce Jack Black’s heart with the Good News about your love. Lead Jack Black to repentance through Your kindness (John 6:4; Acts 2:37-38; Rom. 2:4).

P S.—One thing that was—interesting but—just a little uncomfortable for me was Bowser spitting fire on a Koopa and turning him into a replica of Dry Bones, I did not sit well with that. That aside it was otherwise a good film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Elliott Mills, age 23 (Canada)
Positive—Having grown up playing lots of video games (including Mario), I was very excited to see this movie. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a movie this much! Although I’ve heard some people complain about the plot being too simple or fast-paced, I found it refreshing. There are plenty of children’s movies these days with complex plots or weighty subject matters, so it was nice to see something that was just plain fun! Mario and Luigi are very close and his devotion to saving Luigi and helping others—even characters he doesn’t get along with—was wonderful. Although their dad doesn’t approve of them leaving their stable jobs to start their own business, it didn’t come across as critical or mean-spirited to me. Any good parent would be concerned for the wellbeing of their child, and it seemed to me like he just wanted them to be secure and taken care of.

While I loved the movie and saw it with my 5 and 7 year old daughters (who also loved it), I’m surprised the intensity of some of the scenes doesn’t come up more often. There isn’t anything inappropriate (language, sex, etc.), but there are a few scenes that would be pretty scary to young or sensitive children. Luigi gets chased by a large group of Dry Bones (which are essentially like undead Koopas) whose eyes are black except for a small red flame. ***SPOILER*** Then, when he finds refuge in a castle, a flash of lightning reveals a bunch of Shy Guys who capture him and take him to Bowser. They aren’t normally scary in the games, but that scene felt like the mildest form of horror (which didn’t bother me, but I wanted to mention it). ***END SPOILER***

The only thing I didn’t like about the movie that I felt could have been left out was a blue Luma in a cage, whose voice is extremely chipper but he says very dark things (“The only hope is the sweet release of death” and similar things). Later on, he’s happy and excited about his cage plummeting toward a lake of lava and his certain death, only to be disappointed when he’s rescued. His character felt very out of place in an otherwise bright and fun children’s movie, and I wish they had left him out.

Princess Peach was very different from her character in the video games. She’s normally the one Mario has to rescue, and comes across in the games like she’s sweet but dumb. In the movie, she’s far more intelligent and capable. However, they didn’t make her a feminist or objectify her like I thought they would. She could take care of herself, but she welcomed help from Mario and others in order to save her kingdom. She was never presented as a “strong, independent woman who don’t need no man.’ So I actually liked her character, and didn’t mind my girls having her as an example to look up to.

Overall, I would say The Super Mario Bros. Movie was the best, cleanest movie I’ve seen in many years. I hope Illumination makes more sequels, and that they stay squeaky-clean!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Sara, age 32 (USA)
Positive—This movie was awesome. As a Christian and a Mario fan, I highly recommend it. It’s a good and clean movie to watch. The scene with the Luma talking about wanting to die is a reference to the Super Mario Galaxy games. In those games, Lumas want to be fed star bits so they can fly out into space, die, and be reborn as a galaxy. That’s the whole point of the Luma making dark jokes. If you haven’t played those games you’re not going to get the joke. I understand it fully and I think it’s hilarious.

There’s a way to do dark humor properly. I’ve played hundreds of Mario games, and I understood every joke in this movie. If you haven’t played any Mario games, you’re not going to understand half the jokes in this movie. …Just because this movie has one negative scene, that doesn’t make the entire movie bad. …If you are easily offended by certain things in any movie, then don’t watch. Nobody is forcing you to. …

Bottom line: This is a cute and funny movie that any family can enjoy and I’m sure some non Mario fans will get laughs out of it. God bless.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Zach, age 21 (USA)
Neutral—I took my 13 year old to see the film. He’s not a huge gamer and I am not one. So I didn’t pick up on various “easter eggs.” So from my perspective, the film was just average and was rather derivative. Although I could cite older fare, to reference newer films, I thought at times, I was watching Puss In Boots in Quantumania, there were lots of similarities of plot beats and visual ideas, particularly of the latest Ant Man film (which itself was just so-so).

From a faith perspective, apart from the importance of brothers (I’d say family but the family initially denigrated the brothers), there wasn’t a whole lot to hang one’s hat on. There were a few suspect moments but it wasn’t a wokefest nor an overtly occult ‘kids film,’ like over at Disney!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Dirk Wickenden, age 55 (United Kingdom)
Negative—Can 30 seconds of content ruin an otherwise delightful movie? Absolutely! I am appalled that the statement “the only escape is the sweet release of death” made it into a children’s movie. Even more concerning is the lack of uproar from the Christian community. This statement and other similar comments made by the “Luna” or star character in the 2023 Super Mario Brothers movie are blatant lies from Satan being spoon fed to children, teens and young adults. Other movie reviews brush off the scene as an attempt at humor. Suicide is not funny, epically when it is insidiously marketed to young people.

Otherwise the Super Mario Brothers movie is full of captivating animation, an enjoyable storyline and brilliant references to the video games packaged in a film that is squeaky clean. Unfortunately the enormous positive elements do not cancel or override the dark messages that suicide is acceptable. This movie should not be watched or supported in any fashion by any person. I’ve supported two families who lost teens to suicide this past year. They would be undone with this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Angela, age 49 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—So I saw this movie in the theater about two weeks ago or more and quickly posted a review on here after viewing but it never showed up in the review section because I didn’t know that the (excellent) rating was for only for Christian biblical movies. So thus this time I put good. The movie was very good in my opinion with the animation and the story line. The image was very crisp and well colored (unlike some very annoying cartoons) the voicing was right on and I think Chris Pratt did an awesome job. There were some funny things in there too like Mario stepping on the dog bone. There was nothing offensive except that weird wizard dude was a bad idea in my opinion. Mario and Luigi are very good pals and Mario is always standing up for Luigi when trouble comes. There are some very good touching parts as well as intense and awesome action scenes. The Mario kart race being a big percent of that. And then the fighting scene between Donkey Kong and Mario is super fun to watch. Great movie highly recommend it!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Noah Cross, age 11 (USA)
Positive—me and my family just got back from the movie theater and we all thought the movie was made well. we did the 3D version for those wanting to know if it was good. yes the 3D version was quite amazing but didn't come far enough out that you felt like you could literally touch it. the story line was well made built. the action is amazing and fast paced. The voicing was clear and sounded great. Here's a quick recap of my favorite parts…

• the Mario brothers plumbing commercial scene
• when the dog gets real mad after Mario stepped on his bone while working on a plumbing incident
• the suspense of when Mario and Luigi are sucked into the green pipe
• the penguins aiming against Bowser but they don't stand a chance
• when Mario and Luigi are split up into different worlds
• when Mario meets Toad) the fight between Mario and Donkey Kong —I liked how they incorporated him into this
• the cart race and when the cart race is destroyed and Mario and Donkey Kong are forced off the rainbow
• when Mario saves Donkey Kong from drowning
…and many more parts that are awesome.

The only thing that was offensive was the wizard, but all he did was move things from place to place. I highly recommend this movie for 9 years and up.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Noah, age 11 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.