The evil Bowser (Jack Black), leader of a vast army of turtles, attacks a peaceful penguin kingdom. He imprisons the inhabitants, lays waste to their beautiful castle, and steals a powerful star. Nearby, a Mushroom Kingdom, ruled by Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), prepares for a coming attack.
Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, Mario (Chris Pratt) and his brother Luigi (Charlie Day) have left their steady jobs at a reliable plumbing company to start a plumbing business of their own. Their first contract doesn’t go according to plan. Mario is feeling downhearted until he sees a news story about the city’s plumbing problems. He knows he can help, and he and Luigi set off to save their neighbourhood. They find themselves deep under the city in a cavernous room filled with unusual pipes. When Luigi suddenly vanishes, Mario ventures after him. The brothers are sucked into another world but they are separated on the journey. Luigi lands in the dangerous Badlands under Bowser’s control and is quickly captured. Mario lands in a Mushroom Kingdom where he learns about the danger his brother is in and sets about trying to save him. Mario impresses the princess with his determination and noble character. The princess agrees to take him with her to meet a Cranky Kong (voice of Fred Armisen) whose powerful son, Donkey Kong (voice of Seth Rogan), and vast Gorilla army is their only hope of winning the fight against Bowser. Can they stop his evil plans and save Luigi, as well as everyone else captured along the way?
Separation from family members; greed for power; bullying
The Super Mario Bros. Movie has some violence. For example:
- Lava blasts fall to the earth as a penguin colony is attacked by Bowser’s army. Bowser tells them to ‘Open the gates or die’.
- The penguins fight back, attacking the turtle creatures with snowballs.
- Bowser lifts the penguins up, as if by magic, and throws them all aside. He then burns their castle to the ground, imprisons the penguins and steals a powerful star.
- A character has a napkin rudely thrown in his face.
- A character grabs Mario, lifts him up by the overalls and throws him on the ground.
- A cat attacks Luigi in the face.
- A woman is accidentally knocked over.
- A violent dog attacks the brothers.
- A character attacks Mario with a stick.
- Mushroom guards chase Mario and attack him as he attempts to meet with Princess Peach.
- There is repeated mention of ritualistic sacrifice.
- Mario punches himself in the face.
- Mario repeatedly smashes into things, falls off objects, is blasted with water, bitten by plants and is punched, smashed and hit, as he attempts to complete an obstacle course.
- Bowser says he will destroy the Mushroom Kingdom if Princess Peach refuses to marry him.
- A bully knocks a young Luigi down and smashes the Lego castle he is building. Young Mario shoves the bully aside and helps his brother.
- A small turtle has his fingers crushed in a piano.
- Bowser tortures Luigi and tries to rip off his moustache.
- A creepy, child-like voice calls out in the prison abyss that ‘There is no hope. NO escape. Only the sweet relief of death’.
- A car slips on a banana peel, spins out of control, crashes, and explodes.
- Donkey Kong tells Mario, ‘I am going to break every bone in your body’.
- Mario and Donkey Kong fight. Mario is slapped, punched, bashed, and hit repeatedly. He is shown battered and bruised but he doesn’t give up.
- Mario slashes Donkey Kong’s face and hits him with a barrel, knocking him unconscious.
- Princess Peach blasts Bowser with cold and freezes him into a cube of ice.
- The Gorilla army is attacked by Bowser. They shoot bananas while the Turtle army tries to blast characters out of the way.
- Mario and his race cart are nearly crushed.
- Mario knocks a turtle out of its vehicle.
- Donkey Kong and Mario are blasted off a rainbow bridge. They fall into the water where Donkey Kong is hit on the head by a giant wheel and knocked unconscious. Mario saves him just as he is about to be eaten by a sea monster.
- Moments later the monster raises up to the surface and eats both Mario and Donkey Kong.
- Bowser threatens and tortures a Mushroom inhabitant in order to force the princess to agree to marry him.
- Mario and Donkey Kong use a cannon blaster to blast themselves out of the sea monster.
- Bowser attempts to burn his prisoners alive by lowering them into a lava pit.
- Arrows are shot at characters.
- Luigi is about to be burned alive. He is falling into the lava when Mario rescues him.
- Princess Peach is blasted aside and Bowser launches a missile to destroy the Mushroom Kingdom.
- The missile chases Mario and tries to explode everything in his wake.
- Mario is blasted back to Brooklyn, along with the others, and numerous characters are nearly crushed by falling debris.
- Bowser punches Mario, knocks him into a car, tries to burn and crush him, and knocks him into a wall. He is injured but doesn’t stop fighting.
- Bowser hits Donkey Kong and is about to claw him when Mario and Luigi power up and punch Bowser through an army of his turtles. They hit, slam, punch, throw, and flip him until there is hardly anything left of Bowser.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie has some sexual references. For example:
- Bowser wants to marry Princess Peach. He describes how she is physically attractive to him and he is very jealous of Mario.
- Mario briefly flirts with Princess Peach and another character teases him that she would never go out with him.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The Super Mario Bros. Movie has some substance use. For example, Mario eats magic mushrooms that give him extraordinary, but short lived, super strength.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity and sexual activity in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie has some product placement. For example, the entire movie is about the Mario Bros. and other Nintendo games.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie has some coarse language and insults, including ‘idiot’, ‘dumb, ‘stupid’, ‘worthless’, ‘shut up’, ‘lunatic’, ‘psycho’, and ‘you’re a joke and you always will be’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a movie based on the popular Nintendo videogame franchise. The plot, though predictable, is fast-paced and contains lots of twists and turns. The movie will be best enjoyed by families with children over 8 and fans of the videogames.
These are the main messages from The Super Mario Bros. Movie:
- Believe in yourself and your own abilities, even if the entire world tells you differently.
- Never give up or stop trying.
Values in The Super Mario Bros. Movie that you could reinforce with your children are teamwork, persistence, courage, loyalty and determination.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequence of things like:
- settling for less and listening to those who think you should live by their standards
- trying to force someone to do something against their will by harming or threatening to harm others
- wanting power and control at all costs
- belittling others and their life choices.