The reviews for The Super Mario Bros. Movie have hit, and the consensus is mixed. Gizmodo says the movie “stinks” while Inverse says the movie “jumps high but can’t reach the stars.” Rotten Tomatoes has yet to release an actual score for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, but based on its coverage of the existing reviews, there’s a real chance this movie is going to get a rotten score, at least from the critics.
The question for parents is: Should you spend the money and go see it anyway? The answer is, yes, you probably should, and you should probably not even think about the bad reviews. We never expected The Super Mario Bros. Movie to be great or to have a fulfilling plot. In terms of video game adaptations, no one expected this film to be The Last of Us of video game movies for children. And, even the smart critics who reviewed the film negatively, all acknowledge the same thing: This is a kids' movie and one that is unconcerned with Pixar prestige. The movie likely won’t win any awards, but it’s still likely going to slay at the box office.
To create The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Nintendo partnered with Universal’s animation studio Illumination, best known as the people who made the Minions franchise. This isn’t to say that The Super Mario Bros. Movie is as cloying as Minions movie, but considering the source is important here. Not everything can be Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
Plus, the function of going to see the Mario movie with your kids has nothing to do with how good it is. This is quality screen time, shared together, as a family, in a blockbuster movie experience. At home, many kids watch hours of videos of people playing Minecraft, and they do so with delight. Think back to your own childhood, sitting there watching your friends play Super Mario Bros. 3 for hours on end, Dr. Pepper and a bag of Doritos on hand. The stuff of childhood isn’t always profound. Reaching for the stars isn’t the point. Mario makes kids happy. Period.
It is probably true to say The Super Mario Bros. Movie is not a smart film. Luckily, small children aren’t worried about that. While it’s nice to have your kids watch mainstream movies that are also smart and good, sometimes harmless trash is okay, too.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is out now in wide release.