While the Chris Pratt Mario voice has dominated the discussion, the new Super Mario Bros Movie trailer generated a lot of positivity too. Aside from all the many Super Mario movie easter eggs, the film looks like a colorful love letter to fans. So why, even beyond dubious voice casting, does Mario seem to be the worst thing about the Mario movie?
So far, there have been two Mario movie trailers. The teaser trailer was mostly focused on Jack Black’s Bowser, but the second trailer was more expansive. It includes a wider look at the Mushroom Kingdom, introduces Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach and Charlie Day as Luigi, brings in Donkey Kong and his extended family, and even confirms that Mario Kart and Rainbow Road will feature.
It all looks pretty fun, but the trailer also illustrates how completely useless and incompetent this version of Mario is. Nearly every joke in the trailer is at Mario’s expense and reveals how incapable he is of doing anything. A slap-around by Donkey Kong would be funny, but this is followed by him completely failing the classic-style obstacle course, being overpowered by a Cheep Cheep, and freaking out driving his kart. It’s basically a character assassination for the sake of humor, and it’s for the hero of the movie.
Mario’s brief appearance in the teaser saw him awkwardly bouncing off mushrooms and being scared by Toad. Extra footage from different regional trailers sees him being thrown around and exhausted by pipes, although he does at least do a bit better in the obstacle course.
Here We Go Again
The point is though, all the footage so far makes Mario look completely unable to take on Bowser. Peach, on the other hand, looks more than capable of defending her kingdom. There’s nothing wrong with a badass heroine, but when the titular hero looks like a complete loser, questions must be asked about why Peach enlists Mario’s help in the first place. He looks more like a detriment than a hero.
Hopefully, Illumination will make it clear why Peach needs Mario to defeat Bowser. However, if the answer is a prophecy, chosen one, or other lazy writing like that, then it will feel very unearned. Fans will have to wait and see about that.
Finally, there is also the Chris Pratt Mario casting. The moment he was announced it felt like clickbait, and the upset has only grown since. Even ignoring the Mario part, Pratt’s voice just doesn’t look like it’s coming out of the character’s face. There’s a disconnect that good voice casting is meant to avoid. The direction on him is bad, too, and iconic Mario cries like his “wa-hoo” and “lets-a-go” just feel forced.
While some people are upset over Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach as well, Chris Pratt’s Mario is the titular character and the center of the movie. He cannot be avoided. If the audience cringes every time he opens his mouth, that will ruin what might potentially be a really fun animated movie. Combined with movie Mario’s apparent uselessness, it is currently looking like Mario may be the worst part of his own movie — in voice, actions, and characterization. Hope you know what you’re doing, Illumination and Nintendo.
Fans will find out for sure when the Super Mario Bros movie opens on April 7, 2023.