Super Mario Bros. Movie
Image: Nintendo / Illumination

The review embargo is up and opinions on The Super Mario Bros. Movie have popped up across the internet.

While it seems that many gamers and hardened Mario fans have enjoyed the movie just fine so far, you might want to brace yourself for the consensus from the film critics. Let's not beat about the bush — it's not quite the critical hit many might have been expecting.

Starting off with our own review here on Nintendo Life, we gave the film six out of ten stars calling it a fun ride that substitutes the story for spectacle:

Right, now that you've read our review, let's take a look at what other outlets had to say, starting with Empire. Awarding two stars out of five, John Nugent calls the film "deeply faithful — to a fault" and says that it "doesn't come close to the experience of actually playing the games":

[Illumination] brings experience and talent; the standard of animation, crisply rendered and richly art-directed, is undeniably high. It’s-a-gonna win many box-office gold coins, no doubt. But the Bob Hoskins version is far more imaginative.

Ouch. Next up, Rolling Stone's Christopher Cruz was more positive, calling it a "visually astounding yet shallow" affair:

[The] visuals go a long way. A candy-coated mindf***, every frame of the film comes from the George Lucas school of thought: these images are dense... There’s a manic energy to every locale and character that, compounded with the absolute breakneck pace, makes it impossible to absorb the majority of what you’re seeing the first time around. The Easter eggs have Easter eggs, and it’s the kind of movie tailor-made for repeat viewing.

Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian calls it "a disappointment to rival the first" film adaptation from 1993 in his two-out-of-five-star review, comparing it unfavourably to the Lego Movies:

And unlike the brilliant Lego Movies, there is a fierce insistence on not being ironic or funny or self-referential about any of this – odd, as screenwriter Matthew Fogel worked on The Lego Movie 2. The only exception, arguably, is when Bowser is seen thoughtfully playing power-ballads on his piano.

The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck enjoyed it more, calling it "a reasonably faithful big screen adaptation" and singling out Charlie Day's performance as Luigi for particular praise:

While Matthew Fogel’s screenplay won’t win any awards, it builds a reasonable framework for the 90 minutes of nearly nonstop mayhem that ensues...The plot is as basic as can be, and character development is clearly not a priority. Considering Day’s terrific voice work as Luigi, it seems a shame that the character disappears for such long stretches.

Robbie Collin awarded the movie one star out of five in The Telegraph:

Somehow, this new animated adaptation of the video game is even worse than the abominable 1993 live-action. Even the CGI is second-rate.

Total Film's Fay Watson gave it three stars and says it is "a faithful introduction to the Mushroom Kingdom":

It’s just a shame that the svelte 92-minute runtime means we don’t get much time to linger in this vibrant setting. The story races through locations, character introductions and story threads so quickly that when the final act nears, you can’t help but wish directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic had gently nudged the brakes.

Variety's Owen Gleiberman found much to like, saying the film gives viewers "a wholesome prankish druggy chameleonic video-game buzz; it’s also a nice, sweet confection for 6-year-olds" and singling out Bowser's tenacious voice actor for some love:

Jack Black, who voices this horny demon, gives a stupendous performance. Bowser is in love with Princess Peach, even as he’s planning to attack her empire, and Black, conjuring something very different from his usual hipster-stoner vibe, makes Bowser a domineering but deeply insecure romantic, like the Phantom of Opera as a neurotic troglodyte.

And finally, Slash Film's Josh Spiegel awarded a four-out-of-ten rating, saying the movie "thrives on being unsurprising":

It's all but assured to be the biggest hit of the year, it will offer families something to see in the theaters after a long delay, and it is mostly...just there. This movie exists, and that's about as high as it aspires.

So there we are. There are plenty more opinions available but as you can see, the critical consensus is a little all over the shop. At the time of writing, it holds a 48-point Metascore and 46% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Let us know below if this was the sort of critical reception you expected to see.

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