The Super Mario Bros. Movie is every Nintendo fan's pipe dream. I always approach movie reviews from the 'normal dude' point of view: Will you enjoy this? Yes. Will you want to see it again? Also, yes.
That second point requires a yes because I can't recall another film with as many sight gags and references. Maybe Disney's "Ralph Breaks The Internet". Maybe. This film is pretty well-rounded, so don't worry about taking your kids. They'll love it. But more importantly, I think you will too.
As the movie starts out, we get to meet Mario and Luigi, brother-plumber extraordinaires living an average life in Brooklyn, NY hoping for their big plumbing break as they try to start a new family business. We learn quickly that Mario desperately wants the approval of his family, especially his dad, which I think many of us can relate to. Let me get this out of the way right now: the Italian accent isn't necessary and they explain it away pretty quickly. Also, big fans of Mario will be happy to know that original Mario voice actor Charles Martinet is firmly honored within the film. If you know anything about the games, you'll be glad to know that Charlie Day is perfectly cast as an always-nervous Luigi.
Skipping ahead like a warp zone, Mario and Luigi stumble upon an underworld network of pipes that lands them in the Mushroom Kingdom. On their way, they hit a split in the pipes, separating the brothers. This is also our first introduction to the wonderfully over-the-top Jack Black as Bowser, King of the Koopas. Bowser is a real treat of a character that gives the film some of its biggest laugh-out-loud moments.
We quickly get introduced to the other classic characters including the perennial Mario Kart favorite Donkey Kong (Seth Rogan) who steals the movie in his own right (they need a DK spinoff!). We also meet Cranky Kong (Fred Armisen), Toad (Keegan Michael-Key), Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.
Keen eyes will notice a flyover of Donkey Kong's country which will soon be a real place you can explore when Universal Studios opens Universal Epic Universe with Super Nintendo World in Orlando in 2025.
The film has all the Super Mario nods you would expect, right down to the Tanooki Suit. It never takes itself too seriously and even makes you feel a bit sorry for Lumilee, the forever-misunderstood sprite from the Super Mario Galaxy series of games. There are even some references to other Nintendo properties as the aforementioned Donkey Kong Country and some other surprises.
As per the usual Mario trope, you would think this film might be about rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser's clutches, and while yes, there is an element of that in the story, we get to see very much the badass that Peach can be! Most of the film centers around rescuing Luigi this time. There are several twists and turns but the movie's real magic comes from the incredible ensemble cast. Many fans were worried when Chris Pratt was announced as Mario's voice for the franchise (and he's given super weird interviews that make people wonder if he's even ever played a Mario game)... but those fears can be laid to rest because, in true Mario game fashion, the titular character really doesn't have that many lines!
Illumination has made some of it's most best animation to date, with some of the most realistic CGI water seen on the screen outside of Avatar: Way Of Water. Mario is every ounce as recognizable as Mickey Mouse, so Illumination really had to hit this one out of the park and I think they've done just that. Not only are they incredibly complimentary and true to the source material character style, they are building a complete Mario universe which will undoubtedly tie back into the multiple "Super Nintendo World" lands that Universal has been adding to their theme parks.
Without giving any plot points or surprises away, make sure you stick around through the credits for a little bonus power-up.