Content Warning: The following article contains spoilers for The Super Mario Bros. Movie.The Super Mario Bros. Movie is breaking every kind of record for an animated movie. Despite mixed reviews, fans have embraced the film, celebrating its stunning animation, lighthearted humor, and, most importantly, the beloved characters and voice performances from the absurdly talented and instantly recognizable cast.
In true Mario fashion, the film has an ensemble of likable and hilarious characters that fans will fall instantly in love with. From heavy hitters like Mario and Bowser to minor players like Kamek and a particularly memorable lumalee, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is full of incredible characters that audiences won’t soon forget.
The Super Mario Bros. franchise is full of minor villains almost as recognizable as the Italian plumber himself. However, Kamek has a place of (dis)honor among Mario’s foes, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie gives him his dues. Kamek is a crucial part of Bowser’s army, using his magical powers to serve as an informant and advisor.
Kamek has a surprisingly prominent role in the movie. He is one of Bowser’s most powerful allies, faithfully serving the King of the Koopas. Kamek is as wicked as his boss, showing no remorse for terrorizing others; however, he has none of Bowser’s charm, making him one of the movie’s most unlikable characters. Perhaps the sequel will show more of his personality.
8 Cranky Kong
The familiar but underrated Fred Armisen voices King Cranky Kong in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. The film presents Cranky Kong as the king of the Jungle Kingdom and leader of the Kong Army, who pits Mario against his son, Donkey Kong, with his powerful army as the price of the plumber’s victory.
Armisen, who rose to prominence in Saturday Night Live, does a brilliant job voicing the notoriously testy monkey. Cranky Kong lives up to his name, acting as one of the film’s most cunning characters. However, he is far from villainous, as he fulfills his word and lends Peach his army to fight Bowser. Cranky Kong might not necessarily be likable, but he is entertaining and often quite funny, thanks to Armisen’s delightful voice work.
7 Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong is one of Mario’s most famous foes-turned-allies. The Super Mario Bros. Movie presents the famous gorilla as somewhat immature, having an antagonistic relationship with Mario following their fight at the Jungle Kingdom. He ends the movie as a friend and ally to Mario, mirroring their relationship in the video games.
Seth Rogen voices Donkey Kong in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, with his instantly recognizable voice fitting the character to a tee. Donkey Kong’s adversarial relationship with Mario makes him somewhat annoying at times, especially because he plays a largely supporting role in the film. However, he remains a fun and funny character that will hopefully have more to do in the upcoming inevitable sequel.
Everyone knows Luigi is Mario’s meek, easily-frightened younger brother. The Super Mario Bros. Movie respects this characterization, presenting him as entirely dependent on Mario. However, Luigi finds his inner strength during the movie’s third act, becoming more capable, if not necessarily as brave as his older brother.
Charlie Day is a perfect choice to voice Luigi, giving the shy plumber considerable charisma. Luigi could easily be a thankless role, but Day makes him a memorable and likable character that audiences can root for. And while Luigi spends most of the movie on the sidelines, the climax gives him some hard-earned redemption, hinting at a larger role in the sequel.
Toad is Princess Peach’s most loyal and bravest subject. The cooking expert is overenthusiastic and surprisingly capable, impressing Mario and Peach with his bravery and willingness to put himself on the line if it means standing up for his friends.
Voiced by a nearly-unrecognizable Keegan Michael Key, Toad is among The Super Mario Bros. Movie‘s most likable characters. The tiny mushroom is a valuable ally to Mario and Peach, and what he lacks in strength or ability, he more than makes up for in willingness and determination. Thanks to a winning voice performance and the character’s charming personality, Toad is one of the film’s most entertaining figures.
It takes only a few lines for this unexpectedly hilarious lumalee to nearly steal The Super Mario Bros. Movie. The character is one of Bowser’s prisoners, offering dark comments about his and his fellow prisoners’ inevitable doom with a ridiculously cute and childish voice.
This unnamed lumalee is the film’s most pleasantly surprising character. Thanks to the combination of his sweet voice speaking several macabre and dark lines, the lumalee becomes one of The Super Mario Bros. Movie‘s most memorable figures. His utter disappointment at not dying is possibly the film’s funniest scene, adding a surprising but welcome dark layer to an otherwise safe and lighthearted movie.
Princess Peach is perhaps the most famous Mario character outside of Mario himself. The ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, Peach is often the source of conflict between Mario and Bowser, with the latter kidnapping her, forcing the former to come to the rescue.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie switches this dynamic, making Peach much more capable yet as kind and delicate as her video game counterpart. The film’s version of Peach is brave and capable, a wonderful fighter that would feel right at home in the Super Smash Bros. series. Thanks to a lovely voice performance from Anya Taylor-Joy, Peach is a wonderful character and the perfect female lead for the film. Dynamic but no less delightful, Peach is the perfect companion for Mario.
Arguably the most iconic video game villain of all time, Bowser is The Super Mario Bros. Movie‘s main antagonist. The King of the Koopas, Bowser steals the Super Star and plans to force Princess Peach to marry him, or he will destroy the Mushroom Kingdom.
The iconic Jack Black voices Bowser in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, making the infamous Koopa King all the more likable. An innate comedian, Black makes Bowser menacing and endlessly entertaining, particularly when he is musing about his undying love for Princess Peach. Bowser even sings a couple of songs about how much he loves her! Unexpectedly charming but still dangerous, Black’s Bowser is the perfect way to introduce the iconic character to the big screen.
Mario is an institution in gaming, arguably the most iconic and celebrated character in the medium’s history. The Super Mario Bros. Movie lives up to the hero’s reputation, presenting a funny and delightful version of the Italian plumber that will satisfy every fan who has ever played a Mario game.
Chris Pratt does a surprisingly great job voicing Mario, making the character relatable and easy to root for. Heroic and inspiring, Mario is the ultimate hero, a character everyone can get behind; audiences will cheer for his victories and lament his failures. However, Mario will always get up; he doesn’t know how to quit, and that’s what makes him such a fan-favorite.
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