Bad things happening to one Super Mario is a time-honored tradition in videogame history. For example, half the appeal of Super Mario 64 was watching our imperiled plumber react to pain in comically over-animated ways. The spirit of comical protagonist abuse is alive and well in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, as evidenced in the 2023 flick’s latest trailer. In fact, the trailer is so focused on contorting Mario’s child-sized body in agony there’s a wealth of hilarious frames. I got more out of that than Chris Pratt’s mediocre VO talents, so here are the best shots of Mario getting his ass kicked in the second Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer.
I was already paying more attention to this than anticipated after Seth Rogan name-dropped the PlayChoice-10 arcade series before the trailer aired. And as weird as it was not actually hearing his voice in the footage, it was pretty awesome Donkey Kong’s Hollywood debut was viciously beating Mario with a smile on his face.
Mario’s done Donkey Kong dirty so many times over the years I bet he felt like he’d never get decent revenge. But here he is, joyfully slapping the shit out of the guy who once locked him in a cage, forcing DK Jr. to fend for himself. Or if we buy the “classic DK is Cranky Kong” thing, we’re seeing Jr. all grown up and getting vengeance for both him and his old man.
The best faces in this trailer are easily from DK’s Brock Lesnar-tier ground and pound.
But the rest of it gave us some quality content nonetheless. For instance, we briefly get a sense of how classic Super Mario Bros. levels will be represented in the movie. We also get to see what happens when a Bullet Bill disintegrates a person’s spinal column.
And a classic Wil. E. Coyote moment for some wholesome laffs:
Finally, Mario gets attacked by a Cheep Cheep. If the Donkey Kong tussle was a treasure trove of hilarious pain faces, this scene is a goldmine of a multi-person slapstick car crash.
There are so many layers to this sequence.
But the finale is a true “chef’s kiss” moment, giving us not only the traditional Mario mutilation, but some Toad torture and even a little Peach pain, as a treat.
If nothing else, Illumination is clearly having a great time revisiting that Mario 64 vibe, finding all kinds of ways to make torturing precious cartoon characters look funny. And we haven’t even seen more than a tease of the tragedies guaranteed to befall Luigi yet.