The Super Mario Bros. Movie Might Be Princess Peach’s Moment

Princess Peach has always been my biggest concern with The Super Mario Bros. Movie. I’m not the biggest fan of Chris Pratt’s off-camera persona, his presence feels a little oversaturated, and Charles Martinet is right there, but I got over Pratt as Mario before I heard the voice – for all Pratt’s flaws, he was always going to do a fine job. Peach had far more potential to go wrong, but her first trailer eases a lot of that concern.

They say there are no real movie stars left today, and while I think the landscape of cinema has changed dramatically, actors are still the main reason I go to see a movie. Anya Taylor-Joy is in the same stratosphere as Florence Pugh, Timothee Chalamet, and Jennifer Lawrence. You put them in a movie, I’m there day one. So while everyone else was getting a little too distressed over Chris Pratt’s voice coming out of Mario, I couldn’t wait to hear ATJ’s take on Peach. But I was a little worried the script might let her down. Thankfully, the trailer has already proved me wrong.

We’ve all seen trailers that were amazing, then it turns out the movie itself was terrible, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Remember the movie was bumped back for retuning after poor test screenings, and we’re yet to see what the fabled musical numbers sound like. Maybe that should be ‘yet to hear’. Anyway, the point is, the trailers aren’t always a great way to judge a movie’s overall quality, but they do give you a sense of the characters themselves, and this Peach is everything I wanted.

Peach has gotten a raw deal in Mario. While she’s always been the main female character, that has often worked against her. Supporting women like Rosalina, Pauline, and even Daisy have been allowed to grow and develop more charismatic personalities, but Peach has always remained as the feminine ideal. Pretty, polite, docile. She’s a princess to be saved. It would have been easy for the movie to keep her in this trope, but it seems to be pushing past it.

We see Peach in her Mario Kart biker outfit wielding a poleaxe, as well as summoning the fire throwing power Mario uses in the games. Because Mario is not from the Mushroom Kingdom, it seems Peach has served as its chief protector, rather than a damsel to be saved from her distress. Quite what Mario’s role in the movie will be in that case is unclear, but Peach at least will not be passive. Instead of being saved by Mario, she will be his mentor.

This is not entirely new ground for Peach. Super Mario Odyssey, the latest game, initially feels like a parody of the genre. Bowser steals Peach to marry her, and we make our way through worlds following his wedding shopping, eventually trying to marry Peach ourselves. It’s the definition of making her a possession to be won. But ultimately, Peach rejects Mario’s advances and saves herself. Though she’s sidelined until the endgame, Peach has far more agency in Odyssey than in previous games.

The spin-offs have helped too. While her power-up of a Simp Ray in Battle League is a little sexist, the sports, kart, and party games let her show more personality. Then there’s the old Nintendo comics, where Peach was an action hero similar to how she appears in the movie. That Daisy is more boisterous and has seen her involvement rise and fall over the years has left Peach with nowhere to go, but the movie is giving her the spotlight and she’s grabbing ahold tight.

While the casting conversation has been dominated by Pratt and the more memetastic supporting cast members, Taylor-Joy is the major movie star here. Pratt’s time as a box office draw may be dwindling, but hers is rising and could shine brightly for the next decade. She’s a huge get for a project like this, and there was always the fear that the movie might waste her. After the trailer, those fears have been allayed.

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