WARNING! Contains SPOILERS for The Super Mario Bros. Movie!For a family-friendly video game adventure, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has a lot of dark jokes. After Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) try unsuccessfully to get their plumbing business off the ground, they find a mysterious pipe under the city of Brooklyn and get sucked into a fantasy land filled with colorful characters from the Super Mario Bros. franchise. Unfortunately, Luigi winds up in Dark Land, the fiery realm controlled by Bowser (Jack Black) and his koopas, while Mario winds up in the idyllic Mushroom Kingdom, where he seeks an audience with Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) to help him find his lost brother.
The movie starts off light-hearted and quirky, but after Mario and Luigi begin their respective adventures, the jokes get more sinister, and in the case of Lumalee, downright morbid. Since The Super Mario Bros. Movie is for longtime adult fans as well as children, it’s not entirely surprising that it would have a mixture of mature and kid-appropriate humor, but every once in a while a character says something shocking. The many box office records Super Mario Bros has broken prove that it’s found a winning combination of light and dark laughs that has helped it become of the most popular video game adaptations of all time.
6 Mario Eating Mushrooms That Look Like His Friend Toad
One of the most innocent running jokes in The Super Mario Bros. Movie involves Mario’s intense dislike of mushrooms, which becomes funnier every time he is forced to eat one. Princess Peach introduces him to the concept of power-ups while he trains to battle Bowser, with some of them making him grow gargantuan and some of them shrinking him down to a few inches tall. Given how many mushrooms Mario is forced to ingest, it’s surprising that he doesn’t eventually develop a taste.
One caveat to the ongoing mushroom joke is that, along with Mario disliking mushrooms as a consumable, the mushrooms Princess Peach provides look eerily like his new friend Toad (Keegan-Michael Key). Every time he eats one it’s like eating one of his friends, making the mushroom power-up the darkest part of the movie because while it’s not exactly cannibalistic, Toad and his kind are sentient, walking talking beings. Fortunately, Toad doesn’t seem to hold it against Mario, and actively encourages him to eat the mushrooms, making it even more bizarrely amusing.
5 Bowser Torturing Luigi By Ripping Off His Mustache
In order to intimidate Luigi into telling him where Mario is, Bowser threatens to torture him, but not in a way that’s particularly bloody or painful. Bowser decides to go after the one thing that Luigi covets, not just what would cause him the most discomfort – his mustache. Towering over him like a kaiju, the king of the koopas threatens to rip off one hair at at time and then the whole thing unless Luigi can tell him Mario’s location, or more personally, how Princess Peach feels about Mario.
The juxtaposition of Luigi panicking like Bowser is about to put him in an outrageous torture device, only to realize he’s going to rip off his mustache, provides a fun bait and switch. It makes strategic sense that Bowser wouldn’t kill Luigi, who is his biggest leverage over Mario and instead exploits him for information. Due to Luigi being the more fearful and easily manipulated of the brothers, he’s much more likely to talk if Bowser intimidates him into revealing some of Mario’s biggest weaknesses.
4 Toad Joke About Luigi Dying
Toad acts as Mario’s introduction to Mushroom Kingdom as well as its effervescent guide, showing him how to hop across mushrooms and use the intricate tube system that helps toads get around. Toad thinks nothing of taking him to see Princess Peach even though they’ve just met and even helps him sneak past her guards by distracting them with a delicious meal. Without Toad’s assistance, Mario probably would have never made it into Peach’s palace to start the training that would help him rescue his brother, which makes one of Toad’s lines darkly funny.
When Mario reveals to his new pal that Luigi wound up in Dark Land, Toad wastes no time in telling him that his brother is going to die. A character as adorable and bubbly as Toad suddenly becoming gravely serious and deadpan marks the first dark joke of the movie, and sets the tone for some of its more morbid lines later on. It’s important that Toad effectively communicates how much of a threat Bowser is to Mario, and his delivery sells the menace while being wickedly funny at the same time.
3 Lumalee Joke About Fresh Meat For The Grinders
When Luigi arrives in Dark Land he’s chased by some dry bones from Super Mario Bros. 3, before eventually being captured by some bony beetles and shy guys and brought to Bowser. Bowser locks him in the dungeon of his castle, where he finds himself surrounded by Penguin King, penguins, and a few other hapless prisoners, including a Lumalee. Unlike everyone else, this Luma is dancing around and happily humming to himself, seemingly obvious to the terrible conditions around him.
Lumalee announces Luigi as “more meat for the grinders” with a flip and a giggle, which comes across as more unsettling than anything Luigi has seen so far. In a place filled with goombas, koopas, and bob-ombs, Luigi is more afraid of the incredibly chipper Luma whose adorable appearance doesn’t match his sullen attitude and whom Penguin King calls “cute but cuckoo.” So begins Lumalees dark joke routine, which only get funnier the longer Luigi remains in Bowser’s dungeon.
2 Lumalee Joke About The Infinite Void
In The Super Mario Bros. Movie post-credits scene, Lumalee appears again to close the film by saying, “Now that’s a happy ending…or is it? Because everything’s over now, and all that’s left is you and the infinite void.” Just when audiences think they’ve felt the last of Lumalee’s nihilism, he introduces a new sense of dread by making them question the futility of their existence. It seems like the worst way to end a movie where the good guys have triumphed over the bad guys, Mario and Luigi have a great career, and the Mushroom Kingdom has been saved.
Luckily, Lumalee’s character is a little more complex than just inspiring existential depression, and he goes on to ask, “Kind of makes you want to play the saxophone?” before bursting into a rowdy rendition of the Super Mario Bros. theme song. Lumalee cements himself as one of the best parts of the movie thanks to his unpredictable personality and killer solo. Between Lumalee’s sax solo and Bowser’s catchy “Peaches” song, The Super Mario Bros. 2 movie could definitely be a musical.
1 Lumalee Joke About Sweet Release Of Death
At one point when Luigi is desperate to escape Bowser’s clutches Lumalee explains that there isn’t any way out of his castle except by dying. The little blue Luma swings happily in his cage explaining, “There’s no escape. Only the sweet release of death,” which seems particularly morbid coming from a blue star with a child-like voice. Horror movies make good use of subverting expectations by using innocent-seeming characters to be harbingers of pain and suffering, which makes Lumalee’s personality in a family-friendly movie so amusing.
As it turns out, the Lumalee star is so grim because of his unique approach to death. In Super Mario Galaxy, Lumas act as guides and storefronts, where for star-bits they’ll happily give Mario or Luigi something useful to defeat a boss. If Lumas eat too much they explode, creating planets and entire galaxies. Because their deaths can give life, Lumas are actually quite excited about dying, which explains Lumalee’s cheery take on the afterlife in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.