Super Mario Bros. 2 is a 2020 traditionally-animated film produced by a collaboration of a revived Sullivan Bluth Studios, Sony, and Stephen Spielberg. Released on October 9, 2020, it is mostly based off of the 1988 Super Mario Bros. 2 video game (released in the United States exactly 32 years earlier), but it does borrow a few elements from other Mario games, cartoons, and movies.
The film was highly successful at the box office, bringing back $809.4 million in the United States and Canada and $1.687 billion worldwide against a $275 million budget, making it the highest grossing film of 2020 both domestically and worldwide. It is a sequel to Super Mario Bros. (2017) , which would later spawn two more sequels: Super Mario Bros. 3 (2022) and Super Mario Bros. 4: Super Mario World (2023).
The film takes place in 1988, three years after the events of the first film. Over the past three years, many changes have occurred. Mario and Luigi, excited about their adventure in the Mushroom Kingdom, have told the whole world about it. Contact between the Mushroom Kingdom and our world has dramatically increased as a result. The Warp Zones been expanded to allow the kingdom to be accessed by almost anyone. Many businesses from around the world have invested in the resource-rich kingdom, causing it to rapidly industrialize into a modern-day society, complete with big cities, skyscrapers, cars, planes, tvs, computers, etc. Mario has become a rich man, not only due to him recieving royalties due to the success of the Super Mario Bros. video game, but also because he has expanded his plumbing company into a construction corporation that has dominated the construction of the Mushroom Kingdom's new infrastructure. However, he hasn't taken much advantage of his new wealth. He still owns his old apartment for nostalgia purposes, still owns the Mario Bros. van, and often helps his employees in building new pipes for the kingdom. Luigi, meanwhile, has married Daisy. During the summer months, they reside in the Mushroom Kingdom and conduct their duties as Lord and Lady of Sarasaland (and Luigi occasionally helps Mario), while during the fall, winter, and spring months they live in their suburb home just outside the city, where they own a luxury home construction company (to accomodate Luigi's love for plumbing and Daisy's love for flowers) and raise their daughter, Laura. Toad became the Prime Minister of the Mushroom Kingdom, only to later lose an election and become Leader of the Opposition to Toadsworth, much to his dismay. Yoshi is the Royal Steed.
After a dinner date at a business function goes bad, Mario and Peach, who have been dating for the last three years, get into a heated argument. Peach is angry over Mario seemingly becoming increasingly vain, greedy, and demanding of extravagance over his new lifestyle, and demands that he start living a more simple life if their relationship is to survive. Mario eventually gives in, and along with Peach, Toad, and Yoshi, decide to start doing more simple dates by throwing a surprise picnic for Luigi and Daisy to celebrate their third wedding anniversary. Meanwhile, Mario plans to propose to Peach at the picnic. The picnic ends in disaster when the hill they are on caves in due to a sinkhole. Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad fall in while Daisy and Yoshi escape. Daisy and Yoshi run to the castle to get help. Meanwhile, Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad are trapped in a cave. While trying to find a way out, Mario stumbles upon a mysterious door. He opens it, and it sucks the four in. They fall and land on another hill. While walking down and trying to figure out where they are, they are attacked by a gang of Shy Guys. They fight off the Shy Guys after pulling giant vegetables out of the ground and throwing them at them. A storm begins to build up and the four are forced to spend the night in a damp cave. Before going to sleep, an angry Luigi tells Mario that this whole thing is his fault, since it was his idea to have the picnic and it was him who opened the door, and because of him, Luigi may never see his wife and daughter again. This causes Mario, Peach, and Toad to get into an argument over who should be most to blame, since Peach and Toad helped Mario plan the picnic. Everyone goes to sleep angry at each other.
The next morning, the group sets out to try to find a way back to the Mushroom Kingdom. While walking across a desert, they are ambushed by an Arabian-looking man on a horse. The man challenges Mario to a fight and tries to seduce Peach. Angered, Mario accepts his challenge. The man wields a sword, but Mario manages to disarm him after a short fight and pins him to the ground. Before Mario can knock him out cold, they man pleads for mercy. He introduces himself as Prince Imajeen of Subcon. Peach is shocked, and then proceeds to tell Mario, Luigi, and Toad about how Subcon was a civilization that once co-existed with the Mushroom Kingdom but mysteriously disappeared after it sank into the ground centuries ago. It had been lost for so long that many in the Mushroom Kingdom believe that the story is a myth, but if what Imajeen says is true, then not only is the story not a myth, but a historical moment in Mushroom Kingdom history may have just happened. Imajeen joins the group. He and Peach ride on his horse through the desert while, Mario, Luigi, and Toad walk next to them. Imajeen entertains Peach with the stories about how he vanquised various monsters with ease. Peach, Luigi, and Toad are impressed and come to like Imajeen; Mario does not, as he feels that he is trying to make a move on Peach. Imajeen also tells her his current predictament: The evil sorcerer Wart has taken over the kingdom and imprisoned his parents and his love, the beautiful maiden Leena. Peach offers to help him defeat Wart, and Imajeen promises to do what he can to make sure the four make it back to the Mushroom Kingdom in return. Meanwhile at his castle, Wart is watching the group through a crystal ball. He sees Peach and laughs evilly as he says that she would make a fine bride for Imajeen. His assistant, Birdo, laughs nevously at the idea.
Imajeen leads the group to a giant factory. Imajeen says that the factory is run by Wart's number one minion, Mouser. Mouser is a pyromaniac, German-accented mouse who wears 1960's-style sunglasses and has a giant storage of bombs in his factory. If the bomb storage is reached and detonated, the factory would be destroyed, the slave labor would be freed, and enough people would be brought together to form a rebellion against Wart. Imajeen hatches a plan to get inside the factory. The plan is Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Imajeen would then be tied up to pretend that they are slaves to be sold. The five would go inside, Mario would pretend that he was a slave salesman wanting to make a bargain, and arrange a personal meeting with Mouser. While the fake baragaining was taking place, Toad, the only one small enough to fit in it, would open up the air vent in Mouser's office and sneak through the vents to try to find the bomb storage, as all the rooms in the factory have air vents. Toad would light one of the bombs, escape back to the office before the bombs detonated, and then Mario would knock Mouser out and they would all escape before the factory collapsed on them. Mario is suspicious about this plan, as he doesn't know how Imajeen would know that the factory's rooms all have air vents. An annoyed Imajeen tells Mario that the factory was built before Wart took over and it was built according to the kingdom building codes. Mario doesn't seem satisfied with that answer, but Peach reassures him that Imajeen can be trusted and that everything's going to be okay.
Mario and the others go along with Imajeen's plan and go inside the factory. Inside, Mario asks the Snifit receptionist for access to Mouser. He is denied access because he doesn't have a prior appointment. This starts a heated argument between Mario and the Snifit that would've escalated into physical violence had Mouser not walked in at the last second. Mouser allows the group to go through. Inside Mouser's office, Mario and Mouser bargain the amount of coins Mouser has to pay for the "slaves." While this discussion is going on, Toad unties his ropes and sneaks into them when Mouser isn't looking. After running into a few dead ends, Toad eventually finds the bomb storage. When trying to light a bomb with matches he happens to have on him, he accidentally another one off the shelf, causing it to hit the floor with a loud thud. The door to the vault begins to be unlocked. Knowing that he has been caught, Toad grabs several bombs and lights them. When the door is opened by several Snifit security guards, Toad throws the bombs at them and blow them up. Toad runs out of the vault and encounters several more snifit security guards and fights them off by knockining one of them out cold and using him as a machine gun by squeezing his stomach. He gets back to the office through the front door just as the vault explodes.
Mario knocks Mouser out cold and the five run out of the office and lock Mouser inside. The five run onto a platform above the main factory floor and tell the slaves that they are free, for the factory is about to be destroyed. Imajeen gives a short, encouraging speech about the future that awaits them if they rebel now, after the slaves seem to be discouraged at first. The slaves revolt and beat up their overseers, and run out of the main floor to their freedom. After the last one leaves, the roof begins to cave in before Mario and the others could themselves escape. Thinking fast, Imajeen picks up a potion sprout in the floor and creates a door to SubSpace. Everyone except Luigi manages to get inside the door. Luigi is hit in the head by a piece of debris and, while dizzy, falls off the platform. The rest of the group doesn't notice Luigi's missing until after they pick up a Starman and some coins inside the SubSpace room. After the potion expires, Mario, Peach, Toad, and Imajeen appear on a pile of rubble that used to be the factory in a giant poof of smoke. Mouser then crawls out from under the rubble and begins throwing bombs at the group and the escaped slaves in a furious rage. He is quickly defeated when the group catches his bombs and throw them at him, causing him to yelp in pain and run away into the desert. Everyone except Mario celebrates, as he is worried about Luigi. Imajeen begins organizing the rebellion at the bottom of the rubble pile while Mario, Peach, and Toad begin digging through the pile to find Luigi. Meanwhile, Wart is once again watching the group through his crystal ball. He is furious that Imajeen destroyed Mouser's factory. He says that the potion must be wearing off and that it is time that he set out and give Imajeen another one.
Luigi, who was knocked unconscious by him getting hit in the head, wakes up in a damp, poorly-lit corridor that has water up to his ankles and an entrance blocked off by debris. Instead of trying to remove the debris, he walks futher down the corridor to find another exit. As he goes deeper into the corridor, he finds a bunch of human bones lying around. He then comes face to face with Clawgrip, a giant, man-eating crab that disobedient slaves of Mouser were thrown to as a form of execution. Clawgrip vows to eat Luigi and begins throwing large boulders at him. Luigi runs back the other way to avoid being smashed by Clawgrip's boulders, but is cornered at the pile of debris. When one of the boulders hits the wall of debris, the debris slides further into the room and opens a small exit that Luigi can climb through from below. Luigi climbs up to the top, and then tricks Clawgrip into throwing boulders at the increasingly unstable pile of debris, until it collapses and crushes the room, killing Clawgrip. Luigi finds himself at the surface and begins looking for the others. After a short search, he finds them. Mario cries tears of joy that Luigi is okay.
Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Imajeen, and the rebels leave the desert region of Subcon and enter the snowy mountain region. They set up camp at the summit of one of the mountains. The rebel camp holds an elaborate victory feast in celebration of the destruction of Mouser's factory. During the feast, Imajeen attempts to seduce Peach again. Mario sees this and loses his temper, telling Imajeen to back off. Peach defends Imajeen and says that he was only being nice. Mario refuses to buy that, and accuses Peach of cheating on him with Imajeen. Peach angrily denies this, and she and Mario get into a heated argument that ends with Mario walking away and Peach running into her tent, sobbing. Luigi and Toad witness this and comfort Peach. Luigi reminds Peach that Mario is hot-tempered, and says that he probably didn't mean what he said and will come back and apologize soon. Meanwhile, Mario is descending the mountain by himself. He eventually runs into Tryclyde, a giant, three-headed, fire-breathing snake who is setting up camp with multiple Flurries. The flurries capture Mario and bring him to Tryclyde, who interrogates him. Mario reveals his identiy and who he was travelling with, not knowing that Tryclyde is one of Wart's spies. Tryclyde thanks Mario for providing the information Wart needed, and tells him that he will now die. The Flurries attempt to bind Mario, but Mario easily over powers them and throws them at Tryclyde's fireballs, incinerating them. Tryclyde tries to do Mario in himself, but is defeated when Mario tricks Tryclyde into tying his heads in a knot. Mario then knocks Tryclyde off a cliff, killing him. Mario decides to head back to the rebel camp to alert Imajeen that one of Wart's spies was on the mountain, not noticing the campfire set up at Tryclyde's camp transform into Fryguy and flying away to alert Wart.
Before Mario can get back up to the camp, he is struck by a bright ray of light coming from the sky and is knocked unconscious. He then has a vision where he sees the following images:
- A young prince meeting and falling in love with a princess;
- The young lovers's fathers, the kings, arguing over territory;
- The prince fighting in a battle that he does not want (alongside what appears to be various Mario enemies and against both humans and Toadstoolians);
- The prince being forced to execute the princess' brother on orders of his father;
- The prince sneaking away to what appears to be Natlow's castle, looking for the princess, only for him to be driven away by a young Natlow;
- The prince's father being forced to sign a humiliating treaty of defeat;
- The prince murdering his father in his sleep;
- The prince launching an invasion of the Mushroom Kingdom;
- The prince fighting Natlow, during which the princess is caught in between their swords as she tries to stop the fight, and is killed;
- The prince sitting on the Mushroom Kingdom throne amid carnage, weeping and screaming in rage as he slowly transforms into a familiar green beast.
Back in the present day, Peach is worried that Mario has not returned. She and Imajeen set out to find him. Before they leave, they tell Luigi and Toad to stay at the base with the rebels. Luigi is annoyed by this, and after they leave, he decides to follow them, leaving Toad behind to watch the rebels alone. After a long search, Peach and Imajeen find Mario just as he is regaining consciousness. Imajeen apologizes to Mario for his behavior and admits that he was indeed trying to seduce Peach. The reason why is because he was under the control of a potion Wart administered to him while taking over the kingdom. The potion was supposed to have Imajeen fall for the first woman he saw after being given it. Once he saw her, he would take her to Wart, where Wart would have them be married and sent them away from the Subcon forever so he could rule it. However, for reasons unknown, he was able to remain partially in control of his faculties and still oppose Wart's rule and love Leena. Hence the reason he still sabatoged Mouser's factory and freed the slaves even after being given the potion. Now, the potion has stopped working completely, and Imajeen is completely back to normal. Imajeen says he wants Mario to be his friend and would do anything to have his love, Leena back, and have Mario and Peach reconcile. Mario and Peach share a passionate kiss. Mario then tells Imajeen that they have to go back up to the camp and move it immediately, because he ran into one of Wart's spies and that Wart was nearby. He also tries to tell Peach about his vision, but before he can, Wart arrives with Mouser, Fryguy, and some Shy Guys and Snifits. Mario, Peach, and Imajeen are captured and taken to Wart's castle.
Luigi witnesses all this and quickly runs back up to the camp. He warns Toad and the rebels that Wart had just captured Mario, Peach, and Imajeen and is now on his way to destroy the camp. Luigi, Toad, and the rebels quickly move away to another location before Wart could catch up to them. When Wart arrives at the former campsite, he gives up and goes back to the castle. At Wart's castle, Mario is sentenced to be tortured and then turned into a gold statue as a wedding gift for Peach and Imajeen. Imajeen is given another potion and now is completely in love with Peach. Birdo takes Peach to a dungeon to prepare her for the wedding while Mario is dragged away to the torture chamber. Meanwhile, Luigi, Toad, and the rebels arrive outside Wart's castle, preparing to attack it. The castle is on top of a giant cloud, so instead of attacking the traditional way, they attack from below to throw Wart's minions off guard. After defeating an army of Wart's minions in the basement, Toad and Luigi split off from the rebels to look for Mario. They ascend a tall tower filled with Shy Guys, Snifits, Amps, and spiked platforms before finding the torture chamber. Mario is suspended by a chain over Fryguy. Mouser repeatedly adjusts Mario's height to both get Mario as close to Fryguy as possible without actually burning him, and to psychologically torture Mario. Luigi uses the Starman found in Subspace earlier, and uses his invincibility to extinguish Fryguy. Toad knocks Mouser out cold and frees Mario. The three then escape the torture chamber and try to find Peach.
Meanwhile, Peach is in a cell with Birdo. Birdo forces Peach to drink what Peach thinks is a love potion that would make her fall in love with Imajeen and become permanent when they married, but it turns out to be just water. Birdo then reveals her true identity: She is none other than Leena, the maiden Imajeen is in love with. She explains that Imajeen and her were to be married but then Wart appeared and took over the kingdom. Wart used a magic genie lamp that can be used only by people of royal descent (Wart rubbed the lamp after he crowned himself king, so he counts as royalty) to turn Imajeen's parents into fairies and Leena into a Birdo. Imajeen's parents were locked away in a jar to rot while Leena was forced to become Wart's servant. Wart had her make both potions that made Imajeen fall in love with Peach. The first time, she deliberately diluted it to make it have the effects it actually had. The second time, she didn't dillute the potion and instead gave Peach water to prevent Wart from becoming suspicious. Peach and Leena try to leave the cell, but before they could, A stone mask-like face on the cell wall comes to life. The mask calls himself Phanto, and says that he is going to destroy Leena, and then tell Wart of her treachery. Leena easily destroys Phanto with a fireball, and she and Peach leave the cell to go to Wart's throne room.
In the hall leading into the throne room, Peach and Leena run into Mario, Luigi, and Toad. They tell them what is going on and instruct them that when Wart finds out Peach isn't in love with Imajeen, they attack. Peach and Leena enter the throne room via the Hawkmouth entrance. After they enter, the Hawkmouth closes the hole in the wall behind him leading to the throne room, trapping, Mario, Luigi, and Toad in the previous room. It says that it is determined to prevent Peach and Leena's plan from working, and that by destroying Mario, Luigi, and Toad, it will cause Peach and Leena's plan to easily fail and Peach to be forced to marry Imajeen. Mario, Luigi, and Toad manage to defeat the Hawkmouth by throwing Mushroom Blocks at it, and enter the throne room. As planned, when Peach refuses to say "I do," they reveal themselves to Wart. Wart shoots bubbles and Imajeen throws giant vegetables at Mario, Luigi, and Toad. Imajeen and Mario sword fight while Luigi and Toad dodge the bubbles and vegetables and throw them back to distract Wart while Peach and Leena sneak into the room behind Wart's throne to try to find the magic lamp. Inside, they find the lamp, but they also find Mouser. Mouser is defeated when Leena lights his bombs with her fireballs, causing them to all go off at the same time and destroying the room. Peach and Leena run out with the lamp and the jar containing Imajeen's parents. Mouser is not seen again after this explosion, implying that he may have been killed.
Peach rubs the lamp and the genie Denpu (the same genie from Wario Land) comes out. Peach wishes for Wart's magic to be undone, and her wish is granted. Leena is turned back into a human, as are Imajeen's parents. The love potion in Imajeen instantly wears off. Wart, who used Imajeen's parents' and Leena's humanity to make himself look more like a regular frog, transforms into his true form: a demonic, crocodile-like creature. Mario punches Wart out the a window in the throne room, causing Wart to seemingly fall to his doom. Imajeen embraces his parents and shares a kiss with Leena. Mario decides now is the time to ask Peach to marry him, but before he could ask, Wart suddenly reappears, having transformed into a giant crocodile. He begins destroying the castle, intent on crushing Mario and company like bugs. They barely manage to escape from the castle, and they and the rebels defeat Wart once and for all by throwing giant vegetables into his mouth, causing him to choke and fall off the cloud foundation to his death. The residents of Subcon celebrate, having been freed. Later, at Imajeen's palace, Imajeen's parents give Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Imajeen, and Leena medals for their bravery. Peach asks Denpu for one more wish, and that a permanent door to the Mushroom Kingdom, which appears on top of the same hill where Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad first entered Subcon.
Back in the Mushroom Kingdom, a search team led by Daisy, Yoshi, Natlow, and Ursula are mining through the hill to try to find Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad. Just as they are about to give up, a door apears in a tree on the hill. Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, the Subcon Royal Family, and Denpu emerge. Peach hugs Natlow and Ursula, while Luigi hugs Daisy and Laura. Peach tells Natlow and Ursula about their adventure in Subcon. Natlow says that the rediscovery in Subcon is something that must be celebrated with a grand ceremony and feast. Later, in Natlow's castle, Imajeen and Leena are married. After they exchange vows, Natlow announces that he plans to federalize the Mushroom Kingdom into seven kingdoms (the same ones from Super Mario Bros. 3) and one capital district (Toad Town), and that Imajeen and Leena are to be appointed King and Queen of Desert Land. During the subsequent feast, Imajeen arranges a dance by harem girls that is set up to put Mario in a position to propose to Peach. Mario propses, and Peach says "yes." They passionately kiss, and everyone cheers. Mario then turns to Imajeen and, in a parody of the last line in Casablanca, says "Imajeen, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Everyone laughs, and the credits roll.
Mario: Leonardo DiCaprio
Peach: Isla Fisher
Luigi: Ben Savage
Toad: John Stocker
Imajeen: Dev Patel
Leena: Jeannie Elias (in Birdo Form); Summer Bishil (in human form)
Wart: Harvey Atkin
Queen of Subcon: CCH Pounder
King of Subcon: John Rhys-Davies
Denpu: Dan Castallaneta
Daisy: Amy Adams
King Natlow of the Mushroom Kingdom: Christopher Plummer
Yoshi: Andrew Sabiston
Queen Ursula of the Mushroom Kingdom: Ann-Margret
Laura: Tara Strong
Toadsworth: Charles Martinet
In addition, John Stocker voices all of Wart's minions except Tryclyde, the Snifits, the Shy Guys, Phanto, and Hawkmouth, who are voiced by Harvey Atkin, Harvey Atkin, Jeannie Elias, Ian Hart, and Frank Welker, respectively.
"The Prince": Christian Bale
"The Princess": Samantha Mathis
"The Prince's Father:" Bruce Spence
"The Princess' Father:" Lance Henriksen
"The Princess' Brother:" James Marsden
Natlow and Ursula were voiced by Christopher Plummer and Ann-Margret in both the past and present-day scenes. They, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Isla Fisher were the only present-day actors who knew about the flashback scenes before the film's premiere.
Super Mario Bros. 2 was greenlighted almost immediately after Super Mario Bros. was released. During production, Spielberg insisted that the citizens of Subcon be voiced by hundreds of extras, instead of being voiced by a few talented voice actors such as John Stocker and Jim Cummings like Koopa's minions were in the first film. He later said in an interview that this decision was inspired by what was done in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956): "Mario and Moses really have something in common here. Both of them are unlikely and initially reluctant heroes that are called to task to free people from slavery against an oppressive leader. Even the type of race between the slaves in both stories are similar. Moses freed the Jews, while Mario frees people that are essentially Arab, who are both semitic peoples. So naturally, if the characters are to be alike, so should the extras." Meanwhile, due to the complexity of the environments in Subcon as opposed to that of the Mushroom Kingdom, in order to save time, the number of animators who specialized in doing certain evnironments ended up being more than double than the amount used for the first film. The final scenes to be made were the flashback scenes. This was done on purpose in order to keep them secret from the cast members who were not in the scenes, out of fear that they would drop spoilers. After the rest of the cast left, Leonardo DiCaprio secretly recorded his lines, alongside the actors in the flashback scenes that were never on set as the same time as the rest of the cast. As a result, when the film premeired, almost everybody in the theater was suprised and confused when they saw the flashback scenes.