MARIO: The Movie! In 3D! (Or, If Nintendo Acted Like Marvel)
20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Sony Pictures are all trying to replicate the success Marvel Studios has had with the Avengers franchise with varying degrees of success. The X-Men franchise (which has been replete with hits and misses) is expanding, and the Fantastic Four may end up joining their universe at some point. The new Spider-Man film series is expanding too, with Sinister Six and Venom spin-offs planned to tie into that universe. And as for the Man of Steel sequel… may Zod have mercy on their souls.
There is one company, however, that I feel would benefit mightily from experimenting in this arena: Nintendo.
I know what you’re thinking. The last attempt at a Mario movie sucked. Just sucked.
But see, the mistake last time was handing the reigns over to amateurs. You want a good Mario movie, you give it to the people who make good Mario games.
And since Marvel’s apparently had a game plan for the Avengers Cinematic Universe for a while, here’s what it would look like if Nintendo went down the same path:
SUPER MARIO ADVENTURES
You want to start small, so for the first movie, let’s start with an adaptation of a little-known comic anthology from the early 90s. Super Mario Adventures fleshed out the Mario world and told a concrete story, albeit a story with the same conceit as the games: Princess Peach gets her royal ass kidnapped again and Mario has to save her (there are some twists, though, that deviate in some interesting ways). Adapting this would be a great way to introduce people to these characters, and establish Mario as a hero who overcomes all odds, not to mention incorporating all the classic elements of Mario games (pipes, koopas, your standard ghost house).
Post-credits scene: a shadowy figure with no defining outline except for what looks like a bushy mustache is seen cackling. This scene serves as double foreshadowing, hinting at a Wario appearance down the road and at the antagonist of the next movie…
LET THE MIND-BLOWING BEGIN. Well, the fact is that Sega worked out an exclusive distribution deal with Nintendo in the past year, so this would work out very nicely. Establish Sonic’s world, bring in Tails as the comic relief, Knuckles as the gritty deuteragonist who initially wants nothing to do with Sonic but ends up joining forces with the team to save the day, and then, of course, Eggman. Dr. Robotnik’s overall goal in this movie is to collect the Chaos Emeralds (the explanation for this will be made clear in due time), but Sonic doesn’t know about that yet. He’s focused on putting a stop to the robot army that has imprisoned many of the inhabitants of South Island and, of course, succeeds.
Post-credits scene: You see a glimmer of what looks like another Chaos Crystal in the distance. The whole screen is hidden in shadows, but you hear the sounds of a pan-flute echoing through the night sky.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA
You can’t have this kind of Nintendo franchise and leave out Link. And just so we’re clear, we are going with the Ocarina of Time character model here, not the Wind Waker one. Not in this kind of franchise. Again, it’s a pretty straightforward plot, basically taken from OoT. Link goes on an epic quest to save Zelda and collects the three Spiritual Stones, opens the door to the Sacred Realm, and then Ganondorf shows up and puts Link in a coma or something for a few years. (I never actually played the game, I just asked my little brother for a play-by-play and he humored me for 10 minutes.) The rest of the game happens, blah blah blah, Link defeats Ganondorf, then Ganon, and the world is saved.
Post-credits scene: We pan over to the altar whereupon Link placed the three Spiritual Stones: Kokiri’s Emerald, Goron’s Ruby, and Zora’s Sapphire. We see some hands forcefully removing the green emerald from its perch, and it’s pretty obvious whose hands they are.
SUPER MARIO 2: WARIO WORLD
We’re building up to something great here, but first we have to revisit the Mushroom Kingdom and introduce the rest of the villainous crew. At this point, Bowser is dead and gone, so our antagonists this time are Wario and Waluigi, which obviously means this is going to have a lot more comedy than the first movie. The sequel will be based on the follow-up to the original Super Mario Adventures: Mario vs. Wario. But we’re subtitling this Wario World because it’s a more easily identifiable phrase in the Mario game lexicon. It’s obviously going to have a lot of deviations from the source material (seriously, just read how this thing plays out), but the basic idea is that Wario and Waluigi plot their revenge on Mario and Luigi, and carry out a plot that ends up with Mario needing to be saved by Peach. And boom! There’s your role reversal, and there’s where everyone who said the first movie wasn’t feminist enough gets to run a victory lap.
Post-credits scene: Bowser Jr. dumping a bag of something into a cauldron. He pours some mysterious chemicals into the cauldron and you hear a rumbling. There is a slow pan to just above the cauldron, and for a split second you see a skeleton face before the eyes glow radiantly and the screen fades to white as you hear a colossal roar.
SUPER SMASH BROS.
See, I told you we were building up to something.
Now, just one point of clarification: no, Pokémon is not part of this franchise. Just as Sony’s exclusive film rights to Spider-Man and Fox’s to the X-Men means they won’t be showing up in the Avengers anytime soon, the film rights to Pokémon are already a moot point.
But let’s get back to the crossover movie. Without getting into too much plot here, it involves Eggman using the Chaos Emeralds to rip holes in the space-time continuum and so our heroes meet as they go from the Mushroom Kingdom to Hyrule to Sonic’s world to, yes, the world of Metroid. Throw in appearances by Skeleton Bowser, Wario, Majora’s Mask, etc., there are some cool battles, and in the end our heroes stop Eggman once and for all by using the Master Emerald.
Post-credits scene: Eggman explaining himself to a shadowy figure, saying he needed more allies and reinforcements. He is immediately silenced, flattened to death by what looks like a gigantic white glove…
And that’s where I’m stopping for now. You continue on with a SAMUS one-off, another MARIO movie or two, sequels to LEGEND OF ZELDA and SONIC, and introductions to new characters in STAR FOX or ICE CLIMBERS if you’re daring, and then just go freaking nuts with it.
Now, I’m sure you’re going to get the hardcore Nintendo fans nitpicking over every little detail in these films and criticizing anything that deviates too much from the norm.
That was the point of the Marvel analogy.