So, this was brought up on at least one of the D&D movie threads, but I thought it deserved a thread of its own.
I just got back from taking my kids (high school and elementary school) to a matinee showing of the movie and they both really liked it. The movie is drop-dead gorgeous (even better than the trailer leads you to believe) and moves along at a good pace. It's a 90 minute movie and actually feels a bit faster and breezier than that, without being manic in the way, say, that many Netflix kids movies are.
And generally speaking, it comes off very well compared to many kids movies. (If you've seen the Croods or any Ice Age movies, you know what I mean.) The characters all have at least small arcs, the villains have understandable if cartoonish motivations, and while there are things snuck in there for adults -- usually well-chosen needle drops -- the movie is very focused on being a kids' movie that will hold up years or decades from now. All the kids in the theater loved it.
In contrast, we saw trailers for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and the latest misbegotten Trolls movie. Both the extended TMNT joke about "ooze" (referencing 1991's "Secret of the Ooze" TMNT movie) and the Trolls hitting a "hustle" button and turning everything into a disco-themed sequence with (early) 1970s animation were met with complete crickets, as none of the kids being targeted in trailers for kids movies had any idea what these (pretty thin) jokes were about.
My kids have never owned a Nintendo game system, but grew up in a world where console videogame characters are everywhere. Mario and Sonic are their Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker, for better or worse. They know so much about Mario's world and the games he appears in.
The adults harrumphing that the Mario movie isn't any good need to get over themselves. This was never going to be Barbie or even the Lego Movie. Nintendo's very clear about their brand and storytelling -- they are hyper-sincere, play things straight and non-ironic. And if you're casting Chris Pratt, you're not aspiring to do Paddington 2 -- you just want something fine and inoffensive, which this was.
For people like me, who grew up with Donkey Kong and the original (not-super) Mario Bros. games, there were fun callbacks, and there are multiple sequences that replicate platform gaming, the first of which in 2D in the streets of Brooklyn, and they're all extremely well done. You also get all the obligatory stuff, like "your princess is in another castle" and Donkey Kong fighting Mario on girders. But the Easter eggs are much less intrusive than they even were in Honor Among Thieves, which walked right up to the line of being too intense about them, IMO.
Jack Black is, once again, the best thing in a kid's movie, and his musical skills are used more than once for Bowser, always to good effect. And it was amusing to realize that Anna-Taylor Joy playing a blonde with gigantic eyes is typecasting.
If you are obligated to take your kids to the movie theater this spring for some reason, this is a much better bet than Trolls XII: We Hate Ourselves As Much As You Hate Us.