Today we have our First look to Super Mario Bros. film, which marks the most recent attempt to bring Nintendo’s biggest star to our biggest screens. See. It’s a movie for Mario fans, which we definitely are. But it’s not exactly a movie at the exact intersection of faith and culture, so why would we cover it? Why, that is, unless Mario is a Christian?
As a general rule, the many Mario games avoid any religious content. They have much more to do with rescuing princesses from carious castles and eating mushrooms with dubious properties. Mario’s exact religious beliefs are yet to be confirmed. But at RELEVANT, we promise to spare no effort in our coverage, so let’s take a look at the evidence.
What should we get out of? First, Mario’s Italian heritage. Italy is about 83.3% Christians, the vast majority of whom are Catholic. In some iterations, Mario is Italian-American, a resident of Brooklyn (at least when he’s not wandering around the Mushroom Kingdom), but Italian-Americans are also “overwhelming” Catholic. Statistically, it’s quite likely that Mario is a Roman Catholic.
Plus, let’s not forget, this cinematic Mario is voiced by Chris Pratt, one of the most outspoken Christians in showbiz. Just because Pratt is a Christian, of course, doesn’t mean his characters share his faith. It’s called “playing”, after all. However, given the little evidence we have, we must take this into account. Actors imbue the characters they play with snippets of their own personal lives to bring their performances to life and give them the sound of authenticity. While we can’t say for sure that Pratt imagines his Mario as a Christian, it’s at least plausible that he’s using his familiarity with the Christian faith to bring Mario into a more fully realized sense of humanity.
Finally, we must look at the behavior of Mario. Certainly, Mario displays many admirable qualities: courage in the face of long hardship, selfless concern for others, and identification with the working class, among others. While these are all beautiful traits you can find in many believers, they are not exactly exclusive to Christians. However, Mario is only human and therefore not quite perfect. We sadly note Mario’s willingness to invade another country and start wreaking havoc on citizens who certainly seem to be minding their own business. There are many historical examples of Christians performing similar harmful actions, but, again, these examples are not limited to faith. The evidence here is simply inconclusive anyway.
That said, Mario seems to co-exist with a dinosaur. It’s not a huge amount of evidence one way or the other. Interesting though.