The Super Mario Bros. Movie shines Princess Peach in a positive light for once

Positive representation of female characters can uplift young women

Princess Peach in The Super Mario Bros. Movie demonstrates positive female representation and stays away from the storyline she had in the past. (Nintendo and Universal Studios @2023)

Princess Peach in The Super Mario Bros. Movie demonstrates positive female representation and stays away from the storyline she had in the past. (Nintendo and Universal Studios @2023)

When I heard there was going to be a Super Mario Bros. Movie last year, I couldn’t wait for it to come out. Mario was a big part of my childhood as I played the games on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) with my parents, Mario Kart on the Wii with my younger brother, and still play the newest games when I can on the Nintendo Switch. 

However, there was always one problem I had with the storyline in the games; Princess Peach, who is usually the main female character in the games, always needs to be rescued by Mario from Bowser, the main antagonist. 

This storyline is not unique to Mario as it is seen in many fairy tales and Disney movies like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Before seeing the movie in theatres, I was worried Princess Peach was going to be depicted as the damsel in distress. 

Nevertheless, Princess Peach wasn’t shown this way at all, but the complete opposite. She was depicted as a fighter, leader, and quick witted, which are qualities we usually don’t get to see in the games. 

In the movie, Luigi, Mario’s brother, needs to be saved as he accidentally splits from Mario to Bowser’s Kingdom when they discover pipes in an underground sewer in Brooklyn, New York. 

Mario enters the Mushroom Kingdom and talks to Toad, who happens to be Princess Peach’s attendant, and helps Mario ask her for help to save Luigi. 

As Princess Peach is dealing with her own issues with Bowser, like him trying to take over the Mushroom Kingdom and asking her to marry him, she makes Mario complete a complex obstacle course before letting him tag along on the journey. Throughout the movie, she teaches Mario how to fight and move around effectively. 

Having Princess Peach show Mario how to fight shows her capabilities, especially as leader of a kingdom, and that women can not only be resilient, but save themselves when in tough situations. This is not to say that people don’t ever need help, but that a woman doesn’t always need to be saved. 

Later on in the movie, Princess Peach, Mario, and their team are on the iconic Rainbow Road, heading to Bowser’s kingdom to save Luigi. During this scene, Princess Peach sees Toad fall off the road and graciously saves him. Showing women in this light demonstrates that they can also be the hero, and gives viewers a chance to really see what Princess Peach is capable of in a way we haven’t seen before. 

She also has excellent leadership skills as she helps create an alliance with the Kongs from Donkey Kong’s kingdom and isn’t afraid to take action to protect the Mushroom Kingdom. She also demonstrates intelligence by developing a creative plan to save Luigi from Bowser by tricking him to marry her while also getting the Power Star to protect not just her universe, but others. 

Whether it’s fighting off bad guys, using an Ice Flower, or thinking creatively, there’s nothing Princess Peach can’t do. 

Viewers also had the opportunity to see her backstory, which was barely touched on in previous games or movies. By learning that she’s been in the Mushroom Kingdom since a baby and the Toads raised her, it gives viewers the emotional connection to Princess Peach and understanding who she is today as princess of the Kingdom. 

The Super Mario Bros. Movie did a great job at depicting Princess Peach in a positive light and staying far away from the damsel in distress characters that we often see in the media. Princess Peach’s positive light shows children and young adults that they can be a badass princess too and not just someone who needs to be saved. I am looking forward to seeing what Princess Peach does in the second movie.