Mystery Men (1999)

With 2021 being poised to be the biggest year of comic book movies/shows ever, I wanted to revisit a film that was base don a comic book that kind of flew under the radar in the early days of the comic book movie renaissance. Mystery Men was based loosely on Dark Horse’s Flaming Carrot Comics.

A group of wannabe superheroes, Mister Furious (Ben Stiller), The Blue Raja (Hank Azaria) and The Shoveler (William H. Macy) are on the streets of Champion City doing their best. Unfortunately, their best has not been very good. A run-in with the local star superhero Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) at an old folks home made it even more obvious.

However, Captain Amazing had done such a great job of superheroing that crime was at an all time low and he was becoming bored. So Captain Amazing worked to get his old nemesis, Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush) released from the the insane asylum so he had an opponent to make headlines with. Casanova Frankenstein captured Captain Amazing and the villain planned on causing massive damage to the city.

Mister Furious saw Captain Amazing’s capture and he, along with his friends, recruited more super heroes, including Invisible Boy (Kel Mitchell), The Bowler (Janeane Garofalo), The Spleen (Paul Reubens) and the Sphinx (Wes Studi). Together the team had to overcome their internal strife in order to save the city.

There are a lot of really fun moments in this movie, which is filled with original characters that have great chemistry with one another. The reason this works so well is that the cast is clearly having a blast playing these off-the-wall characters. Reports indicated that several of the cast were given leeway to adlib their dialogue to add bits to their characters and, since there are several comedians in the cast, it worked pretty fluidly.

There were some shocking moments in the film as well, directly from the potentially incompetence of the heroes. Another example is the fact that The Bowler had her father’s (Carmine the Bowler) skull in her bowling ball. This was shown more clearer than the fate of Captain Amazing. The film has my respect for the risks that it took.

It is a fun and entertaining film that showcases its talent extremely well.

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