My superpower would be procrastination, I'm sure. My review of 'Mystery Men'

What? I didn't have any silhouettes of superheroes.   

Mystery Men(1999)
Runtime:121 Min.
Directed by: Kinka Usher
Ben Stiller
Hank Azaria
William H. Macy
Paul Reubens
Tom Waits
Geoffrey Rush
Greg Kinnear
Janeane Garofalo
Eddie Izzard
Wes Studi

Synopsis-(from IMDb)

A group of inept amateur superheroes must try to save the day when a supervillian threatens to destroy a major superhero and the city. 

I LOVE this movie.  It may have not done particularly well at the box office( $33,461,011 domestically and internationally, against a budget of $68,000,000-source: Wikipedia, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the film. Far from it. It's a quirky little movie, with lots of fun moments, balanced with serious moments(even disturbing moments).  The movie is loosely  based on a series of comic books, 'Flaming Carrot Comics',published by Dark Horse Comics.

The movie is set in the fictional city of 'Champion City'.  It's a world that looks almost dystopian, with a little steampunk thrown in; check out the opening moments of the film, you can see dirigibles flying over the city.  Maybe there's even some Blade Runner-ish looks to the set.  I guess that's what appealed to me, firstly, because of the sets. It's all so beautiful and strange and dark.  Futuristic, while seeming to be in the present.  I would be happy to live there, at least. 'Specially if I can be a super-hero too. I mean, there's tons of wannabe heroes there, apparently, but overshadowed by the Alpha Hero, Captain Amazing- who really is in it for the recognition(and corporate promotions).  Captain Amazing is nothing but a dick, but a charming one(mostly). Greg Kinnear does a fine job as Amazing/Lance can see he must have had fun playing Captain Amazing.

And remember kids, you too can look less of a dick, after using this
Our heroes of the story(see what I did there?) Mr. Furious, The Blue Raja and the Shoveler try to live up to(and outdo) Captain Amazing, but never get it right, while Amazing always wins the day.  Of course Amazing is, as I said, only in it for the recognition, and is tired of not having anyone to fight that's worth fighting with. His publicist tells him Casanova Frankenstein is in the Asylum. Amazing remembers what a great nemesis he was...

Geoffrey Rush plays Casanova Frankenstein, and he does evil so well.  Especially during the confrontation scene a little later with Amazing.(Frankenstein was pronounced cured by Dr. Anabel Leek, and Amazing asked for him to be given a second chance-so naturally, he was let go).  Kinnear and Rush were having too much fun in that scene, I think.  You can see it in Rush's face, here:

Ah,the good old days, Lance. Walks in the park, murder, mayhem-all the good things we used to do together.

Geoffrey Rush is just awesome, you know? 

But it's our unlikely trio of Furious, The Shoveler and the Blue Raja that is the heart of this movie, and watching them go from a shoddy group to something spectacular will give you goosebumps.  And with the addition later of The Spleen, Invisible Boy, The Bowler and The Sphinx, they truly become "Super Heroes".

The sets are fantastic, as are the costumes. The storyline is great(only maybe dragging just a tad in spots), and there's enough action and comedy to satisfy. Ben Stiller is great as Furious, and hilarious. Frank Azaria is wonderful as the Blue Raja, and William H. Macy as The Shoveler will make you cheer him on. Paul Reubens is delightfully gross as The Spleen, Kel Mitchel is cute as the Invisible Boy, and Janeane Garofalo... um. Okay, y'all, I'm just gonna say this. There was one piece of miscasting in this movie and that was it, right there. There could have been, in my humble opinion, ANYONE better than Ms. Garofalo to play The Bowler. I am definitely not a fan of her's. And that's all I'm sayin'. Anyway,the rest of the cast, Tom Waits as Dr. Heller, Wes Studi as The Sphinx, Eddie Izzard as Tony P.,Claire Forlani as Monica, and the other supporting cast members--all were great. 

I highly recommend this movie, for its comedy, awesome characters and a storyline that will entertain. Oh and special mention goes to The Herkimer Battle Jitney, just because.

copyright Universal Pictures

  4 and 3/4 Stars!

Also, a bonus link: Here's an earlier draft script of the movie.  


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