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on 10 September 2017
It’s hard to imagine a year go by where you don’t see someone in a latex body-stocking flying through the sky while buildings crumble all around them. Or, in other words, a superhero movie. Marvel’s dominance reigns supreme these days and DC does its best to mop up any gap in the filmic calendar year that Marvel don’t already have a stranglehold on. However, back in the ‘olden days’ of 1999, just dressing someone up in a silly costume wasn’t enough to guarantee a billion dollars at the Box Office. That’s probably why ‘Mystery Men’ never really made much of an impact back then and only really fills a niche gap in the market today. We’re introduced to a world of superheroes, or rather ONE superhero – the unsubtly-titled ‘Captain Amazing’ – a man who has dedicated his life to protecting the city from wrong-doers and has therefore enjoyed all the lucrative benefits that come with it, i.e. corporate sponsorship and women. In fact, he’s protected the city so well that there’s hardly a super villain left worthy enough to take him on. So, while he spends much of his time as his (completely unrecognisable, glasses-wearing) alter-ego, it’s up to another band of ‘heroes’ to mop up the few thieves still daring to snatch old ladies’ purses. However, these heroes are anything but ‘super.’ Their ‘powers’ are unusual at best. We have a man who gets angry to the point of, er, being very angry. A man who puts on a fake British accent while he throws forks and a guy who hits people with a shovel. Not a Batarang to be seen among them!

Nowadays, when you look at the cast of ‘Mystery Men’ it almost reads like a who’s who of Hollywood. Yet, back then all the stars seemed to be faces who you kind of knew because you’d seen them before in… oh, you know… it was him out of that thing on TV. You have Ben Stiller, William H Macy, Greg Kinnear, Eddie Izzard and Geoffrey Rush to name but a few. It’s a pretty impressive ensemble, so I always wondered why it was never bigger than it seemed to be. I guess at the time people may have thought it was a superhero movie and, due to the public seemingly thinking that all superhero movies were like ‘Batman and Robin’ they stayed away, plus Ben Stiller’s star hadn’t quite peaked back then, so it couldn’t ride on his future post ‘Something About Mary’ popularity. Plus it might be difficult to market, as, on first inspection, you could be mistaken for thinking it was a ‘proper’ superhero film, i.e. complete with giant budget and epic action set-pieces. Then again, if you look closely at the silly costumes and the fact that one woman is using the skull of her father inside a ‘magic’ bowling ball as a weapon, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a straight comedy. However, again, it may have many funny moments, but you wouldn’t call it a ‘laugh-a-minute’ ride.

‘Mystery Men’ is one of those films that dips in and out of various genres. Personally, I’d call it a ‘satire of the superhero genre.’ Now, I enjoy both DC and Marvel’s current crops so I like to think I’m well up on the various conventions and clichés associated with the genre. Therefore, when I watch ‘Mystery Men’ I can appreciate how much work has gone into lampooning it. However, when it was released the genre it was parodying wasn’t established enough to really sell this movie. If you’re looking for something that takes a satirical, yet loving, swipe at all things superhero-related, then you should definitely check this out. Don’t expect total action. Don’t expect outright comedy. Expect a subtle blend of the two. If you’ve ever read the cult comic ‘Astro City’ you’ll know the tone of this film.
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on 7 June 2017
It's a lot of refreshing fun to watch this movie, as it both celebrates superhero movie conventions, while also playfully mocking the genre. Everyone involved in the huge production obviously had a ball making the movie and the legendary Paul Ruebens steals every scene he's in as the hilarious 'Spleen. The picture quality and Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is good on this DVD, on the extras front you also get a director's commentary, a short making-of, deleted scenes and a trailer. Great fun from beginning to end.
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on 13 May 2017
Entertaining film with a stellar cast and enough laughs to keep me watching but it does have the feel of a spoof B-movie. Don't expect oscar-winning quality and you won't be disappointed. Worth the price for watching Ben Stiller trying to do a cool exit in his motorbike.
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on 28 April 2017
Good film
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on 11 August 2017
Very good
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on 29 March 2017
Got to be one of the best superhero/zero films ever made. 😝😝😀
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Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) is the hero of Champion City, but when he’s kidnapped by the evil Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush), a ragtag team of wannabe superheroes must rise to the occasion and thwart Casanova’s plan before it’s too late. That is, if they don’t screw things up first.

If there ever was a Seinfeld of superhero movies, this would be it. What I mean is, it’s a blend of everyday people doing super stuff while still dealing with the mundane of everyday life. The humor is overt in some places ala Kramer, and utterly-subtle-yet-brilliant in others (i.e. When the Shoveler hosts a superhero recruitment party in his backyard, his wife tells him she’ll divorce him if one person vomits in their pool and he replies deadpan: “That’s fair.”).

This movie was a strange hybrid of wannabe-superheroes-from-our-world living in a comic book world. Normally, those two “realities” don’t collide in superhero stories, but they did here and thus became the crux of the story: guys and girls who want to be heroes but don’t have the chops to cut it in a reality where you need to be super to survive.

At the same time, Mystery Men was meant to be a comedy as the rogues gallery were very ’60s Batman: the Frat Boys, the Disco Boys, the Suits, and others. Strangely, they were led by a leader who was much more competent and had the smarts to devise a plausible plan to take over the city.

As a comic book and superhero fan, I appreciated the nods to comicdom and its characters, namely when they discuss how Lance Hunt couldn’t be Captain Amazing because: “Lance Hunt wears glasses, Captain Amazing doesn’t wear glasses.” Nice commentary on the how-does-anyone-not-know-Clark-Kent-is-Superman debate.

The casting is perfect. Ben Stiller as Mr. Furious, William H. Macy as the Shoveler, Paul Reubens as the Spleen, Janeane Garofalo as the Bowler, Hank Azaria as the Blue Raja, Kel Mitchell as Invisible Boy and Wes Studi as the Sphinx. They all played it straight, which was what sold it given that they’re really ridiculous characters—farting as a superpower?—and made you feel for these guys and cheer them on as they bumbled their way through their adventure.

I’ve said it before that I like lighthearted superhero movies, and what makes this one work is that while it’s a comedy, it’s not a parody like Superhero Movie, for example. It’s just simply fun.

And fun is good.

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on 10 September 2011
Having seen the rave reviews about this film I thought I'd give it a go, as a 30 something adult I ended up asking myself what on earth was this garbage, I felt embarrassed watching it. For all it's childish entertainment value it really is made for kids in mind only, it's just plain stupid. If you've got children of about 8-10 year old they'll love it - pure mindless slapstick with tonnes of action ! Also if you are thinking of buying it get the Region 1 version and not uk version as it's cut.
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on 15 June 2004
Mystery Men is the kind of joyful rubbish that Hollywood too rarely allows itself to make. I mean "rubbish" in the sense that this film will not morally elevate or uplift you in any way apart from making you laugh until you choke.
Champion City has been all but cleared of crime by the phenomenally skilled and heavily corporate-sponsored Captain Amazing, with the result that your average working stiff of a superhero has to work hard to make any sort of a difference. The story begins with three such stiffs: The Shoveller (imagine William H. Macy's self-deprecating little twitch as he admits "We fight crime, call it what you will"), the Blue Rajah (Hank Azaria with a pukka British accent - he throws forks and spoons at his enemies but refuses to throw knives because "my name's not Stab Man or Knifey Boy, it's the Blue Rajah") and Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller - he goes into an impressive murderous smoulder and then basically jumps up and down a lot and yells). Roundly defeated when they attempt to break up a robbery in an old folks' home, they are further humiliated when Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) finishes the job, takes the credit and treats them like wannabes.
Amazing himself is frustrated with the lack of newsworthy challenges; it's starting to affect his sponsorship deals, so in his secret identity as billionaire Lance Hunt (only Mr. Furious thinks they look alike; as the Shoveller wearily points out "Look, Lance Hunt wears glasses, Captain Amazing doesn't - how can he fight crime? He wouldn't be able to see!") he arranges the release from the lunatic asylum of notorious supervillain and flakeroo Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush, chewing the scenery with gusto). Casanova promptly blows up the asylum, kidnaps the Captain and tells him to prepare to die ("Yeah, see, that's the part I have a problem with" says a pinioned and sweating Amazing, like a studio executive about to be fired.) Fortunately, however, Mr. Furious has witnessed the kidnap, and he persuades his team to swing into action. But will they be able to get past Casanova's bodyguards, the ruthless but exceptionally groovy Disco Boys? ("You have GUNS?" says an incredulous Stiller to an advancing Disco Boy. "THAT's your power? Not even, like, a gold chain or something?") Well, no they won't, and after a nasty beating they set about recruiting some more manpower. But will they actually manage to rescue the Captain? Probably not.
This deeply silly movie has so many idiotic pleasures that I wish I could just tell you the whole plot, but I won't. The cast is stunning; witness Janeane Garofalo as The Bowler, an abrasive young woman whose lethal bowling ball is moulded around her father's skull ("You made a bowling ball out of your dad's head?" "No. The guy at the pro shop did it.") Clare Forlani is great as Stiller's wonderfully uninterested love interest ("Sorry about yesterday. I guess I can come across pretty threatening," he says, in a hamfisted attempt at flirting. "I don't find you threatening," she replies. "Oh," he says, his swagger minutely deflated. "At all," she adds.) Wes Studi sends up his Last-of-the-Mohicans charisma as The Sphinx ("He can, like, cut guns in half with his mind," breathes the Shoveller), a motivational guru who takes our heroes in hand and trains them with a mixture of knitting, battle practice and trite little slogans. "Why am I balancing a tack hammer on my head?" asks an impatient Mr. Furious. "He who balances a tack hammer on his head will always go ahead with a balanced attack," replies the Sphinx.
Geoffrey Rush maybe gets the statuette for his delirious Casanova Frankenstein. You can see him enjoying himself, licking his lips and savouring his fake German accent, recovering from each setback with camp sang-froid; as the Mystery Men push home their attack on his lair, he calls a retreat and urges his men to "Focus, people, focus!" like a demented theatre director. Nice to see Paul Reubens on flying form; the Spleen has one of those lisps that you need wet weather gear to protect yourself from, and I liked his charmingly naive way of greeting people: "I'm the Spleen, if you wanna know what my power is, pull my finger." Even Louise Lasser pops up as the Blue Rajah's long-suffering mother. There is much more to enjoy in this movie, provided you aren't looking for solemnity, depth or human dignity of any kind. I don't suppose there will ever be a Mystery Men 2 (More Mysterious), since this thing flopped on theatrical release. Pity. It's worth the last three Star Wars movies put together, and I include "Return of the Jedi" in that.
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on 15 September 2008
Mystery Men is one of the few comedy movies that can actually make me laugh. Briefly, the movie follows the mis-adventures of a group of wannabe superheroes, who find that they've maybe bitten off a little more than they can chew when they try to rescue Champion City's ace superhero, Captain Amazing, from the clutches of the notorious Casanova Frankenstein. In the ensuing confusion, Captain Amazing is killed and the Mystery Men are suddenly Champion City's only hope of survival ....

The Mystery Men are an eclectic bunch of lovable misfits, whose only true superpower seems to be an ability to cause mayhem and confusion wherever they go! After their initial run-in with Casanova Frankenstein, the founding members of the team - Mr Furious, who's power comes from his boundless rage, The Shoveller, expert in the use of the shovel and the occasional trowel, and The Blue Raja, who flings forks and spoons - decide they need some extra firepower and quickly recruit new members The Spleen, cursed with flatulence, The Bowler, who wields a bowling ball possessed by the spirit of her dead father, The Sphinx, who cuts guns in half with his mind (and is terribly mysterious!) and The Invisible Boy, who can only turn invisible when no one is looking! Aided and abetted by Heller, designer of non-lethal weapons, the group take on the might of Casanova Frankenstein and his fiendish henchmen, with hilarious results!

The movie is funnier than a barrel full of monkeys, with some nice touches, such as Mr Furious trying to convince his team-mates that Captain Amazing and Lance Hunt are one and the same. "Don't be silly!" replies The Shoveller. "Lance wears glasses. Captain Amazing doesn't wear glasses. He wouldn't be able to see!"

It's clear that everyone had a great time while making this movie, and this exuberance flows wonderfully through the entire film, drawing us into this madcap world. Ben Stiller once again proves that comedies are his forte and puts in another effortless performance as Mr Furious. William H. Macy aka The Shoveller, plays it straight and serious, and comes across all the more funnier because of it. And Hank Azaria, The Blue Raja, affecting an hillarious English accent, steals the show!

Forget Superman, forget Batman - if you're feeling blue and in the mood for something quirky, then look no further than The Mystery Men! "Zai Gazunt!"
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