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Mystery Men

Mystery Men (1999)

August. 06,1999
| Adventure Fantasy Action Comedy

When Champion City's hero Captain Amazing is kidnapped by the recently paroled supervillain Casanova Frankenstein, a trio of average, everyday superheroes -- Mr. Furious, the Shoveler and the Blue Raja -- assemble a new super team to save him.


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The Mystery Men is my favorited and beloved superhero movie. I saw this movie somewhere in 2001 or 2003 and I've watched it many times over the years and it still remains a favorite of mine, due mostly to fond childhood memories. It's not a perfect movie, but it definitely deserves another look and perhaps a cult following to this movie.I always have my 90s nostalgia movies and look back at them just like The Fifth Element, Ghost In The Shell and The City Of Lost Children as good movies to watch over and over again just like The Mystery Men.STORY: In the metropolis of Champion City, the would-be superhero team of Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), the Shoveler (William H. Macy), and the Blue Raja (Hank Azaria) attempt to make a name for themselves, but their suspect skills make them ineffective, and they find themselves upstaged by the city's most successful superhero, Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear). However, Amazing is finding that his effectiveness at fighting crime has practically made his job obsolete, and without any worthy adversaries remaining (some of them are either dead, in exile, or still in jail), his corporate sponsors are beginning to pull their funding. To create a need for himself, Amazing uses his alter ego, billionaire lawyer Lance Hunt, to argue for the release of insane supervillain Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush). The plan backfires; once reunited with Tony P (Eddie Izzard) and his Disco Boys, Casanova Frankenstein blows up the insane asylum, captures Amazing, and prepares to unleash a doomsday device: the "Psycho-frakulator", which lethally bends reality. Mr. Furious, while spying on Casanova Frankenstein's mansion, discovers Amazing's capture and informs the others.After an unsuccessful rescue attempt, the three realize they need more allies, and through word-of-mouth and try-outs, they recruit Invisible Boy (Kel Mitchell), the Spleen (Paul Reubens), and the Bowler (Janeane Garofalo). The newly formed team "assaults" Casanova, which only succeeds in annoying him and damaging his car. While drunk from celebrating their victory, the team is nearly killed in retaliation by Tony P and the Disco Boys, but they are saved at the last minute by the Sphinx (Wes Studi). The Sphinx trains them, but his methods annoy Mr. Furious – he has them complete rote team-building exercises and speaks exclusively in Chiasmus. They also seek out mad scientist Doc Heller (Tom Waits), who specializes in non-lethal weaponry, to equip them for their battle.The group breaks into Casanova's mansion during a gathering of several of the city's gangs; but, while attempting to free Captain Amazing, they inadvertently set off the Psycho-frakulator, killing him instead. Without Amazing, the team despairs of saving the city, but the Shoveler delivers a pep-talk that succeeds in uniting and inspiring them.With new-found purpose, they assault the mansion and, by making effective use of their negligible superpowers and Heller's weapons, manage to subdue most of Casanova Frankenstein's henchmen. Unfortunately, as the heroes approach Casanova Frankenstein, he reveals that he is holding Mr. Furious' girlfriend Monica (Claire Forlani) hostage, and proceeds to activate the Psycho-frakulator, which begins to wreak havoc upon the city. While the team tries to stop the device, Mr. Furious takes on Casanova Frankenstein. After initially taking a beating, Mr. Furious unleashes his inner rage and manages to fight effectively for the first time. He defeats Casanova Frankenstein, who is thrown into the core of the Psycho-frakulator and killed by its reality-bending powers. The rest of the team helps The Bowler use her bowling ball to destroy the device and escape the mansion as it implodes.The team is interviewed by reporters, begging to know their team name. As they argue among themselves, one reporter states "Well, whatever you may call them, Champion City will forever owe a debt of gratitude to these 'Mystery Men'," but the others are too busy arguing to hear it.The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 60% based on 101 reviews; the consensus states: "Absurd characters and quirky gags are brought to life by a talented cast, providing this superhero spoof with lots of laughs." On Metacritic, the film has a 65/100 rating based on 24 critics, signifying "generally favorable reviews".Jonathan Romney said that it was "a desperately hit-and-miss affair". Michael Dequina of The Movie Report said that it "fails to come up with worthy gags and one-liners for the able cast." Steve Murray of Cox News Service gave it a negative review, saying "Mystery Men is like its hapless heroes. It's a wannabe that has the best intentions – including a pronounced anti-gun stance – but none of the knack it takes to save the day, or itself."British television channel Film4 gave it a positive review, saying it was "Hugely entertaining – especially for those with a thing for superheroes."I loved this movie at always in my 90s nostalgia side of me.I will give it AN BETTER MOVIE BESIDE THAT HORRIBLE SUICIDE SQUAD MOVIE out of 10.


When I was a kid I watched a lot of stupid movies not realizing how stupid they were then grew up and realized how stupid they were. For some of those movies, it totally ruined them. Matter- of-fact, for most of them it ruined them. For Mystery Men it only makes it better. As a kid watching this movie it felt good to see inadequate superheroes still trying to save the world and I related to that. As an adult, not only is this movie campy and stupid enough for me to still love, maybe even more than before, but also the message of inadequacy speaks even more to me. This movie is fantastic, but don't take it too seriously and let it take you where it takes you.

Neil Welch

Let me say that if you're not in tune with this movie, you're going to hate it.It tells the story of a group of super-heroes (in a world where some individuals are blessed with super-powers) whose powers are, to put it generously, extraordinarily lame. Fortunately, even though they do their best to help by banding together, their help is not needed because their city has a resident super-hero. Less fortunately, due to a mishap at their hands, he dies, and they have to come into their own to fight a super-villain.This delightfully loopy movie is blessed with a first rate cast. They play the material absolutely straight, and the movie is all the better for that (insofar as you can play straight the idea of someone who can turn invisible, but only when no-one is looking).I don't like the expression to "get" something. Nonetheless, I think it fits here - if you get Mystery Men, then you'll love it and, if you don't, you won't.


So in the metropolis known as Champion city one hero stands up to evildoers, putting a triumphant end to criminal activity while the population swoons at his every act. His name is Captain Amazing(Greg Kinear)...but he's not alone. On the sidelines are Mr. Furious, The Shoveler and The Blue Raja. 3 misfit superheroes played by Ben Stiller, William H. Macy and Hank Azaria. They try their damnedest to follow Captain Amazing's example and help in all the crime fighting. But when Captain Amazing is captured by the villain Casanova Frankenstein(Geoffrey Rush) it's up to the three of them to find and rescue him, recruiting help along the way, rounding out their team with The Bowler(Janeane Garofalo), The Spleen(Paul Reubens), Invisible Boy(Kel Mitchell), and the Sphinx(Wes Studi).This seemed like a hysterical premise for a movie and I was stoked back in 1999 to see it. As I recall I liked it but was maybe a little let down given my expectations. Apparently though I was alone in even that amount of praise. I remember at the time this movie getting a lot of flak, I had a couple of friends that out and out hated it. Maybe it was just unrealistic expectations from everybody given the film's stellar cast. Maybe the fact that it takes so many visual cue's from the Batman franchise(Burton and Schumacher alike), when people still had a bad taste in their mouth from 'Batman & Robin.' Maybe it's because superhero movies at that time were few and far between, so the references were just flying over people's heads...maybe if it had been released just a few years later things would've been different. Or maybe...just maybe it wasn't everyone's cup of tea. But it's my understanding that this film is finally starting to develop something of a cult following and I can see why.I just watched this movie again, more than ten years later and I loved every minute of it. What many might have considered to be dumb in it's original run is actually a very clever commentary on superhero conventions. Out characters are gifted with ridiculous powers and skills that in no way should amount to any kind of heroics, and yet somehow they do...an extreme take on the superheros we're actually meant to take seriously. They poke fun at secret identities and costumes...these guys are just as concerned with allying their super persona with coherent themed branding so they can be recognizable to potential fans.The movie is a parody on a genre that hadn't quite gotten its footing in the mainstream yet, and I'm sure that was its real downfall. Quite frankly with the A-list cast it should've been more financially successful regardless of the script, I just don't think many people quite knew what to make of it. If you were one of the many who was disappointed or in some way put off by this film back '99 I would recommend giving it a second shot. I never really hated it in the first place but my rating has definitely gone up and I've discovered a whole new appreciation for it. Beyond the plot which I've focused on in this review it is also quite well acted and directed and has some really stellar visuals in it...quite a feat of art direction as a matter of fact.