movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

Mystery Men

 (PG)
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  Mystery Men Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
 
Average Rating
6.00 /10
 
Starring
Casanova Frankenstein: Geoffrey Rush, Captain Amazing:Greg Kinnear, Blue Raja:Hank Azaria
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: Kinka Usher
Written by: Neil Cuthbert. Based on the Dark Horse Comic Book Series created by Bob Burden.

 
 
 
Released: 1999
   
Genre: ACTION
COMIC STRIP
COMEDY
   
Origin: US
   
Colour: C
   
Length: 111
 
 


 
A futuristic American metropolis, Champion City, has superheroes like Tony Blair attracts cronies, but one of these superheroes - a smarmy all-American called Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) is such a success that he has cornered the market in commercial sponsorship and obliterated or incarcerated all the leading supervillains. The only way for him now is down. So he has the none-too-bright idea of setting free the maddest, most evil supervillain of them all, Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush) , so that he can capture him all over again. The trouble is that Captain Amazing is so dumb and arrogant that he gets himself held prisoner - and the only people who can rescue him are some pathetically inadequate, wannabe superheroes. One is the Blue Raja (Hank Azaria, pictured), a mother-dominated middle-aged man who throws cutlery at people. Another is The Shoveller (William H. Macy) who hits people with a spade. A third is Mr Furious (Ben Stiller) who finds it difficult to control his anger, especially when The Shoveller accidentally hits him in the face with a spade.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Mystery Men has moments of inspired goofiness, and is based on a clever and original premise. A futuristic American metropolis, Champion City, has superheroes like Tony Blair attracts cronies, but one of these superheroes - a smarmy all-American called Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) is such a success that he has cornered the market in commercial sponsorship and obliterated or incarcerated all the leading supervillains. The only way for him now is down.

So he has the none-too-bright idea of setting free the maddest, most evil supervillain of them all, Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush) , so that he can capture him all over again. The trouble is that Captain Amazing is so dumb and arrogant that he gets himself held prisoner - and the only people who can rescue him are some pathetically inadequate, wannabe superheroes.

One is the Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), a mother-dominated middle-aged man who throws cutlery at people. Another is The Shoveller (William H. Macy) who hits people with a spade. A third is Mr Furious (Ben Stiller) who finds it difficult to control his anger, especially when The Shoveller accidentally hits him in the face with a spade.

Mystery Men has a great ear for comic-book cliches, a fine array of actors (Janeane Garofalo, Wes Studi and Paul Reubens turn up in relatively minor roles) and a genuinely original, ironic take on pop culture. It looks as though the cast had a lot of fun making it.

But only William H. Macy has an endearing or interestingly developed character, and Geoffrey Rush's supervillain has criminally little to do. No one has bothered to organise the large number of bright ideas into a coherent script, or decided whether the film is aimed at children or adults.

An unnecessary abundance of four-letter words and sexual references make it unsuitable for younger children; while incoherent plotting by Neil Cuthbert and over-emphatic direction by commercials director Kinka Usher will wreck it for most adults. With another few drafts of the screenplay and a more experienced director, this might have had the same appeal across the generations as Ghostbusters and Men in Black. As it is, it's a talented failure.


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