Mystery Men (1999)

Mystery Men



Mr. Furious, the Shoveler, and the Blue Raja try to fight crime, but are never very successful. In the opening fight the three are losing a battle, but Captain Amazing arrives and saves the day. Disheartened, the group goes to a diner they frequent.

Meanwhile, Captain Amazing has ended so much crime in the city that his corporate sponsors don't want to advertise through him anymore. To keep the sponsorship he has his old archenemy, Casanova Frankenstein, released from the asylum. Frankenstein quickly recruits the Disco Boys and captures Captain Amazing. With Amazing out of the way he plans to destroy the city.

The three heroes decided that they must save Captain Amazing and save the city. They know they will need more heroes than just themselves. They hold auditions and end up recruiting Invisible Boy, Spleen, and the Bowler.

The new team infiltrates Casanova Frankenstein's lair for the first time. [spoiler: highlight to reveal] They try to save Captain Amazing, but accidentally kill him instead. [/spoiler] They run away.

Later, after fighting the Disco Boys, the heroes are lined up to be executed firing-squad style. The group is saved by the Sphinx. The Sphinx shows the group discipline and leadership. They create new costumes and obtain new non-lethal weapons.

The team then storms Casanova Frankenstein's lair for the final battle.


Mystery Men is one of those movies that flopped at the box office, but anyone who I mention it to seems to remember it. I can definitely see this as a cult movie. It's a superhero parody that is more or less a bunch of lampshade hanging done for laughs, much like Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was for James Bond movies.

There are two points in the movie that are full of cameos and throw away jokes. The first is during the hero auditions. In my conversations the most famous cameo is a minute long clip of Dane Cook as the Waffler. The second point is when Casanova Frankenstein throws the party. There are a couple of different theme gangs. The characters I went "No way!" about were Michael Bay in the Frat Boys and Cee Lo Green doing a short rap.

It feels like Mystery Men tried to use star power to make up for a lackluster parody plot, much like the sci-fi parody Mars Attacks!. Much of the movie is setup. Normally, this is not a bad thing and can give characters depth. However, there are so many characters in Mystery Men that it's 2 hour runtime is both long and not enough. It isn't long enough to go as deep as the movie seemingly wanted, but if it were any longer the movie would have dragged terribly.

Ultimately, Mystery Men is good for a rental if you have nothing else on your movie list. It's adequate for a viewing, but it's not good enough to watch more than once. Cameos and star power don't make a movie good or funny.

Final Verdict - 3/5