Mystery Men - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mystery Men Reviews

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½ January 11, 2018
This movie was fun and under rated. Give it a chance, its fun!
½ January 1, 2018
(First viewing - Late Summer 1999 in theaters)
December 27, 2017
I'm a huge fan of comic book writer/artist Bob Burden. The Flaming Carrot by Burden remains my favorite comic of all-time. The Mystery Men was a spinoff series from The Flaming Carrot, about a league of second tier super heroes of which The Carrot was a member. The story concept of wannabe superheroes and villains is ripe for comedy, since self-serious comic book movies are ripe for satire, but what ends up on screen here sadly is not all that funny or biting. The humor of the comic books were decidedly absurdist and wildly funny if you appreciate that sense of humor, but the humor of the film is much more conventional and revolves more around silly super powers, purposefully corny dialogue, and fart jokes. The film is only made watchable by virtue of it's stellar cast (William H. Macy as The Shoveler, Hank Azaria as Blue Raja, Janeane Garofalo as The Bowler, Paul Reubens as The Spleen Ben Stiller as Mr. Furious, Wes Studi as The Sphinx, Geoffrey Rush as Casanova Frankenstein, Lena Olin as Dr. Anabel Leek, Eddie Izzard as Tony P, Artie Lange as Big Red, Claire Forlani as Monica, Tom Waits as Doc Heller, Louise Lasser as Violet, Ricky Jay as Vic Weems, Dane Cook as The Waffler, Doug Jones as Pencilhead, Dana Gould as Squeegeeman). Greg Kinnear also appears in the film as the one top tier superhero, Captain Amazing, who when he is captured by villains, the Mystery Men have to step up to save him and Champion City. The film also includes odd cameos and bit parts by Michael Bay, Mark Mothersbaugh, Riki Rachtman, CeeLo Green, Jody Watley,, Doug Jones, and Dana Gould. The film was (over) directed by commercial director Kinka Usher, who has since directed no other feature films, but I think a majority of the film's failure lies with the script by Neil Cuthbert, who's other writing credits include the notable Eddie Murphy bomb, "The Adventures of Pluto Nash." According to IMDB, Danny DeVito was at one point set to direct and star as The Shoveller, and I can't help but think DeVito would have embraced the absurdist humor of the source material and would have consequentially made a much better film. Instead, we're left with a barely watchable comedy that feels like a sadly missed opportunity. If you do want a GOOD comedy about second tier superheroes, watch James Gunn's underrated "The Specials" or his darker superhero comedy "Super" instead.
½ November 29, 2017
Mystery Men should not be hyped too much, it's a sleeper. You got your classic superhero coming-of-age buddy-cop-ensemble here. It's funny and has The Shoveler. The. Shoveler.
November 29, 2017
This is one of the most underrated movie of all time. A must see.
November 4, 2017
Hands down one of our favorite movies...
June 12, 2017
Before the MCU and DCEU, there was this movie. It subverts a lot of classic superhero tropes. It's a good mix of comedy and action. If you're looking for something that will entertain you for a couple of hours, this one is worth checking out.
May 10, 2017
a bit cheesy, but, still funny and entertaining
April 1, 2017
When I first saw it, I thought it was pretty much the coolest film ever. Nearly 20 years later, the humor hasn't aged well, but the characters are still compelling.
½ December 23, 2016
some funny parts but mainly stupid
August 16, 2016
I love this smart comedy that knows its material! This is such a wonderful, funny, quotable movie, with characters that I can't help but fall in love with and amazing performances across the board.
½ August 10, 2016
really dumb random crude not worth ur time
½ August 2, 2016
Thanks to T-Mobile I'm going to see Suicide Squad this Friday! #tmobiletuesdays
½ July 17, 2016
Honestly the worst movie ever made. If someone punched me in the face, then made me rewatch this movie, I'd be more upset about the movie than the face-punch."
July 13, 2016
I am into a variety of comedies and I really love watching films that have a bunch of odditites. I also love the fact that this has a big cast, especially Ben Stiller and Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, which I have enjoyed since I was a kid). I don't care for Janeane Garofalo due to her cockiness, I love her character though. Ben Stiller's performance was comical. Same goes for Mr. Hank Azaria and the others. I didn't have any problems with this film and I just consider this one of my all time, if not ALL TIME favorite underrated films of the 1990s. The laughs don't end and is just perfect for anyone who loves comedy. 5 stars and a thumbs up!
June 28, 2016
Underpowered as far as superhero movies go, but by far it makes up for it with likeable and sympathetic protagonists - even Stiller, who often portrays very grating characters. Azaria, Macy, Garofalo, and Mitchell are outstanding, as are Studi and Forlani, who are both among the most underrated big screen actors in the field.
April 30, 2016
Absolute favorite movie. Beyond brilliant.
½ March 2, 2016
Not as good as my 12yr old self recalled it to be
½ February 25, 2016
Considered a cult classic of underappreciated superhero films, Mystery Men's ensemble cast offered enticing value.

Coming from the late 1990's, Mystery Men comes from an era where superhero films were in a state of serious decline due to the failures of big-budget productions such as The Shadow (1994) and The Phantom (1996). Even the Batman quadrilogy (1989-1997) was put to an end due to the abysmal critical response to Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin (1997). And though Blade (1998) had sparked returning interest in the genre at that point, the full extent of the film's success was yet to be fully capitalized on. The lack of interest in the superhero genre is a clear factor contributing to the poor box office performance of Mystery Men, but on top of that it's also a generally inconsistent film.
It's clear from the intro that Mystery Men's universe is inspired by the Batman quadrilogy. The feature begins with a tracking shot over Champion City which reveals a big spectacle of darkness and city lights, much like Tim Burton's vision for Gotham City in Batman (1989). This means that Mystery Men captures rather colourful production design with plenty of glowing lights, even if much of the feature plays out underneath a lot of shadow. The musical score on behalf of Stephen Warbeck helps to evoke a larger scale feeling which matches up to this feeling as well. However, none of this paves the way for any great action. There is a modicum of half-decent action-themed sketches in the climax of the film, but up until then there is really nothing which leaves the jokes to carry everything up until then. And if viewers can't appreciate the style of humour then Mystery Men ends up being essentially a long experience which just drags on. For me, that's very much what is was.
Being a big-budget production, Mystery Men clearly wishes to be a clever parody of superhero films with enough stylish flair to offer a modicum of the blockbuster value synonymous with the genre it parodies. Unfortunately, the story is ultimately taken too seriously while the gags are too silly to match up to things, creating a stiff tonal inconsistency. But nobody cares about the story as it is intentionally generic and the film is intended as a comedy, so the value lies in the extent of laughs it is capable of procuring.
One of the central problems is the pacing. Mystery Men progresses at a rate far too slow for its own good, and this is a particular problem for a film which is both a comedy and a superhero film. The film gets too distracted by its large number of main actors that it turns into a long period of sketchers surrounding multiple strange characters, making the narrative into a directionless series of absurdist gags with inconsistent comedic results. This repetitive structure plays out against the backdrop of a genertic story which lacks any character development or much original satire, leaving it to become obsolete. Clearly, there is not all that much genuine narrative strength in Mystery Men, and though this is ignored so that the film can stretch on for a two-hour period, the lack of genuine intelligence in the humour ends up stretching little source material on for far too long.
Mystery Men is less of a superhero satire and more of a big-budget vehicle for an ensemble cast of comedians and actors. Alas, the characters of Mystery Men don't end up maintaining any kind of iconography but rather end up one-dimensional jokes and archetypes which circulate in the same comic material, failing to emphasize the true extent of comic talents maintained by the ensemble cast.
Ben Stiller's performance shows him oscillating between monotony and intentionally pretentious imitations of anger. His superpower apparently appears to be throwing tantrums which replicate epileptic seizures more than anything else. This is intended to be a humourous fašade for Ben Stiller's neurotic archetype which he has played in countless films, but it's hardly enough to rise above the low standard set by his many preceding performances. The film doesn't even carry the appropriate lighthearted comic material to embrace the natural charms of the actor since it is too serious for his own good. Ben Stiller proves to be of no comic or dramatic foil in Mystery Men.
Hank Azaria's shtick in Mystery Men is composed of him dressed like someone from Arabian nights and talking with an over-the-top British accent used to deliver too many repetitive cutlery puns. The ridiculous extent of intentional cheesiness and stupidity in this gimmick may provide laughs in spots, but as a whole it grows tiresome very quickly and becomes simply a loud annoyance. It looks like he has fun with the part and his energy definitely offers some moments of flair, but it is too much of a one-dimensional joke without any depth of versatility to it. Hank Azaria is nothing special in Mystery Men.
William H. Macy is given too little screen time and a role which seems too serious to match the ridiculous humourous nature of the rest of the film, failing to utilize his charms. And Paul Reubens' lisp is a repetitive and annoying burden on the entire film. It's astounding that after this many years nobody has figured out that a lisp does not make a character any funnier but procures little more than annoyance, even when it comes from Pee-Wee.
Janeane Garafolo is given an oddball role which she takes seriously enough to bring some sporadic laughs in, but they can be inconsistent. There are few actors who have much lasting appeal, but Greg Kinnear is one of them. Greg Kinner's small supporting effort as Captain Amazing is a nice touch because he carries the appropriate handsome appeal and larger-than-life egotism for the role. And since Geoffrey Rush is a respected actor who recently won the Academy Award for Best Actor, the ridiculously unserious nature of his effort in Mystery Men carries a nice contrast.

Mystery Men carries strong ambition and some colourful set pieces, but too distracted by its large cast to actually do anything with them, it ultimately drags them through a slow and overly long feature with an inconsistent balance between thin humour and non-compelling drama.
½ February 1, 2016
Basically unwatchable and dated.
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