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Mystery Men  

Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller)
The Blue Raja (Hank Azaria)
Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear)
Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush)
The Shoveler (William H. Macy)
The Bowler (Janeane Garofalo)
The Spleen (Paul Reubens)
Invisible Boy (Kel Mitchell)
Sphinx (Wes Studi)
Dr. Heller (Tom Waits)
Tony C (Pras)
Directed by Kinka Usher Written by Neil Cuthbert, based on the Dark Horse comic book series created by Bob Burden.
Rated PG-13 for comic action violence and crude humor
Running Time: 111 minutes Distributed by Universal
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Mystery Men is a hilarious comic book movie that is aimed at making fun of superheroes. The citizens of Champion City are in fear. Captain Amazing (Kinnear), the city's own Superman, has been captured by his arch evil enemy Casanova Frankenstein (Rush). Frankenstein intends on killing Captain Amazing and destroying Champion City. But hold on, a team of wannabe superheroes have banned together to make a name for themselves by saving the day. The group includes; Mr. Furious (Stiller), who is a hot tempered human bomb waiting to go off, The Shoveler (Macy), whose gift is being handing with the shovel, The Blue Raja (Azaria), who throws forks, The Bowler (Garafolo), who whips a bowling ball that has her dead father's skull in it, The Spleen (Reubens), whose power is his deadly gas, Invisible Boy (Mitchell), who can only turn invisible when no one is looking at him, and finally Sphinx (Studi), who is the mentor of the bunch. The team bonds together after many comedic and action sequences to take on Frankenstein and save the day.

This film is really unique and just nuts. Just the thought of having a film that makes fun of all the things that are cheesy about superheroes is great. Mystery Men has so many inside jokes of making fun of past superheroes like Superman, Incredible Hulk, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The characters are carefully developed to form the group of underdog superheroes.

Mystery Men, which is based off it's own comic book, reminded me a lot of 1990's Dick Tracy with Warren Beatty. Dick Tracy was also a cheesy comic strip film that had brilliant color and art direction. Mystery Men has a more dark approach as far as color goes, but like Dick Tracy it is so corny, but entertaining.

Just certain little quirks about the characters are what make the movie click. An example is that Captain Amazing has his own publicist and endorsements patched all over him like a race car driver's uniform. Also Sphinx's character is seems structured like Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a knowledgeable master that hardly fights and says motivational phrases that don't make sense. Sphinx's is terrific.

Mystery Men has a stellar cast. From Oscar nominees like Geoffrey Rush, William H. Macy, and Greg Kinnear to upcoming stars like Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, and Janeane Garafolo to one comeback Paul Reubens. The ensemble cast works well in Mystery Men. Every actor does a fine job with the exception of Kel Mitchell as Invisible Boy, I just found him so weak and out of place. However, I enjoyed seeing Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-Wee Herman, back in a movie. Reubens knows he did a sick and embarrassing thing, let's give him another shot and let him start entertaining us again.

The direction in Mystery Men was a blend of nice sets, color, and lighting. Mystery Men is Kinka Usher's first directed feature film, he has previously directed many commercials including the "Yo Quiero" Taco Bell commercial.

Mystery Men is a funny movie, but see it with an open state of mind. If you are looking for a greatly written movie or an action extravaganza, you will think the film is stupid. However, it is stupid, it is suppose to be stupid, that is why is so funny. It will refresh memories of old superheroes and will deliver a new group of superheroes, the Mystery Men.

Report Card Grade: B-

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