Mystery Men: The Superhero Film That Will Never Truly Die

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love superhero films! I’ve always been a huge fan of superheroes and I dig it when I can sit down and enjoy something with masked vigilantes in it! Of course, we’ve gotten to a point where there are TOO MANY superhero films. At least 8-10 are pumped out on a yearly basis by many different studios. It’s gotten pretty ridiculous, but it wasn’t always this way.

In fact, superhero films were floundering quite a bit in the 90s. Audiences found the cheesy concepts of these superhero films to be a bit too much to handle and this resulted in a lot of said films floundering in the box-office. Today’s subject is no different, since it’s yet another victim of the general audience’s disinterest with superhero films in the 90s. So, let’s talk about “Mystery Men”, the best superhero film that nobody saw.

Let’s flashback to 1999, a time when cinema was in an awkward transition period. Big budget blockbusters had become a mainstay and everyone was lining up to see films like “The Sixth Sense”, “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me”, and “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace”.

During the summer was when we got a truly interesting and underappreciated film, the aforementioned “Mystery Men”. Mystery Men told the story of a bunch of loser superheroes with lame powers, all of whom had very little skill in fighting crime. The original team consisted of Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), The Shoveler (William H. Macy), and The Blue Raja (played by Hank Azaria).

The film revolves around these three heroes forming a larger team filled with other lame superheroes, all so they can stop an evil villain named “Casanova Frankenstein”. I always dug “underdog stories”, especially when said underdogs are incompetent. The film shows these heroes stepping up and learning how to work better as a team, while also honing their bizarre super-powers.

Oh right, I forgot to mention their powers! This film features some of the most ridiculous super-powers of all time. For example, Blue Raja is literally just Bullseye from Marvel’s Daredevil comics, but he throws kitchen utensils instead of ninja stars. There’s also “Invisible Boy”, who can only turn invisible when nobody’s looking.

These powers and abilities definitely made these heroes stand out, while also painting them as rather goofy caricatures of classic superhero stereotypes. In fact, parodying superhero cliches is what this film does best! One notable scene in the film involved an argument about whether or not wearing glasses can disguise a superhero, which was a good knock against classic Superman stories.

I also dig how the film combines a futuristic sci-fi setting with a more mundane and modern (at least for 1999) setting. This world has high-tech gadgets and a city of the future, but people still listen to disco and Smash-Mouth. To be fair, who doesn’t listen to Smash-Mouth?

The film had a pretty basic story, but the silly and zany characters peppered throughout made up for it. While the effects and costumes may not have aged super well, it’s still a fun watch for any fan of superhero films. While I do enjoy this film, I was always annoyed that it flopped in theaters.

People just were not interested in another superhero film, especially one that reminded them of “Batman & Robin”. That being said, Mystery Men is still a fantastic film and is considered a cult classic by many people. Heck, the film even gets screenings at the “Alamo Drafthouse”!

I feel Mystery Men is a film worth watching. It’s some good light-hearted fun and is generally a good watch. Sure, it’s not on the same levels as Deadpool or Spiderman films, but it’s still great! If you’re looking for a fun Ben Stiller superhero comedy, then this is your film!

The Long-Awaited Venom Movie Review

Well, looks like I just got with the “Venom”! For those of you who don’t know, Venom was a superhero/super-antihero film released last year. The film was based off the Spider-Man villain, “Venom”, in a brand new universe that didn’t feature Spidey at all. Despite the lack of Spidey, the film did surprisingly well and made a crap ton of cash! It set box-office records for the month of October and did well enough to garner a large fan-base.

So, why did it take me so long to see Venom? After all, the film is nearly 10 months old at this point! Well, my friend and I tried to see it, but the theater was packed. We couldn’t get in, so we were forced to go home. As a result, I never got to see the film. While it did eventually come to DVD and Blu-Ray, I neglected that release as well. I just didn’t feel like paying 20 bucks for a cheesy superhero action flick.

It was finally released on Crave TV not too long ago, which is when I finally took the plunge and watched it. So, what did I think of it? In my opinion, Venom is one of the most amazingly stupid and entertaining films I’ve seen in quite some time! Venom tells the story of Eddie Brock, who is generally a super nice guy and an overall great reporter.

Eddie Brock is sent to do an interview with the head of Life Foundation, Carlton Drake, who Eddie knows to be a bad guy. Naturally, it’s best to keep biases out of interviews. My current job is doing phone surveys, so I know it’s best to keep the interview focused on the subject and not inject my own personal opinions into it. Unfortunately for Eddie, he doesn’t know how to do that apparently.

He calls out the blatantly evil CEO out live on camera and gets justly fired for his unprofessionalism. Carlton doesn’t stop at just getting Eddie fire, but also gets him blacklisted and fires his wife (who works at the Life Foundation) as well. His wife then breaks up with him, resulting in Brock losing everything. While this is going on, Carlton’s trying to get his precious alien lifeforms to “bond” with humans. Said aliens are “Symbiotes”, which are magical goo monsters that sometimes gives people super-powers and kills them pretty much any other time.

Eddie becomes bonded with a symbiote named “Venom”, forcing the two to work together to stop the Life Foundation and Carlton from wiping out humanity. The story is typical superhero fare, but that’s not the main draw here. As I said before, this is a really dumb movie. It’s so dumb in fact, that its lack of intelligence makes it wildly entertaining. My favorite scene in the movie is where Eddie is initially bonded with Venom and thinks he has a “parasite”. Eddie begins behaving irrationally, resulting in him sitting in a FREAKING LOBSTER TANK in the middle of a fancy restaurant! Not only that, but he proceeds to eat a lobster from said tank!

Despite the film’s stupidity, its side characters are super likable! Sony’s Spider-Man films tend to be all over the place in terms of quality, but they usually have amazing side-characters that weren’t in the comics. Likewise, the film introduces “Ms. Chen”, a kind old lady who runs a store and genuinely cares for Eddie. You also have Ann Weying (Eddie’s Ex-Wife) and her new husband, who does try to help Eddie out and isn’t a dick to him at all. This was rather refreshing to see, since the ex-husband and current husband usually don’t get along in these kinds of movies!

There’s also the aforementioned Carlton Drake, who is the most punch-able villain I’ve ever seen in a modern superhero film! The way the guy acts and looks just screams: “I’m a rich and pompous jerk who wants to change the world!”. Nothing about Carlton is too unique or interesting, and he doesn’t have much of a plan beyond a stereotypical alien invasion. Still, it’s nice to see villains who come off as obviously evil, arrogant snobs!

The movie also features some rather impressive action sequences. It’s fun to watch fights between giant goop monsters, especially when said goop monsters can change shape! All in all, I’d say Venom is a solid (albeit incredibly dumb and cheesy) film. It feels like a Spider-Man movie, but manages to stand on its own without the titular web-head. It’s far from perfect, but I never found the film grating or hard to watch.

While it does take a fair bit to get truly good, it’s still a fantastic watch. Now, since I’ve finally talked about Venom, it’s only fair I review ALL the Spider-Man films I haven’t covered. Even with Spider-Man: Homecoming, Venom, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and the Japanese Spider-Man movies crossed off the list, I’ve still got a fair bit of films to talk about! Join me next time for my review of “Spider-Man 2002”.