Superhero Week: Mystery Men

It’s day two of our Gollancz Superhero Week and it’s simultaneously the eve of Man of Steel‘s premiere at which you will find us, Team Gollancz, flyering for one of our steely books (can you guess what it is yet?). Be there or be square.

Amidst discussing what our ideal super power would be, from invisibility to wingless flying abilities, we’ve been reading the super reviews that Man of Steel has been receiving (pun intended). A version of Superman not to be missed!

And today it’s Marcus’s turn to share his favourite comic book movie adaptation. So without further ado, here he is.


I was tempted to write about DREDD again but thought that would be a bit lazy. Plus it might look a bit weird banging on about it so much. So I’m going to talk about Mystery Men, which I haven’t seen in about nine years, so apologies if I get something wrong. I’ve literally just ordered the DVD. I’m not sure why I didn’t do that years ago.

Anyway, Mystery Men is a comedy with a great cast. Ben Stiller, William H. Macy and Hank Azaria (who is best known for his voice work on the Simpsons) are the main heroes – Mr Furious (he gets very angry), the Shoveler (he’s very good with a spade) and The Blue Raja (sort of mystical, I think) – who find themselves sadly overshadowed by Greg Kinnear as Captain Amazing. The main villain, Casanova, is played by Geoffrey Rush, and his assistant by Eddie Izzard. When our heroes realise they’re underpowered, they hold try-outs, and a string of useless heroes come along. In the end Janeane Garofalo, Paul Reubens (yes, Pee-Wee Herman) and Kel Mitchell (of Kenan and Kel, apparently) join the team, who then hook up with a mad inventor, played by Tom Waits. Yes, Tom Waits.

And then there’s all kind of running around and jokes and so on. To be honest, the plot sort of escapes me now (although I think something nasty happens to Greg Kinnear). They win in the end. It’s all a bit slapdash, and perhaps not quite as funny as it should have been, but the cast are all so wonderfully watchable and the whole thing is so stupidly surreal that it works. It was a spin off from Flaming Carrot Comics, a weird take on superheroes by a cartoonist called Bob Burden, which was published by Dark Horse for a while. The few issues I’ve read never really worked for me, but I never tried very hard to get into it.

I’m far too excited about the fact that the DVD is on the way. And although I normally resist the ‘customers also ordered’ thing, it popped up this time with Galaxy Quest, which I also haven’t seen in years. That’s my next couple of films sorted out, then.