Mystery Men

Mystery Men ★★★½

Watched this movie in the theater (me and twenty other people in America) and still remember William H. Macy’s plaintive line reading of “I shovel well”, so I figured I’d see if it still holds up. And it’s a real hoot, a wild riff on superhero movies with outrageous Schumacher-ian production design, a great gag in a faux-Superman with a toothy grin and a ton of sponsors, surprisingly well-drawn characters played by a majorly stacked cast, and a winking understanding of its material. This must have been an absolute joy for the costume and set departments, with a DIY aesthetic for the former that must have cost a ton of money to look like it cost nothing. I love the blend of people with actual superpowers with people who don’t (the joke of a guy who just gets really mad is legit funny), and I love how the movie goofs around with superhero tropes while giving into them because that’s how this shit works. Geoffrey Rush, in particular, is having the time of his life, but it’s fun watching everyone else commit to this, especially since this would be so much worse if they didn’t. It’s maybe not GREAT per se and it’s definitely aged badly in points, but it’s still got imagination in spades and stands out even more in an era where superhero movies basically come out every month, instead of the summer months. It still bums me out Janeane Garofalo didn’t have a bigger career. Shout out to Paul Reubens screaming exactly like Pee-Wee Herman.

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