Mystery Men is a 1999 comedy film based on a Dark Horse comic book series feature in Flaming Carrot Comics, directed by TV commercial director Kinka Usher. It starred William H. Macy, Ben Stiller, and Hank Azaria as a trio of lesser superhero with fairly unimpressive superpowers who are required to save the day. The film's two great strengths were considered to be the art direction and the dialogue, much of which was improvised by the cast. Despite its list of stars, Mystery Men was widely considered to be a flop with a final box office gross of just $,762,011 domestically and $3,699,000 outside the USA.
It has since been developing something of a cult following. The soundtrack prominently featured the Smash Mouth song "All Star" and clips from the film form the basis of the song's video.
In the fictional metropolis of Champion City, three men (Mr. Furious, The Shoveler, and the Blue Raja) attempt to make a name for themselves as superheroes, but find themselves upstaged by the well-sponsored Captain Amazing. However, Amazing is finding that his skill at capturing villains has left the city with virtually no crime, and his sponsors are threatening to end their deals. In order to create a need for a superhero, Amazing uses his alter ego, the billionaire lawyer Lance Hunt, to argue for the release of the insane supervillain Casanova Frankenstein. The plan backfires; once reunited with Tony P and his Disco Boys, Frankenstein blows up the insane asylum, captures Amazing, and sets his sights on creating a doomsday device, the "Psycho-frakulator" which can bend reality. Mr. Furious, while spying on Frankenstein's mansion, discovers Amazing's abduction, and tells the others. The three realize they need more allies, and through word-of-mouth and try-outs, they bring aboard The Spleen, who has a super-powered flatulence when having his fingers pulled, Invisible Boy, who can only become invisible when no one is looking, and the Bowler. The Bowler is the daughter of the original Bowler, Carmine. She throws a bowling ball that can fly, due to the fact that her father's skull is embedded in it and she can communicate with his spirit. Occasionally, she has conversations with it. Her motivation for joining is that she wants to find who murdered her father. The newly formed team, fumbling over each other, attempt to confront Frankenstein in his limo, but succeed only in annoying him and vandalizing his car, also upon learning that Tony P, who's also in the limo, murdered Carmine. A later attempt to sneak into his mansion to rescue Captain Amazing ends when they inadvertently kill the hero with the Psycho-frakulator.
Without Amazing, the team believes there is no way they can save the city. A mysterious man named The Sphinx helps to restore their morale and plan another assault on Frankenstein's mansion. They also enlist the help of non-lethal weapons expert Dr. Heller who provides them with armaments and the parts to make their assault vehicle, the Herkimer Battle Jitney (the greatest non-lethal fighting vehicle ever built). Mr. Furious, feeling that both his position of authority and his apparent lack of powers are in question, finds solace in talking with Monica, a diner waitress, who tells him to just be himself. Mr. Furious rejoins the team, and they assault the mansion, subduing most of the henchmen with their weapons and using their negligible powers to surprisingly good effect. Unfortunately, as the heroes approach Frankenstein, he reveals that he has kidnapped Monica, then proceeds to activate the Psycho-frakulator and wreak havoc upon the city. As the team figures out how to stop the device, Mr. Furious takes on Frankenstein. After being taunted by and taking a beating from Frankenstein, Mr. Furious unleashes his inner rage and actually manages to fight effectively. He defeats Frankenstein, who is thrown into the core of the Psycho-frakulator and killed by its reality-bending powers. The rest of the team helps the Bowler use her bowling ball (containing her father's skull) to destroy the Psycho-frakulator. They escape the mansion as the device implodes upon itself.
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