The year 1999 gave us such great movies like The Matrix, Fight Club, American Beauty, The Sixth Sense and also the start of the found footage film craze in The Blair Witch Project. And one little gem that got lost in between all these great films, Mystery Men.
Mystery Men is a silly movie, with sillier characters (The Spleen, anyone?). The movie didn't do well financially and critically was met with so-so reactions.
Not everyone knows that Mystery Men is also an adaptation of a comic book published by Renegade Press back in 1987. The characters appeared for the first time as guests of the character Flaming Carrot (#16).
Why did I choose such an obscure group of characters for a cinematic universe? Well, if we look closer, Mystery Men is not that far of what we see today with movies such as Iron Man or Superman. The only difference is that, like with everything else, today we accept more openly the world of comic books.
I'm not saying that Mr. Furious can be compared with Batman, that'll be nuts but sticking with the topic in hand, I believe a Mystery Men Cinematic Universe is possible and here's the reason why:
IT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF THE AVENGERS
Just as The Avengers join a group of superheroes, the Mystery Men was also a group that wasn't able to work together until they found harmony with each other against a common threat. Also, Mystery Men gathered such a talented group of actors in one movie when they were in their prime:
Ben Stiller = Robert Downey Jr., William H. Macy = Chris Evans, Hank Azaria = Chris Hemsworth, Janeane Garofalo = Scarlett Johansson. You get the idea.
The Avengers was the culmination of years of planning and the end result of interconnected movies that created a cinematic universe.
Well, what if we do it the other way around? We start with the end and go backwards. Here are the movies that would have created the Mystery Men Cinematic Universe.
1. The Shoveler - The First Mistery Man
The Shoveler is the heart of Mystery Men. Yes, Ben Stiller's Mr. Furious is the scene stealer and has one-liners a plenty but William H. Macy's The Shoveler is the one that guides us, the audience, through this crazy world these characters live in. He is a good father and husband and his determination to be something he is not, threatens to take away that from him.
In the comics, the original Shoveler finds King Arthur's legendary singing shovel (no joke) while working as a ditch-digger and quarry man. The magical shovel, judging him as an honest man, chose him as its new master and wielder.
The origin of the Shoveler would be our start of this universe, just as Iron Man. His origin would remain the same as in the comics and the movie treated a la Joan of Arc, thinking he was chosen by divine intervention. Just as his line in Mystery Men:
"God gave me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well."
2. Champion City Origins
Champion City is the city and overall world that serves as setting for the Mystery Men. "Champion City Origins" would introduce the original Champion City superheroes: the original The Bowler, Casanova Frankenstein & The Sphinx.
Casanova Frankenstein (played by the always brilliant Geoffrey Rush) is the main antagonist in Mystery Men. In Origins we would see him as one of the first superheroes in this world. And we would witness his turn to the dark side.
The original Bowler is the skull we see inside the bowling ball that carries his daughter throughout Mystery Men (more on her later on). Killed by one of Casanova Frankenstein's henchmen. The Bowler would see his ally and best friend descending in to the abyss culminating in an epic battle like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker ("You were the chosen one!").
The Sphinx is a Yoda type character that shows wisdom (or tries to). Excellent lines such as:
"We are Number one. All others are number two or lower"
"To learn my teachings I must first teach you to learn".
The Sphinx shows up half way in to the movie saving the Mystery Men from a fatal outcome and becomes the final member of the group bringing them together.
In Origins The Sphinx would lose all hope after seeing the best of them, Casanova Frankenstein, turning bad. He would retire afterwards and live in regret after learning that his close friend, The Bowler, is killed. Thinking he could had prevented his friend's death if he wouldn't have quit, The Sphinx would torment himself for years until his daughter shows up years after and learns of the Mystery Men. Suddenly, The Sphinx would have a second chance to be the hero he once thrive to be and to be there for the people that need him.
3. Mystery Men: The New Big Three
The movie would revolve around these three, like when Captain America, Thor & Iron Man fight in the woods at the beginning of The Avengers. The movie would be all a misunderstanding thinking that all are bad guys and good guys at the same time. While the antagonists would be the amazing Disco Boys.
At the end our heroes will clear their differences and unite against the common enemy. Only that they are to late, since a new up and comer has beat them to the punch while they were fighting with each other: Captain Amazing.
Captain Amazing would steal the glory and fame from our big three and The Shoveler would lose his magical power once the magic shovel determines that he was using his powers to gain glory and fame instead of being the hero he once wanted to be. Our heroes would go on with their lives knowing their world won't need them anymore. Little did they know, though...
4. The Bowler
Personally, my favorite character of the movie, The Bowler is full of sass and has some of the best dialogues delivered by the talented Janeane Garofalo. In a way she is the only one with powers since her weapon of choice, a bowling ball with her dead father's skull in it, is sentient.
The movie, the last one in this cinematic universe, would center in the struggle of living under the shadow of his father and his desire of her to become a hero. She just wants to live a normal life and go back to grad school. After learning that her dad was killed. She embarks in a quest to find her dad's killer but knowing she can not do it alone, tries to find links with her dad's past life as a superhero. She would fail throughout the movie until she sees in the newspaper that a group of superheroes is performing tryouts to join their super group.
This movie will end with an after credits scene when The Bowler arrives to the audition, setting up Mystery Men.
Well, there you have it. Thank you very much for your time and I hope you enjoyed the read.