• Joe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #73: Mr. Furious


Blue Steel. Or is that El Tigre?

Mystery Men is a fun, quirky sendup of the superhero genre that swiftly came and went in 1999 leaving a very small dent in the box office. It boasts a talented cast inhabiting a roster of mostly pitiable creatures. They want to be heroes, but their powers simply aren't powerful. William H. Macy's The Shoveler may shovel well, but that doesn't get you far in the crimefighting biz. Hank Azaria's Blue Raja scares no one with his super-accurate spoon tossing. Janeane Garofalo, Greg Kinnear, Geoffrey Rush, even Tom Waits and Paul Reubens populate Champion City with a perfectly resigned kind of inertia.

What brings energy to this ensemble is Ben Stiller's Mr. Furious. His "super power" is that he gets angry. He doesn't turn green and big and strong, or anything close, but man, does he get mad. And few performers do impotent rage as pathetically hilariously as Stiller. It's like watching somebody else's child have a full-blown tantrum, a whole Trump rally worth of stomping powerless fury.

Mystery Men is a decent movie with its share of decent lines. But I have to respect a character relying solely on his own mostly invented anger as his weapon for facing evil. Sometimes it feels like that might be all any of us really has.

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