05 January 2007

Superheroes on Screen - Retrospective 1999

Its time to party like its 1999.


'99 wasn't a very prolific year in the arena of superhero films. The solo entry was the Ben Stiller comedy Mystery Men. The studio took a hit on this one, earning back only $30 million of the $68 million budget. Its a real shame too because Mystery Men is a funny show. In the film, a rag tag group of friends form a super team to battle the evil and hilarious Casanova Frankenstein when the city's superhero (endorsed by Pepsi) goes missing. Ben Stiller plays Mr. Furious, his power is that he gets furious. Hank Azaria aka Moe from the Simpsons plays The Blue Raja. He doesn't wear blue, but he throws forks. My personal favorite, The Shoveler, played by William H Macy basically just "shovels very well" and fights with a shovel. These three are joined by Janeane Garofalo' Bowler, Paul Reubens as The Spleen, and Kel Mitchel as the Invisible Boy (who can only turn invisible when no one is watching). It is silly, but also very funny. Its a shame it didn't do better, especially in a year so devoid of superheroe films.

A couple of animated TV shows also got their start in '99. The first was Batman Beyond. The show is set 40 years in the future with a new young Batman taking over after Bruce Wayne has retired. The show could have been terrible with too much emphasis on a "teen Batman" but truthfully this show was dark and stylistic. Also, the show really earned the viewers respect by growing Terry McGinnis into his role as Batman. By the sries end, he wasn't a Batman imposter, he was Batman. This series was a semi-sequel to Batman: The Animated Series, and some of old Batsy's enemies reared their ugly heads in this new series including Mr Freeze, and the Joker. The future Justice League also made a showing featuring an old, but spry Superman. This show ran 3 seasons and didn't get a fitting finale until the second season episode of Justice League Unlimited titled Epilogue. In that episode, it was revealed that Terry McGinnis was actually... sorry, its too good to spoil here.

While Batman Beyond took a gamble that paid off, Spider-Man Unlimited tried to mix things up with horrible results. Spider-Man enters an alternate reality (follwed by Venom and Carnage of course) where Beastials rule and humans drool. Yeah, um... This show got demolished in the rating by Pokémon, and only lasted a few episodes.

So, 1999 wasn't a poster year for Superheroes, but it wasn't a complete waste neither.

Previous Retrospectives
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000

Mystery Men

Batman Beyond - The Complete First Season (DC Comics Classic Collection)

Batman Beyond - Return of the Joker (The Original Uncut Version)

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