I went in to this movie predisposed to liking it. It was an espionage/fumetti flavored Bollywood film. It starred Dharmendra. It featured Fantomas, calling himself Mr. Han. And I spent years trying to track it down. Plus, I watch films with the intent of enjoying them.
So, in this form, the one that Andre Hunebelle gives him, I think that it’s perfectly alright to laugh at Fantomas. Especially since it’s really ourselves that are the butt of the joke.
For myself, I would like to believe that watching Iron Claw the Pirate enriched my life in some imperceptible–if perhaps stupid–way, even though it really just represents another ninety minutes of my life spent watching grown men in masks punching and shooting one another.
When it grinds to a halt at the end with an instance of painfully unfunny sexual comedy, you really see this made plain. The moment jars not because it is the film’s most outrageous (it probably isn’t), but because it occurs at a moment when the film has finally stopped to take a breath, thus giving you the opportunity to savor just how stank it is.