Thunder Force

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Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer in Thunder Force.
Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer in Thunder Force.
Photo: Hopper Stone/Netflix


Thunder Force




2/5 Stars


Two childhood best friends reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people superpowers.


Unfortunately, the excitement I had to see Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy transform into superheroes was short-lived. Netflix's Thunder Force turned out to be more of a mess riddled with missed opportunities and forced jokes that made me feel like I was watching a kiddies movie with way too many sexual innuendos.

I loved the plot of this film – two estranged childhood best friends, who happen to be solid leads, reunite after one devises a treatment that gives them superpowers to protect their city after a pulse of interstellar rays that, in 1983, created genetic mutations, but only in sociopaths that are now called Miscreants. Or as Jason Bateman's character, The Crab, likes to call himself a "halfcreant". And it started out great; we meet Lydia (McCarthy) and Emily (Spencer) when they are young, and a foundation of their relationship is laid with enough information for the viewer to understand why they end up where they are as adults. But 30 minutes in, after a few laughs and hopes of it getting better, it kind of fizzles out and raises way too many questions that go unanswered like: Why does it take almost four decades for the supervillains to make an 'evil' plan? And why are the efforts to combat them entirely confined to Chicago?

Regarding the script and tone, I'm honestly so confused as to who the target audience is. The writing is extremely basic; it almost feels condescending that director Ben Falcone would assume the audience won't understand some of the scientific jargon you would use if you were to realistically create a formula that turns you into a superhero. In addition, the comedy relies so heavily on McCarthy's go-to comedic cues, including loud noises, bodily functions, being uncoordinated and improv that isn't funny, and the subject matter of this humour turns out to be extremely vulgar and very cringe-worthy at the best of times.

As for McCarthy and Spencer's onscreen chemistry? It's virtually non-existent. I'm still trying to figure out whether their characters were supposed to come across as mildly surprised to find themselves in the same room or no one cared enough to actually direct them. And as for their supporting actors, the only presence I felt deserved a more discernible arc was Emily's teen protégé, Tracy (Taylor Mosby), the rest including Bateman's cringey crab-man barely register screen-worthy presences.

While I'm here, I have to admit I'm starting to grow tired of the 'dynamic' husband and wife duo McCarthy and Falcone are when it comes to the movie business. Sure, they're real-life couple goals, but professionally it feels as though their ultimate purpose is to latch onto a trending movie genre, wedge it into what they pride themselves on – comedy – and then butcher it into the most nonsensical piece of storytelling possible, hoping that viewers find it entertaining enough. From romance (Superintelligence) to crime (The Happytime Murders), and let's not forget that awful road trip (Tammy), now comes the time for a dive into the highly profitable superhero circle. It's with movies like this that I really wish someone told them to stay in their lane.

Thunder Force is just another addition to the never-ending list of "forgettable movies" that, in retrospect, is perhaps not that bad, but with a genre that has been struggling for space on the big screen, it certainly is not the superhero comedy it needs right now.


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