Movie Review: ‘Thunder Force’

Thunder Force is a 2021 buddy film of the comedy genre. It features Melissa McCarthy as Lydia and Octavier Spencer as Emily, who both play two childhood friends who grew up in a world full of supervillains. One of them, Emily, has been orphaned due to a radioactive incident that gave the inhabitants of their city superpowers. Driven by this loss, she surges to complete the dreams of her parents, to create a scientific process to give regular people superpowers. According to the movie, the miscreants, those supervillains given superpowers by the radioactive accident, have their powers only because they are sociopaths. Burdened by the dreams of her parents, Emily goes through childhood and adulthood working towards effecting them, and by effect, not having a dream of her own outside theirs, and ruining her social life as a teenager. 

Official poster. Via Netflix.

The childhood friends separate as teenagers and reunite as adults. At this time, Emily has perfected the superhero serum. Lydia returns into her life, and conveniently, she gets injected by the serum. Emily, aware of the serum’s potency, prescribes it to herself and becomes super-powered alongside Lydia. Together, they go after the supervillains of their city. 

Thunder Force works because it doesn’t take itself seriously. This is also its limitation. There is no real effort put into the jokes and scenarios beyond the barest minimum. Melissa McCarthy is hilarious to watch on most days, but she falls flat on her face here, literally, on numerous occasions; Octavia Spencer feels out of place in this movie, and the chemistry between them is purely epileptic. The premise is neither fresh nor innovative, although, with Melissa McCarthy holding the show together, it could have potentially been a funny movie, this just doesn’t work. This is a formula that has been used so many times that the movie feels predictable from the first scene until the end. So that when Melissa McCarthy appears to sacrifice herself for the city, we already know she won’t die and have no emotional anxiety whatsoever. 

Bobby Cannavale and Melissa McCarthy. Via Netflix.

The character arcs are predictable because these are very familiar characters particularly because it is a superhero film, and with the onslaught of superhero movies available at this time, there is nothing surprising here. They are great actors any day, Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy, but here, they fail to strike any form of chord just like the narrative. The viewer goes through scene after scene, familiar with the scenario but presented with new dialogues. 

Thunder Force, at its best, has some decent minor characters. An example is Tony, and his continuous sufferings at the hands of Lydia while she learnt to control her superpowers. And there is Andrew, a henchman under the antagonist, The King’s gang. Andrew, also manages to be funny in one or two instances. But beyond these, Thunder Force doesn’t strike a genuine chord, all its jokes are forced, and the movie seems to run too fast, which denies us much room for emotional connection with the leads. One feels that, perhaps, if we had spent some more time with the leads as teenagers, they would mean more to us as adults. Consequently, the lead duo had more to do than needed, and felt a tad out of place, particularly Octavia Spencer. There are other, better Melissa McCarty and Octavia Spencer movies to watch than Thunder Force. 

Rating: 5/10

Side Musings

  • I genuinely expected this movie to be funnier because of Melissa McCarthy’s involvement.
  • Octavia Spencer’s character’s invisibility superpower is a metaphor for her characterization. We all knew Melissa McCarty was always going to be the one carrying the comedy.
  • And lastly, an absolutely generic supervillain.

Thunder Force is currently streaming on Netflix.

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