If you're looking for a humorous, no brain-power required movie that will keep you entertained with some belly laughs and make you temporarily forget what a disaster the last year or so has been, Thunder Force is a great choice to stream.
Thunder Force Review (Spoiler-Free)
Listen, if you go into Thunder Force expecting the best movie you've ever seen, you'll be disappointed. But Thunder Force gave me exactly what I expected; nothing more, nothing less. Predictable fun with laughter, some funny jokes, some terrible jokes, a great cast that was clearly having fun, and a few moments of, “Oh, yes this IS a good moral lesson/take away.”
Like every good superhero movie, Thunder Force even has an Origin Story. You can read the Thunder Force Origin Story below (don't worry, no spoilers or major plot points revealed).
Is Thunder Force the best movie I've ever seen? No. Is it the worst? Far from it. I've seen worse movies this week. And I didn't want my 105 minutes back, so there's that.
The major cast members have all done great work, and in their own rights are talented, even if they aren't all comedians. Octavia Spencer as “Emily” and Melissa McCarthy as producer and “Lydia.” Ben Falcone as director/writer/producer and “Kenny.” Bobby Cannavale as “The King,” Pom Klementieff as “Laser,” Jason Bateman as “The Crab,” and Taylor Mosby as “Tracy.”
Thunder Force Messages
One of the aspects of Thunder Force I really admired is its message of pride in being a smart female. And not just pride in being a smart female, but specifically Black female STEM pride. “I'm not a nerd. I'm smart, and there's a difference,” is a line we hear more than once in the movie. The young Emily tells this to a bully on the playground early on in the movie, and Tracy repeats the phrase in later scenes; Emily repeats it toward the end of the movie, as well. Being smart is cool. Period.
Another important message that Thunder Force offers is that superheroes can come in all shapes and sizes, curvy women included. Superheroes (and supervillains) are not one-size-fits-all. Apply that mantra and fit to whatever you like. Essentially, women can do what men can and curvy girls are awesome, too.
A third message Thunder Force shows us is that love comes in all shapes and sizes. I won't tell you who and how, because I don't want to ruin anything, but as we all know, sometimes love shows up in the most unusual of places or circumstances.
The Thunder Force Superhero Origin Story
In 1983, a massive pulse of interstellar cosmic rays struck Earth. Within months, those rays—originally thought harmless to humans by scientists—triggered a genetic transformation, unleashing unimaginable superpowers (for reasons unknown) on a few very rare individuals who were genetically predisposed to be bad guys.
Overnight, these new “superhuman villains,” who came to be known as “Miscreants,” created a new problem for society as they ran amok wreaking havoc for years to come.
Researchers and scientists worked on DNA/genome sequencing with the goal of giving unaltered humans the power to fight back against the Miscreants. Among those researchers were the parents of Emily Stanton (Octavia Spencer), who were killed during a Miscreant attack when Emily was 12 years old. Forced to move in with her grandmother in Chicago’s Hyde Park area, the studious Emily was befriended by Lydia Berman (Melissa McCarthy).
Lydia was a rough-around-the-edges 12-year-old who more interested in classic rock than school. Inseparable as teens, the duo grew apart as their professional paths diverged. Determined to stop the Miscreants, Emily followed in her parents' scientific footsteps while Lydia pursued a career as a heavy equipment operator.
Fast forward: The pair reunite on the night of their 25th high school reunion. Lydia visits Emily’s scientific compound in an attempt to lure her to the reunion. While waiting to see Emily, Lydia finds herself in Emily’s lab where she ignores Emily’s warning to not touch anything and can't fight the urge to touch all the things. She ends up pulling a level that powers up a specially designed lab chair that injects her with a “super strength” serum that Emily spent years creating for herself. Furious at her friend for not following the rules or thinking about her actions, but with no choice but to work with her, Emily still gets to gain the other power she had been working on—invisibility—and the pair becomes the superhero duo known as Thunder Force.
About Thunder Force
In a world where supervillains are commonplace, two estranged childhood best friends Lydia (Melissa McCarthy) and Emily (Octavia Spencer) reunite after Emily devises a treatment that gives them the powers to protect their city. While the pair have wildly different personalities — Lydia is a free spirit who leaps without looking and Emily is a meticulous scientist—their lifelong bond of friendship sees them through their adventures.
With help from Emily’s daughter Tracy (Taylor Mosby), the two are ready to do battle with the evil “Miscreants” including “The Crab” (Jason Bateman), “Laser” (Pom Klementieff), and their leader “The King” (Bobby Cannavale). Newly super, almost heroes.
Thunder Force is streaming on Netflix on April 9, 2021.
PG-13, 105 min.