Two childhood best friends named Lydia Berman (Melissa McCarthy) and Emily Stanton (Octavia Spencer) reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people superpowers.
As soon as I saw that Thunder Force was written and directed by Ben Falcone, the same filmmaker behind huge duds such as Tammy and The Boss, I should’ve kept my expectations really, really low for his latest feature, which is admittedly wildly different than anything he has ever done before.
His previous efforts were all straight-forward comedies, most of them starring Melissa McCarthy as well. But Thunder Force is a blend of a superhero movie as well as a traditional comedy, and it even has a bit of romance thrown into the mix too. This is not a recipe for disaster, though. As a matter of fact, Deadpool blended all three of those genres into one and it proved to be an absolutely hysterical and brilliantly fun time at the movies.
Sadly, Thunder Force is not that type of movie. It aims to be uplifting and heartfelt, but you’re going to find yourself rolling your eyes rather than smiling ear to ear. Truth be told, I have no idea why or how Ben Falcone keeps getting to make comedies. Maybe if he were to direct a drama or a thriller, he may actually be able to find his footing because I’m sure he can be a good director, but just not in the comedy field.
Even Life of the Party was just okay, even if it did feature some genuinely touching moments. All throughout the running time of Thunder Force, we are bombarded with annoying jokes that maybe pre-teens will enjoy, but nobody else. Pop culture references and Melissa McCarthy doing the floss dance is comedy gold, right? Right?
But don’t get me wrong, McCarthy is not the problem here. As a matter of fact, I think that with the right script, she can be a wonderful actress. Take Can You Ever Forgive Me? for instance. In that film, she managed to deliver a grounded and impressive performance that actually managed to score her some awards nominations.
And Octavia Spencer is not the problem here either. In fact, the two of them are the best part of the entire movie. Their chemistry is incredible to watch and it is clear that they tried their best with the script they were given. Why did they want to be in this film of all films? Who knows. Maybe it’s because McCarthy is married to Ben Falcone because otherwise, I can’t see a genuine reason why she’d want to be in this.
If there is another thing that should be praised here, it would have to be the action sequences. They’re actually fairly fun to watch even if they are not groundbreaking or explosively fun. The fight choreography is quite well done and whenever there are some baddies getting punched around, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself.
But really, aside from the performances and the action, Thunder Force is a gigantic mistake and a disastrously bad comedy. And don’t even get me started on the trope-ridden villains that plague this film. They are cringe-inducing and incredibly unfunny despite Falcone desperately trying to make them humorous, much like he did with the rest of the film and failed in doing so.
Overall Grade: D+
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some action/violence, language, and mild suggestive material
Directed by: Ben Falcone
Distributed by: Netflix
Release Date: April 9, 2021
Running Time: 107 minutes