REVIEW: ‘Thunder Force’ Fails Its Characters But Builds a Great World

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Thunder Force

Thunder Force, one of Netflix’s newest original films directed by Ben Falcone, debuted last week. The story follows two former best friends, Lydia (Melissa McCarthy) and Emily (Octavia Spencer). Lydia chose a more carefree lifestyle, while Emily focused her life’s work on creating a formula to give someone superpowers. After not seeing each other for many years, the two reunite and attempt to spark their friendship once again. However, Lydia accidentally comes into contact with the superhero formula. Emily begrudgingly decides to train Emily while also taking the formula as well. The two decide to form the Thunder Force and fight to save their city that has been taken over by supervillains. 

The world-building elements throughout Thunder Force were done very well. From the movie’s start, audiences are told that all powered people are criminals and that villains have taken over cities. There are also no heroes to stop criminals from taking control and causing harm to civilians. This aspect of the world-building that the film does will be enough to capture audiences’ attention. It also sets up the dark tone that the film has at times, which was definitely a surprise. However, this world-building would have had a bigger effect on the film had this dark tone been kept throughout the entire movie. While the film’s genre easily falls under comedy, it’s hard to believe that the darker tone would not have also fit the world the story takes place in. 

Both McCarthy and Spencer have incredible chemistry in Thunder Force, but it isn’t enough to carry the movie forward. For one, the way that Lydia and Emily are characterized seems only to hit the basics of what the “best friends” in comedies should be. McCarthy seems to play the same character in every comedic role that she’s in, making her characters rather uninteresting. Spencer is given a character with determination, which will surely make audiences root for her. It’s almost a given, based on how the plot is set up, that both of them would reconcile by the end of the film. There wasn’t any suspense as to whether they would be friends or not. 

The comedic elements in Thunder Force hurt the film in various ways rather than support it. Most of the jokes and comedic moments rely on being vulgar. For instance, during Thunder Force’s first major outing as heroes, Lydia sparks a connection with The Crab (Jason Bateman). What comes next is an entire scene of Lydia fantasizing about The Crab in a way that will surely make audiences wonder what kind of movie they’re watching. There’s also another scene where Lydia complains about one of Emily’s employees; she goes on a rant and points out all of his flaws. So rather than making the jokes naturally funny, most of them focused on vulgar insults. 

Overall, Thunder Force failed to deliver in comedy and development of its main characters but delivered great world-building elements. However, the world-building wasn’t enough to carry this film forward, even though it set up the dark tone that should have had a bigger part in the story. This film had the potential to do so much but ultimately lacked any real impact. Perhaps making this film a limited series could have been a way to make it stand out more. 

Thunder Force is not streaming on Netflix.

Thunder Force
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

Thunder Force failed to deliver in comedy and development of its main characters but delivered great world-building elements. However, the world-building wasn’t enough to carry this film forward, even though it set up the dark tone that should have had a bigger part in the story. This film had the potential to do so much but ultimately lacked any real impact. Perhaps making this film a limited series could have been a way to make it stand out more.