Directed and written by Ben Falcone, the Netflix film “Thunder Force” brings a new perspective to what it means to be a superhero. This comedy/girl power/superhero movie is one of a kind, filled with hilarious moments and empowering themes.
In the beginning of the film, Emily (one of the main characters) explains that in Chicago of 1983, a cosmic-ray blast gave criminals and psychopaths superhuman powers, turning them into deadly villains called “miscreants.” Thirty years pass and the city is still struggling with the aftermath of the cosmic ray. The miscreants are unstoppable. Until two polar opposite girls, Lydia (Viviane Falcone) who is brash and fearless, and Emily (Bria D. Singleton) who is studious, shy, and dedicated to avenging her parents’ death become superhumans to try to stop the miscreants from taking over the city of Chicago.
The plot jumps forward to both girls being middle aged women. Emily (Octavia Spencer) is a multi-millionaire who has not only accomplished her dreams of creating a formula to give humans superpowers, but will soon have superpowers of her own and start training to fight the “Miscreants” as well. Lydia (Melissa McCarthy) is a fork-lift driver whose life is filled with 6-packs of beer and cheap diner pancakes.
After losing touch with Emily, Lydia invites her to their high school reunion. When she doesn’t show up, Lydia is devastated, so she shows up to Emily’s work to drag her friend to the party. When Lydia surprisingly gets through security, she is told not to touch anything, but she ends up accidentally injecting herself with the super-strength formula, one of two of the superpowers that were meant for Emily. Furious, Emily has no other choice but to work with Lydia. Emily takes the other super formula giving her the power of invisibility, and the dynamic duo start their adventures to stop miscreants from taking over Chicago.
Watching Emily and Lydia work together is inspiring as McCarthy and Spencer fit the roles beautifully. In most superhero movies, the superheroes are composed of society’s standards of “perfect people” with perfectly sculpted bodies, and perfect jobs that earn them lots of money. The movie’s intent to show full-bodied, middle aged everyday women becoming superheros was refreshing and empowering.
Still, the superhero aspect of the movie feels like a side note, and ironically irrelevant. Falcone spent so much time creating the hilarious dry humor that he forgot about developing the actual plot to the movie: stopping the “miscreants” from taking over Chicago.
If you’re looking to watch a comedy that approaches superheroism in a different way, filled with tons of knee-slapping moments, this film is for you. But if you are looking for a riveting or thrilling superhero movie, this film is not what you’re looking for. Instead, maybe choose a Marvel superhero movie.