Film: Thunder Force
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Jason Bateman, Bobby Canavale, Taylor Mosby, Pom Klementieff
Director: Ben Falcone
Review: Klep Napier
Rating: 2.5X’s out of 5X’s
Just when you thought the superhero genre only belonged to The WB and Marvel Studios, Writer and Director Ben Falcone (Spy, Tammy, The Boss) handcrafts a women “super”-empowering story for his wife in real life, Melissa McCarthy.
Thunder Force stars Octavia Spencer and McCarthy as two childhood friends with opposite ambitions which push them apart. When they reunite as adults, Emily (Spencer) is a successful scientist on the brink of discovering ways to enhance human abilities in order to defend themselves agains evil doing supervillains in their city. Lydia (McCarthy), however is a degenerate, clueless to all this science stuff when she accidentally acquires super powers while poking around Emily’s laboratory. The two somewhat settle their differences then decide to hit the streets as a super team in a wild and wacky attempt to save their city and put an end to “miscreants” terrorizing their city.
If you know Falcone and McCarthy’s catalogue, then you know to go into this with lesser than high expectations as far as seriousness is concerned. The two enjoy laughing at themselves and this film is loaded with senseless quips that remind you that, hey, this thing is supposed to be fun. If we had to make a comparison to its tone, think Blankman in the 90’s with a more known comedic cast and bigger budget. This movie is supposed to be ridiculous and all it’s major key players are in on the joke.
Which brings us to our first and probably only compliment. The cast is loaded with folks who can simply make anything enjoyable. Let’s start with Jason Bateman (Ozark, Arrested Development) who drops in as the stories first supervillain and it’s just such a treat to watch him deliver his signature sarcasm on screen with rest of them. Bateman (The Crab) not only controls the narrative in every scene he’s in, but he’s selling you the fact that he’s a half man, half crab with goons ready to rob you at gun point and you’re going to unknowingly love every moment of it. Pom Klementieff (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire, Ant-Man), who both have superhero movie experience working with Marvel, make things dark as the major baddies throughout the film. The charm of the supporting cast is what makes this thing a little more bearable than it might be otherwise. The real MVPs should be Allison Jones and Kris Redding (the films Casting Directors).
Now as far as the cons, the cliche superhero slow-mo poses, uniforms and bad cable work when people are jumping, moving fast or being thrown are what make you ask, are they making fun of themselves or do they not know this looks bad? Unfortunately when it comes to Thunder Force, we’ve seen it all before and they’re not even trying to do anything different outside of having us following two middle aged women with super powers for pure entertainment. But we get it. The pitch is WHO we’re following.
In the end Thunder Force delivers its punchlines on time but leaves very little room for the heart to shine through. As a superhero movie fan this sits on the shelf next to Blankman and Meteor Man and that’s not a dig, it’s a perspective of where to fit this thing tonally. So if you’re the type to get excited watching others have fun then this movie is for you because the cast appears to be taking it as seriously as you aren’t so just have fun with it.