Movie Review: Thunder Force
Thunder Force is about two estranged childhood friends. Emily, the successful scientist, lost her parents to an attack by Miscreants, a superpowered criminal class that grew out of accidental space radiation hitting Earth. Lydia and Emily haven't spoken in years. When Lydia feels like it's time to reconnect, she imposes herself upon the now successful scientist Emily and accidentally receives a dose of an experimental formula that gives her super strength and invulnerability. Emily takes the other half of the equation, the invisibility ability and the two become Thunder Force in an effort to bring the Miscreant problem under control. Little do they know that the Miscreants are in the position to make a big swing toward domination. The film stars Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Jason Bateman, Bobby Cannavale, Pom Klementieff, Melissa Leo, Taylor Mosby, Marcella Lowry, Melissa Ponzio, Ben Falcone, Tyrel Jackson Williams, and Kevin Dunn. The film is written and directed by Ben Falcone. The film is streaming exclusively on Netflix.
You know I love a platonic relationship that clicks and this one really clicks. Melissa McCarthy is the perfect Oscar to Octavia Spencer's Felix. Whether they're singing Glenn Frey or Seal, this relationship feels really real and the film even acknowledges, in a sweet way, how this kind of symbiotic and dependent relationship can spawn rumors of romance. It's touching to know that Emily's grandmother is so incredibly supportive even having a cake topper ready for the obvious wedding.
This relationship helps make everything else in the film work so well. I'm always able to suspend my disbelief with these Melissa McCarthy comedies when there's special attention paid to the relationship at its core. There's always a strong sense of character that can bring you back into whatever craziness has been cooked up. Even the side characters or the inconsequential characters have a personality that comes through in the broadest moments of comedy.
This is why I appreciate that even though Laser is a stock character, the femme fatale, she's infused with so much weirdness and life. It really helps that Pom Klementieff, who because of the Marvel movies has made herself into an actress up for saying the weirdest, silliest things possible. She really, really sells it, too. She has the look and presence of a vixen, but the goofiness of a dork who really doesn't know what she's doing.
Ben Falcone because he is becoming one of my favorite comedy filmmakers. He's not ultra flashy or attempting to be stylized, but he knows comedy. He knows when to linger, when to cut, when to let his actors run with a scene and that all important timing of the edit. He hired an accomplished comedy editor in Tia Nolan who has a knack for the physical comedy of Falcone and McCarthy productions.
I loved Thunder Force it made me laugh so hard and for so long I'd forgotten that a movie could do that. There's a beautiful alchemy in performance and writing in this film that makes up for the predictable story. I kind of hope there's a silly Marvel property out there for Ben Falcone because he's proved he has the chops to handle the genre. Yet, then again, I hope more that he and Melissa McCarthy just continue on their path and keep making magic together. Check this one out and laugh until your sides hurt.