Melissa McCarthy is back taking an aim at the funny bone in Thunder Force. The new #1 movie on Netflix in the USA not only holds that distinction, but it is also the most popular thing across the streaming landscape.
Thunder Force stars McCarthy as Lydia Berman, best friend to scientist Emily Stanton (Octavia Spencer), though the two have been estranged for some time. But Lydia and Emily live in strange times. In 1983, a large pulse of interstellar cosmic rays hit Earth and its population, causing a genetic transformation among a select few individuals, giving them superpowers. Unfortunately for Earth, the individuals given these powers were genetically predisposed to become sociopaths. Now, their world is being taken over by super-villains and there isn’t anyone that can help.
For years, Earth has had to deal with these super-villains who have become known as the Miscreants. They could do what they want, take what they want, and there was no one to stop them. Emily has high hopes to change this. After her parents were killed by a Miscreant when she was a young girl, Emily vowed to do whatever she could to help fight the supervillains. For the past five years, she has been working on a serum that would change an ordinary human being into a superhero and she was ready to begin testing on it. But then Melissa McCarthy enters the scene.
Melissa McCarthy as Lydia arrives at Emily’s lab hoping to mend fences. When Emily steps out of the lab, Lydia’s curiosity overcomes her and, naturally, she begins to push buttons and pull levers which she has no idea of the consequences. Suddenly, Lydia is injected with Emily’s serum of super strength. Now Lydia must complete the process of obtaining super strength or her body just may end up exploding. Emily, on the other hand, was to also begin the process of gaining a superpower herself – invisibility.
When all is said and done with Lydia and Emily, they become the very first superhero duo, Thunder Force. Their goal, to rid the world of the evil low-life’s but first, they must save Chicago from the clutches of The King, played by Bobby Cannavale. This is not the first time Melissa McCarthy and Cannavale have worked together. They previously worked on the hilarious and underrated Paul Feig spy comedy, aptly titled Spy, then again on the 2020 film Superintelligence. Cannavale relishes the bad guy role and once again steps into those shoes with aplomb.
Showing up, along with Cannavale, is frequent Melissa McCarthy co-star Jason Bateman, who pops in for a scene-stealing cameo as The Crab, a villain who has the misfortune of having crab claws as hands. Pom Klementieff and Melissa Leo round out the cast.
Thunder Force was written and directed by Melissa McCarthy’s producing partner and husband Ben Falcone. The two created their On the Day Productions shingle back in 2013 and since that time the pair have teamed up on many projects to include Tammy, The Boss, Life of the Party, The Happytime Murders, and the aforementioned Superintelligence and Thunder Force.
While Thunder Force has found a home with Netflix and audiences, critics, on the other hand, have not warmed up to the new project from Melissa McCarthy and Falcone. In fact, critics are taking exception to the new movie, with Rapheal Abraham of Financial Times saying, “McCarthy here is tasked with fighting off a band of cosmically enhanced criminals wreaking havoc on Chicago, but the bigger challenge is how to wring any comedy from Falcone’s supernaturally unfunny script.” Critic Christy Lemire also chimed in, again throwing Falcone under the bus with, “Why does Melissa McCarthy keep making movies with her husband?… I love my husband and would enjoy working with him, but I’m not going to make terrible movies just to make that happen.”
Melissa McCarthy is a take-it-or leave it type of comedian. She spent seven seasons on the popular Gilmore Girls and played bit parts during her tenure. McCarthy opened eyes to her comedic abilities when she led the TV sitcom, Mike and Molly, then co-starred in her first Paul Feig movie, a breakout role in Bridesmaids. McCarthy then went on a string of hits such as Identity Thief (with Bateman) and The Heat with Sandra Bullock. McCarthy also tried her hand at drama with Can You Forgive Me? We will be kind to McCarthy and not mention another Paul Feig movie she starred in, that poorly received movie concerning ghosts and the females who bust them.
Up next for Melissa McCarthy is the series Nine Perfect Strangers. She also has a small comedic part in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder then will be seen in the live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid when she plays the villainous Ursula. For now, you can catch her in Thunder Force on Netflix.