“Thunder Force” fails to live up to expectations


Erica Schindler, Online EIC

Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer team up to fight crime in “Thunder Force”. With the combined talent of these two actresses, the movie should be a knock-out success, right? Well, according to Rotten Tomatoes, “Thunder Force” earned a low 22% rating among critics. After watching the movie, it’s clear that even superheroes couldn’t help “Thunder Force “ live up to expectations.


Written and directed by McCarthy’s real-life husband Ben Falcone, “Thunder Force” opens with an explanation of the group of villains called The Miscreants. Miscreants are, basically, villains who use their superpowers to kill and destroy. They’ve been wreaking havoc on Chicago, where “Thunder Force” is set, for decades. The rest of the movie surrounds the main characters’ quest to save their city from this group.


Early on in the movie, we also learn that Spencer’s character Emily’s parents were killed by Miscreants when she was young. This motivated her to continue her parent’s work to find a way to give ordinary people the power that the Miscreants have so they can use it for good instead of evil. During a couple flashforwards in time, Emily befriends Lydia (played by McCarthy) but the two eventually go their separate ways after a fight.


It’s fun to see Emily and Lydia as tweens and then as teenagers. Their friendship is a highlight of the movie and it’s important to the plot to see how that relationship developed over the years. McCarthy and Spencer are real-life friends and, once the movie reaches present day, it’s clear that the two have real chemistry.


After Lydia visits Emily’s lab in an attempt to reconnect with her former best friend, she gets swept up in the plot to defeat the Miscreants. And, almost immediately, the pair becomes as close as ever without really even mentioning their past conflict. Though far from the most unrealistic part of the movie, this seems like an odd thing to omit.


From here, Emily and Lydia embark on a journey to strengthen their new superpowers and fight back against the Miscreants on the streets of Chicago. A secondary storyline about  the city’s mayoral race also starts to pick up at this point in the movie. This plot turns out to be important but before that’s revealed, it is honestly pretty boring. This plot takes away from the main storyline without really adding anything funny or interesting.


About halfway through the movie, I paused to see how much was left and was shocked to see that there was around an hour before it ended. I found myself wondering what could possibly happen to make the movie last that much longer. In my opinion, the second half of “Thunder Force” was much weaker than the first. It may have had more drama and action, but it had significantly fewer funny moments. 


The drama and action scenes in the movie were not nearly as exciting or thrilling as they could have been. And, many of the attempted jokes throughout the movie fall flat. There are definitely some funny moments, but not enough especially considering that the movie starred McCarthy, who stole scene after scene in movies like Bridesmaids. In “Thunder Force ”, she provides comic relief at times but the script just doesn’t match her comedic chops.


“Thunder Force” seems to have tried to be too many things at once. The movie has action, drama, comedy, and superheroes but does not do a great job in any of these categories. With a run time of nearly two hours, there’s a lot going on and much of it is not engaging. The real star of the movie is the friendship between McCarthy’s and Spencer’s characters; in the end, it just barely saves the day.