The premise of Thunder Force is unremarkable and insipid. The city of Chicago has a problem with super villains, aka Miscreants, who appear out of nowhere and eradicate everything in their path. You might ask yourself who and what are Miscreants and where did they come from? In 1983 the Cosmic Rays struck the earth, and the Miscreants were born from those rays. Enter Thunder Force, Emily Barton (Melissa McCarthy) and Lydia Stanton (Octavia Spencer), who were the best of friends in High School and shared everything. Eventually, they go their separate ways and have not been in touch since. All that changes the night of their 20th High School Reunion, Lydia is extremely disappointed that Emily does not show up, so she goes to her office to confront her; this is where things get messy.
Emily is a well-known geneticist working on developing a serum that will give her superhuman strength and the capability to become invisible. These “powers” will enable Emily to save her beloved Chicago. Lydia is a disheveled and uninteresting person who dislikes her life and how it has turned out, she never got over losing her best friend Emily. Neither of them knew what was about to happen when they saw each other again. What are the odds that something will go wrong when Lydia and Emily reconnect, the odds are a million to one that it would turn their worlds upside down and that is precisely what happens next?
While Lydia waits for Emily in one of the treatment rooms, something accidentally injected her with a dose of the serum that Emily has developed to defeat the Miscreants. Now that Lydia has had the injection, she must go full steam ahead and finish the series to complete the required doses. Lydia now needs to be given many painful injections to have the full effect of the serum and develop her superpowers. During the process, Lydia stays with Emily and her 15-year-old daughter Tracy (Taylor Mosby) whom she forms a deep bond. Emily is also getting treatments, Lydia develops superhuman strength, and Emily can make herself invisible; a superhero duo is born aka Thunder force.
They form an alliance with one goal to rid the world of the Miscreants and their leader Chicago politician aka “The King” played by the perfect bad guy Bobby Cannavale. He is ruthless and will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means killing some of his men, whose names he can never remember. The King is running for Mayor of Chicago and he has filled the streets with death and chaos and time is running out. Lydia and Emily discover that after The King loses the Mayoral race, he has offered to throw a big gala for the winner to be attended by the rich and powerful of Chicago, but there is one catch he has placed a bomb in the building designed to kill everyone inside. Will Thunder Force arrive in time and disarm the bomb, or will everyone die a fiery death?
The one bright spot in Thunder Force is the one and only Jason Bateman cast as The Crab, who is half man, and half crab because of some regrettable circumstances. Jason’s deadpan style of acting is so good you instantly want to like him and root for him. However, he is one of the bad guys and does work for “The King” the leader of the Miscreants, so whose side is he really on? As the film progresses and Thunder Force is making headway, something unexpected happens between Lydia and The Crab. Since The Crab works for The King, now he does not know where his allegiance should be. Will The Crab switch sides to get the girl?
McCarthy normally shows her great comedic talent and timing seems to sleepwalk through this film and the character of Lydia is reminiscent of many previous roles she has played. Spencer, a wonderful, mostly dramatic actress, should have turned this one down. It really does not suit her, and Spencer seems quite uncomfortable being funny. These two actresses have zero chemistry and are the primary reason that this movie disappoints. There are lots of spectacular special effects and a talented cast, but the movie falls short of expectations unless you are a 10-year-old.
Skip Thunder Force!