“Thunder Force” is certainly not a small-scale exercise, not only reflecting the trapping of a superhero film, but also attracting Octavia Spencer as her co-star and Bobby Cannavale (who “superintended” Also appeared in), Jason Bateman and Melissa Singh in supporting roles. Scenes involving McCarthy and Bateman add a chuckle or two depending on their sheer ridiculousness, but this is in a very dry comedic desert for a small oasis.
Written and directed by Falcon, also produced with McCarthy, its premise is the society being terrorized by sociopathic observers known as miscreants. Presented as children, Spencer’s Emily lost her parents during one such attack, dedicating herself to defeat them.
At school, she befriends the mindless Lida (later McCarthy), who tries to get some fun out of her. After the fall, they rejoin the possibility of a high-school reunion, unknowingly sampling with Lyda what amounts to Emily’s super-soldier formula, turning them into a pair of powered-up heroes However, the shared mission does not immediately fix the rift between them.
Spencer – who may have enjoyed this chance to indulge his silly side, but does not appear to be fully in her heart – is essentially left with the role of a straight woman, while McCarthy is again Stimulated to begin as if it were a long “SNL” sketch. Including Bettman’s character with Flirty Batter, a bad guy with a crab-up appendage, and big-vision gags as she tests her power parameters, enough to hoist and heat a bus. Strength is included.
Mostly, the film feels like it is structurally spinning its wheels, stumbling from gig to gig. The plot under the villain runs like a children’s film, only with a lot of consternation that isn’t explicitly aimed at them (or at least shouldn’t be).
“Thunder Force” will premiere on Netflix on April 9. It is rated PG-13.