Melissa McCarthy really wants some superhero action, and who can blame her? Getting superpowers, fighting crime, and looking cool in a well designed suit of armor is something a lot of actors look forward to these days; and McCarthy is already on track for pieces of that with her recent casting in Thor: Love and Thunder. But in Netflix’s original film Thunder Force, Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer get to be the real deal, powers and all.
As with any good superhero origin story, Thunder Force starts out with the most classic way to get your powers: sheer unplanned luck. One fateful reunion between childhood friends Emily (Octavia Spencer) and Lydia (Melissa McCarthy) sees a brand new DNA therapy devised by the former giving superpowers to the latter. Cue the comedic mishaps, and some well-selected needle drops from superhero movies of the past, to make for what looks like a fun filled ride.
The ride known as Thunder Force has those big meta-human flexes you’re probably used to from films like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice or Avengers: Endgame. Buses get thrown, would-be robbers are foiled, and sure enough MCU vet Bobby Cannavale shows up in a three piece suit with glowing eyes and ambitions unknown to the audience at this early phase. But in-between the usual theatrics and gravitas of such abilities is a very tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. You only need to see Thunder Force co-writer/director Ben Falcone taking a taser to the neck, right in front of his wife and co-star’s super-powered alter ego to know that.
Which leads us to something interesting involving Thunder Force’s roster of talent, as this project is a bit of a reunion from the last Falcone/McCarthy production, HBO Max’s Superintelligence. Obviously Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy are both present, making their Marvel wishes come true before their big Thor: Love and Thunder gig. But also, McCarthy’s previous onscreen love interest Bobby Cannavale, shows up as well. Only this time, he looks like he’s more about killing than kissing. And if you’re looking for more Marvel firepower, then look no further than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s Pom Klementieff as another super powered adversary on the books.
This is really shaping up to be quite the reunion, especially for something not part of a cinematic universe of any sort. As it’s not based on anything that currently exists in comic book form, Thunder Force certainly feels like it operates in a universe that’s familiar. With the talent it’s enlisted to tell the story of superpowers hilariously saving the day, and the references to Batman Forever and Iron Man 2’s soundtracks, parody and heroism mix together to form a team that looks to be unstoppable. We’ll see if that’s the truth when Thunder Force strikes first, and strikes hard, on April 9th, only on Netflix.