This article contains major spoilers for the Thunder Force ending.
In any collaboration between Melissa McCarthy and her director husband Ben Falcone, plot is the last thing on the agenda. Thunder Force, now streaming on Netflix, is no different, but there’s just about enough to unpack in its story of unlikely middle-aged heroines becoming superheroes.
The premise, for anyone unaware, is that a cosmic ray caused genetic mutations in those predisposed to sociopathy, which is obviously a problem. Those affected came to be known as “miscreants”, and those miscreants killed the parents of Emily Stanton (Octavia Spencer), who dreamed of growing up big and strong and creating a genetic formula that would allow regular people the same kind of special abilities. In the film’s early-going we see Emily as a child meeting and bonding with Lydia (Melissa McCarthy), her polar opposite in terms of personality. Lydia’s habitual slacking leads the two of them to drift apart a bit as they get older, but in adulthood, a miscreant attack brings them back together, and before long, both of them are powered up – Lydia has super strength (for once a way to put Falcone’s endless gags about his wife’s size to good use) and Emily can turn invisible. Together, they form the superstar tag team known as “Thunder Force”, with a little help from Emily’s daughter Tracy (Taylor Mosby) and Melissa Leo’s Allie.
The bulk of the plot revolves around the efforts of mayoral candidate The King (Bobby Cannavale) to bomb the new mayor-elect Rachel Gonzales (Melissa Ponzio). Through intelligence gleaned from Jason Bateman as a half miscreant called The Crab for reasons that will become obvious, Thunder Force hatches a plan to intervene, pitting them against the King, a traitorous Allie, and a miscreant unimaginatively known as Laser (Pom Klementieff).
Defeating the King is one thing (he’s given a home run swing from Lydia), but disarming the bomb is another, and despite Tracy developing Flash-like superspeed powers virtually out of nowhere, Emily doesn’t want her to take the risk of spiriting the ordnance away. Thus, Lydia takes one for the team and dives into the Chicago River cradling it, which seems to kill her… until she awakens with a belch and spends the final moments of the Thunder Force ending eating raw chicken with Jason Bateman. This is a very strange film.