Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Jason Bateman, Bobby Cannavale, Pom Klementieff, Kevin Dunn, Melissa Leo
OUR RATING: ★★☆☆☆
Netflix superhero comedy written and directed by Ben Falcone. Thunder Force (2021) is set in a world terrorized by super-villains, scientist Emily Stanton (Octavia Spencer ) has developed the process to give superpowers to regular people. But when she accidentally imbues her estranged best-friend, Lydia (Melissa McCarthy), with incredible abilities, the two women become the first superhero team to battle the super-powered Miscreants and save Chicago from the clutches of The King (Bobby Cannavale).
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Young Emily: I’m not a nerd. I’m smart. There’s a difference.
Young Emily: [referring to her parents] They were geneticists. Young Lydia: Wait, wait. Both of them were like lady part doctors? Young Emily: No, that’s a gynecologist. Geneticists are scientists who work on genes, including mutated ones. Young Lydia: Oh. Yeah, I knew that. I’m like testing you.
Teen Lydia: [saying grace] Thanks, Lord, for making such kick-a** food. If Jesus was here, he would crush it.
Teen Lydia: We all know I’m not special. Teen Emily: I didn’t say that. Teen Lydia: It’s fine though. You don’t know how life is going to go. And I could be the president, getting chauffeured in fancy limousines.
Clyde: [referring to Emily] She’s probably hanging out with strippers, sipping smooth champagne, eating nachos filled with goose meat or something like that. Lydia Berman: Clyde, you have a really weird vision of how rich people live.
Sarah: [as Lydia’s comes to see Emily] Do you have an appointment? Lydia Berman: No. I don’t have an appointment. But I’m Lydia Berman. I’m her best friend, so. I mean, we’re not currently, what I would say, “best friends” or “friends”. Estranged, I think, puts a stink on it, that it might not warrant. But I guess you could say we’re estranged now, but not in a way that’s like restraining order. So do I just go up and surprise her? Sarah: No, you definitely don’t do that.
Sarah: [referring to Emily] Well, she will see you. Lydia Berman: I’m kind of relieved that’s the answer. Sarah: Not how I thought that one was going to go.
Lydia Berman: I mean, how do you change a bulb in something like that? Jessie: That would be a maintenance question. Lydia Berman: Maintenance. There you go. Wow.
Emily Stanton: Dear God, Lydia. What have you done? Lydia Berman: Emily, I didn’t touch anything! Okay, I touched a couple, I touched one thing. I’m so sorry.
Emily Stanton: Lydia, do you have any idea what you’ve done? I’ve worked for this my entire life, and you’ve ruined everything. Lydia Berman: Oh, I don’t know what was in those needles, but I’m totally happy to give it back to you. I can like pee in a cup, or something.
Lydia Berman: What’s your power? Jessie: Well, they were supposed to be super strength and invisibility. But you just took her treatment for super strength. Lydia Berman: I’m really, really sorry. Maybe you can just like cook up another batch. Emily Stanton: It took five years to create that formula.
Lydia Berman: I mean, I feel weird and sweaty. And, you know, my heart’s pounding like a jackhammer inside my chest because of this serum. What does that mean? Allie: What it means is, if you stop taking the treatments, your veins will shred like a log in a wood chipper.
Allie: Emily, the only logical thing to do is stay the course. I mean, we’ll continue with the super strength treatments with the village idiot here, and you begin the treatments for invisibility. Lydia Berman: Village idiot? Hello, Chicago is a city, not a village, and the best city in the world.
Emily Stanton: Em, let’s show you to your room. Lydia Berman: Wait, wait, wait. I’m not staying here. I’ve got stuff to do. I got to be at work on Monday. I’ve got really good Bulls tickets. Emily Stanton: If you stop the treatments, it’s entirely possible that your body will violently explode over the weekend. Lydia Berman: I can take a peek at a room, you know.
Lydia Berman: This looks like the jail cell on Battlestar Galactica.
Emily Stanton: You know who Urkel is. Lydia Berman: How do you spell that? Emily Stanton: You spell it Ur-kel.
Tracy: Mom, is she having a reaction to the injection? Emily Stanton: No, she’s always like this. Lydia Berman: Did you say, “Mom?” Mom? You have a kid and I didn’t even know it? You have a secret kid for twenty years? Tracy: I’m only fifteen.
Lydia Berman: What is Jodie Foster’s problem? Emily Stanton: Allie helped me set up this whole lab. She’s former CIA. She runs things for me. Lydia Berman: What? It’s a compliment. I’m saying Jodie Foster like “It puts the lotion in the basket”, not like “Tay in the wind” Jodie Foster.
Lydia Berman: Why aren’t you in school? Tracy: First, it’s the middle of the night. And second of all, I graduated from Stanford last year. Lydia Berman: Wow, she’s a chip off the old nerd block, huh? Emily Stanton: She’s not a nerd. She’s smart. Tracy, Emily: There’s a difference.
Lydia Berman: Oh, my God. I’m going to throw the s**t out of a city bus! Emily Stanton: Language. Lydia Berman: I’m going to throw the pee crap out of a city bus. Emily Stanton: That isn’t any better, and you’re not going to be throwing a bus, Lydia. That would be very bad.
Lydia Berman: I think I sprained my groin. Do chicks have groins? Tracy: Yes. Lydia Berman: That’s what I did. I might have just peed just a little bit in my suit too. Tracy: Yes. According to this, your bladder did release urine.
Emily Stanton: [listing the risks of the injections] Like death, amnesia, paralysis, stroke, brain death, living inside your mind, unable to speak or convey thoughts, which would be the most unspeakable pain, which we simply abbreviate as… Tracy, Jessie, Allie: The unspeakable. Emily Stanton: And did I say death? Tracy: Yes. Lydia Berman: You know, I’m scrambling to find the silver lining here. I mean, what is it?
Lydia Berman: At least I don’t have diarrhea. Emily Stanton: Severe diarrhea is a given. That one right there is hundred percent a certainty.
Lydia Berman: Wait, it’s a pill? Your whole treatment is one stinking pill? Emily Stanton: It’s a very large pill. And I had to go off dairy for this.
Lydia Berman: If you’re never in school, then how do you meet dudes, or chicks, or, you know, non-specific gender? Everybody’s great. Whatever you’re into. Tracy: I like boys. Lydia Berman: Me too. You dating anybody interesting? By interesting, I mean, hot.
Emily Stanton: Oh, my God. I’ve created a raw chicken monster. Lydia Berman: It’s delicious. My compliments to whoever didn’t cook it. Emily Stanton: Can’t unsee that.
Lydia Berman: [to Emily] You know, I keep seeing you taking these pills, but are we ever going to see some action, or should I say, “Are we ever going to not see some action?”
Emily Stanton: That was my last pill. Lydia Berman: Are you kidding? I’ve had like thirty-five billion injections in my face, and you’ve just been taking like a handful of pills for a while.
Lydia Berman: You know what? I think my super name is going to be The Hammer. Emily Stanton: But, Lydia, you don’t carry a hammer. Lydia Berman: We don’t have to be so literal.
Emily Stanton: Can’t I just be Emily? Lydia Berman: God. Nobody wants to get saved by somebody named Emily.
Lydia Berman: Oh, I got it. You’re Bingo. Emily Stanton: Well, that makes zero sense. Lydia Berman: It’s a catchphrase, and a name all in one neat, little package. And you can say, “Bingo! I go invisible.”
Lydia Berman: Can I say something? Emily, Allie: Absolutely not. Lydia Berman: This car makes me ovulate. I want to have shiny, purple Lamborghini babies. Emily Stanton: I knew I didn’t want to hear it.
Lydia Berman: The Crab? What’s his power? Like tasting delicious with melted butter?
[as they listen to Smuggler’s Blues by Glenn Frey] Lydia Berman: Is this Glenn Frey? Emily Stanton: In my life, every day is Frey-day. Smuggler’s Blues. It kicks butt, and it’s getting us pumped. Lydia Berman: Is it? Emily Stanton: It was number one on the charts for eleven weeks, Lydia. Eleven weeks! Lydia Berman: Alright. I’m not saying I don’t love Glenn Frey. I love Frey. But there’s a time and a place for Frey.
The Crab: What are you? Lydia Berman: Well, I’m a Gemini. What the hell are you? The Crab: You’d think Cancer, but Capricorn actually. Sag moon. And all kinds of things rising. Lydia Berman: Well, let’s hope so.
Lydia Berman: [as Emily’s tasing the thug] You’re cooking him from the inside out! Grocery Store Patron: Man! Emily Stanton: Please don’t film this, sir. This is a mistake! Kenny: Why are you still tasing me? Emily Stanton: It’s a mistake! Cashier: Oh, that’s messed up.
Lydia Berman: We’re not doing it for thanks. We protect the city. But if you did want to thank me with a pickle in a bag. Cashier: Hey, you saved our lives. You know what? You deserve a pickle bag.
The King: Who are these two? Where did they get their powers anyway? If there are superheroes out there now, what do people need me for? The Crab: Tough to know.
The King: How can we not stop two chicks in their forties?! Laser: Mid-forties at least. The Crab: At least.
The King: [referring to Kenny’s face burnt scabs] You look like balls. Kenny: Sorry. I’ll get some cream or something. The Crab: A lot of it. Get a lot.
Laser: Not to sound like a femme fatale, but it feels like I need to kill them.
Lydia Berman: If we’ve got a logo this cool, we are ready for a theme song. Like an anthem. Like David Lee Roth, Jon Bon Jovi. They come down and lay down some lyrics. I’ll play guitar. Right after I learn how to play guitar.
Lydia Berman: [saying grace] Dear God, bless this food and the hands that prepared it. Uh, you know, thanks for being super cool and stuff. So, keep kicking butt, and peace out.
Emily Stanton: You said morality. Lydia Berman: What are you saying? Emily Stanton: Mortality. Lydia Berman: You’re just putting extra Ts in it, Morta-ta-ta-tality.
[as Lydia is about to tell her they’re Thunder Force] Grandma Norma: Oh, this is amazing. Oh, please let it be true. I have been praying for this day. Emily Stanton: Praying for what? Lydia Berman: Really? Grandma Norma: For this moment. For you two to tell me that you’re a couple. I always knew you were right for each other.
Lydia Berman: You know, I think we both prefer, you know, dudes. Emily Stanton: Well, you don’t have to look so disappointed. Grandma Norma: Well, I can’t help it. You could at least give it a try.
Grandma Norma: Now I want you two strong women to go out there, kick butt, like the superheroes you are, and you don’t stop until the job is done. Lydia Berman: Okay. Grandma Norma: And only on that day, when the city is free from Miscreants, can you two have a wedding.
Lydia Berman: Wooh. This suit is getting ripe. I got to wash it. Emily Stanton: You can’t wash it. Lydia Berman: What: Are you kidding? How am I supposed to keep it fresh? Emily Stanton: I need to work on that. Lydia Berman: Yeah, you do. Quickly.
The Crab: [referring to Kenny’s burn scars] Hey, chief, you got concealer on there. Is that what that is? Kenny: Well, yeah. I mean, I just moisturized it, and then just tried to touch it up a little bit. Is it helping? The Crab: Not really.
The Crab: You know, boss, I validate your feelings. Your feelings are your feelings, but tactically speaking, I don’t think it’s smart to be killing off our best crew members.
The King: Well, as I like to say, when life gives you lemons, make lemon-flavored napalm. The Crab: It’s the greatest saying.
Allie: Excuse me. I’m going to wash my hands up. Lydia Berman: [as Allie leaves] She’s not washing her hands. She’s going to the can. God knows what she’s doing. I don’t want to know. Sometimes I can’t picture certain people doing certain things. Know what I mean? Like Obama vacuuming, or Eleanor Roosevelt flossing.
Emily Stanton: No, they’re too far away! Do not throw that bus! Lydia Berman: I can’t hear you, because I’m literally throwing a bus! [she throws the bus] Kid: Dads, that lady just threw a bus.
Tracy: She’s a really good person. Emily Stanton: I know she is. But she threw a bus, honey. Tracy: Yeah, but in her defense, she was trying to stop the bad guys, right? Emily Stanton: She was. Tracy: Also, she really wanted to throw a bus.
Lydia Berman: The suits are very resilient. I mean, they do not smell good. Wow, they don’t smell good. But very resilient. The Crab: You smell good to me. Yeah. Which, you know, is surprising, because I don’t have a sense of smell that good.
Lydia Berman: I mean, are you fully a Miscreant, or… The Crab: I’m not crazy about labels. But, you know, I do get that a lot. What I usually, I say I’m a Half-creant. Lydia Berman: Half-Korean. The Crab: Half-creant. Lydia Berman: Oh, I thought you said half-Korean. The Crab: You’re not the first one to. Yeah, but no. Lydia Berman: Either one would be wildly interesting. But Half-creant, I like that.
Lydia Berman: I look at you, and I just think somewhere inside those kind of yoked, strong glistening shells, is the heart of a really good man-crab.
The Crab: I apologize for raising my voice, but I got bit on the ball bag by a radioactive crab, and I used to love shellfish. So, my fuse is a little short. This is a trigger environment for me.
The Crab: What are you doing? Lydia Berman: I’m just buttering your knuckle.
Lydia Berman: Okay, I know things are weird between us because we had harsh words. And, yes, because I threw the city bus, even though you said, “Do not throw the city bus.” And it didn’t make it any better than whatever the city bus thing did. And it’s probably going to cost like a million dollars, and I wish I’d stop talking. I’m like worse than Tom in accounting who’s like, “My ledger.” He always smells like old lady liniment, or like an old lady chafing. And now I’m almost worse than Tom, if that’s possible.
Lydia Berman: [as Emily guesses Lydia likes The Crab] Don’t point at me! Don’t point at me! Don’t judgey point at me. Emily Stanton: Did you get surf and turfed? Lydia Berman: Surf and turf is not a thing. But I did.
Emily Stanton: Honey! He’s a crab! Lydia Berman: I know, but I love crab.
Emily Stanton: Sometimes I don’t know if I’m mad at you because you always go crazy, or if I’m really just mad at myself because I never do. Lydia Berman: Well, we can’t both be nuts.
Lydia Berman: You know, killing people is not a recognized hobby. Laser: I can’t knit.
The King: You know, I don’t really like this new “crab with a conscience” bit. I like my crab with a little hollandaise sauce, maybe a parsley garnish. The Crab: We’re good in that.
The King: I’m super bummed you’re not dead. Lydia Berman: Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, King. The King: Okay, it’s The King. Okay? The King! It’s three letters! Why doesn’t anybody get this? The Crab: It’s not tough. The King: The King. Like, The Boss.
Lydia Berman: You know what they say about men who claim to have big, big bombs. Little, tiny fuses.
The King: You know, I have this signature move. It’s kind of a hug-of-death thing. You’re going to love it. [as he’s trying to crush her] The King: Ew. What’s that smell? Lydia Berman: It’s the suits. We can’t wash them! The King: Terrible!
Lydia Berman: [to Emily] If this goes bad, I just want to thank you for being my friend. You know, people always wondered why we were friends, because we’re nothing alike, but I always knew you were going to change the world. You’re the best person I ever met. Till I met your kid. Listen to what your mom says. I wish I always had. I should go. Because if the bomb explodes, and we’re just standing here, that’d be weird.
Lydia Berman: Why can’t I drive? Emily Stanton: They just pulled you out of a river. Lydia Berman: I know, but the last time I got pulled out of the river, I just drove right away.