Movie Reviews

‘Thunder Force’ Is Fueled by Director Ben Falcone’s Deep Love of Superhero Comics

For a long time now, Hollywood analysts have been predicting “superhero fatigue” amongst general audiences, when people will finally grow tired of watching muscular men and women in tights fight aliens and sorcerers to save the world. It hasn’t happened yet, and in fact, increasingly diverse genres are experimenting with superhero fare. Ben Falcone, the writer and director of Thunder Force, the new Netflix comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer as superheroes, recently revealed to CBR that he was inspired to make the film after observing the MCU and DCEU.

“I love comic books, as I’m going to make abundantly clear […]. I grew up with them, I love them and I’ve always wanted to make a superhero movie, especially once I saw, way back, I saw Batman and then when I saw the first Avengers I was like, “Oh wow, they can do anything. You can make anything happen. Holy tamales!” — or whatever people say. So, I thought, well, I’ve wanted to work with Octavia [Spencer] and Melissa [McCarthy] together for so long, and I had an idea about the owner of the LA Times, because he was a pharmaceutical engineer, and I was like, “Oh, well, if you were that rich or if you were really Bruce Wayne, couldn’t he do more than just make a bat suit and couldn’t he make more than just a car?” As we go on in technology, and obviously taking away the ethical implications of when it fails — because you’d need probably to fail before you succeed — but couldn’t somebody genetically engineer a superhero in a world where there weren’t any?”

RELATED: Netflix’s Thunder Force Trailer Teams Melissa McCarthy & Octavia Spencer as Superheroes

Thunder Force tells the story of a brilliant scientist, played by Spencer, who figures out a way to give superpowers to herself and her best friend, played by McCarthy. Armed with their new abilities, the dynamic duo embark on a mission to save Chicago from the clutches of a supervillain known as The King. The trailer for the movie has shown McCarthy indulging in her famed brand of physical comedy as a superhero, ably supported by Spencer. According to Ben Falcone, the relationship between the two lead characters reflects similar comic book pairings between the “brains” and the “brawn”, like Mr. Fantastic and The Thing from The Fantastic Four.

“The idea of someone being brilliant, clearly that’s Octavia because [..] she’s just so smart, and she’s so great — she’s been our friend forever. And then the idea of somebody being like a blue-collar, loyal friend who’s kind of a scrapper, which I love. You know, that’s kind of a comic-book trope right, whether it’s the Thing, or you know…. There’s millions of examples of somebody’s like, “Ah, I used to get into scraps in the schoolyard and here I am and I help out my smart friend.” So that sort of put together in my head and then kind of rolled from there. And [I] tried to punch holes in it, tried to compare it to comic books that I grew up reading just in terms of the simplicity of the story and then wrote the script from there.”

Written and directed by Ben Falcone, Thunder Force stars Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Bobby Cannavale, Pom Klementieff, Taylor Mosby, Melissa Leo, and Jason Bateman. The film arrives on Netflix on Friday, April 9. This infor comes from ComicBookResources.

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