Parents' Guide to

Thunder Force

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Language, violence, big laughs in diverse superhero comedy.

Movie PG-13 2021 105 minutes
Thunder Force Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 11 parent reviews

age 10+

Not for everyone, but we enjoyed!

We almost gave this a miss given the terrible reviews, but decided to give it a go since I loved the idea of a superhero movie with middle-aged women ;-) It's definitely quirky, but the whole family enjoyed it (our kids are 12 and 7). If you like Melissa McCarthy, you will like it; if you don't, you probably won't. There's plenty of swearing and innuendo but nothing our kids hadn't heard before and most of it went over the 7yo's head. There was a little too much beer swilling in the beginning for my taste, but nothing we couldn't talk about. Anyway, it's not a "kids" movie, but one I think is fine for many kids. And I loved seeing actors of all shapes, sizes, ages and colors get their chance to shine! The benefits of that far outweigh the jokes about brewskis and swearing to my mind.

This title has:

Great role models
2 people found this helpful.
age 9+

Great for Family Movie Night

Positive representation with silly moments. Easy win for tweens & families.

This title has:

Great role models
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (11):
Kids say (31):

Spencer plays straight woman to McCarthy's goofball antics in this fun, female take on the superhero genre. New ground is broken in terms of representation, but otherwise Thunder Force follows familiar formulas of "good guys vs. bad guys" with a comic twist, meaning its appeal to audiences will rest almost entirely on its stars. McCarthy invariably delivers the funniest lines and has the best pratfalls of Thunder Force, and her fling with Bateman's crab-man is priceless. She and Spencer, who seems a little less comfortable with the physicality of her role, make a great pair, and the script does a sufficient job of setting up their deep childhood bond and divergent paths. Memorable scenes include the duo crooning '80s ballads, squeezing in and out of their too-tiny Lamborghini, and reacting to Emily's grandma's conviction that they're secretly a couple. When Grandma Norma (Marcella Lowery) produces a wedding cake topper with two women, one Black and one White, Lydia cracks a joke asking which one is supposed to be her -- which is really the script's only reference to the two friends' different races. The fact that they're heavier, older, and a different gender from standard-issue movie superheroes is also treated as somewhat of a non-issue, outside of the Lamborghini gag and a couple of one-liners.

That doesn't mean that the film, which was written and directed by McCarthy's husband, Ben Falcone (who also has a small role), avoids issues of identity or representation. Thunder Force sends a clear female empowerment message, including having a woman named Gonzales as the mayor of Chicago, and it pokes gentle fun at older generations' attempts to be respectful of changing social norms, like when Lydia stumbles over her words trying to ask Emily's daughter the gender of the people she dates. McCarthy's blue-collar, beer-guzzling, hard rock-listening, pro sports-watching Lydia is perhaps the film's biggest stereotype, and it wouldn't be hard to draw connections between real-life fear-mongering politicians and Cannavale's The King, but both comic portrayals are played for laughs, not jabs. And with purposeful mention of the villainous mastermind being captured alive at the film's close, Thunder Force leaves open the possibility of a sequel.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate