Two middle-aged strong women endowed with powers of strength and invisibility fighting mutant sociopaths to the tunes of rock-n-roll – are you kidding me? This is coolness overloaded! Written and directed by Ben Falcone, ‘Thunder Force’ is one of those rare superhero films that leave no tables unturned to break the gender stereotypes latent in canonical superhero action flicks. Hilarious, gripping, and compelling in parts, the film manages to keep the audience engaged through gruesome action sequences and sumptuous bantering, owing much of it to an effortlessly bubbly Melissa McCarthy.
Towards the end of the film, a bomb is about to blow up the mayor-elect and her supporters, but the new defenders of the city are prompt to reach the venue, and thankfully, the bad guys are defeated. But that’s not all, folks, since there remain a few plot points worth pondering over. If the ending of ‘Thunder Force’ has left you looking for answers, we would be happy to indulge in a conversation and clarify your doubts. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Thunder Force Plot Synopsis
The narrative begins with a premise that gives ground to what is going to happen in the rest of the film. We are told through snippets of comic art that in March 1983, a pulsating interstellar cosmic-ray struck the Earth, causing drastic genetic mutations in some and giving them unimaginable superpowers. Unfortunately, only brains predisposed to sociopathic tendencies can receive these special abilities. They are referred to as “miscreants.”
In the first scene, Emily Stanton’s scientist parents are killed in a miscreant attack, and Emily is determined to grow up and create a genetic formula that will give normal people superpowers so that they can match in combat with the renegade miscreants. At school, Emily is a smart and timid girl saved from bullies by Lydia, and they form a close friendship that lasts through their teenage years. The besties are, however, far from compatible since Emily is a girl driven by future ambitions and Lydia is, well, a slacker.
Emily feels that Lydia is holding her back from achieving her cause, and they drift apart. Time flies. Lydia is now a middle-aged crane operator, but deep down inside, she is still the same awkward and careless teenager who is into classic rock. After surviving an attack at the hands of the miscreant Laser, Lydia heads towards her usual go-to eatery: Frank’s Diner. Frank is a weird man who dabbles in random anecdotes, but he seems to be good at heart as he gives Lydia Emily’s number and urges her to contact Emily.
Lydia texts Emily, asking her to come to the school reunion, but when she does not arrive, Lydia takes it upon herself to go to Emily’s office. Emily (Octavia Spencer plays the grown-up version) has made it big – she is the showrunner of the conglomerate Stanton 4.0, situated in a posh neighborhood in downtown Chicago. After receiving cold treatment from Emily, Lydia fools around in the lounge, sipping beer. She decides to explore a room filled with tech stuff but gets accidentally injected with a serum that would give her absolute strength.
After going through a rigorous 33-day training process, Emily can be invisible, and Lydia can pretty much destroy a hammer-and-bell carnival game. Suited in flashy armors, Bingo (Emily) and Hammer (Lydia) team up as “Thunder Force” to take the bad guys down, with a little help from Emily’s daughter Tracy and former intelligence officer and Emily’s right-hand woman, Allie.
Thunder Force Ending: Is The King Dead?
After the election results are declared, the lost mayoral candidate The King (Bobby Cannavale) throws a party to commemorate the Chicago mayor-elect Rachel Gonzales, seemingly as a gesture of goodwill. The party is, however, a trap, as the closeted miscreant intends to blow the entire venue up in smoke. After getting this valuable piece of information from a date with the half-creant Crab (Jason Bateman), Lydia goes to tell Emily about the evil plan of The King.
Together, the heroes devise a strategy to enter the premise through the back door and disarm the bomb. Allie is a traitor, and after information is divulged by her to the bad guys, the super-duo is attacked by the miscreant, Laser. Emily is taken by surprise, but Lydia manages to throw a dumpster at Laser, in effect wounding her. Emily resonates that as the party commences on the 30th floor, the bomb must be hidden in Rachel Gonzales’ campaigning office on the 29the floor. But when they get there, The King and his motley crew are waiting to give them the harsh treatment.
Emily takes down The King’s men, and Lydia tackles The King himself. The King initially manages to hold his ground, but with the defeat of Laser, there is not much he can do. Lydia breaks a beam and takes a swing at The King, and he disappears out of the picture, drawing a massive crevice into the building. However, in the final moment of the film, we get to know from the new mayor that while The King is in custody, he is not dead yet. This thread gives us hope for a prospective sequel.
Is Lydia Alive?
Well, it’s pretty difficult to kill a determined woman with a knack for throwing buses and eating raw chicken. Lydia Berman, my friend, is a force to be reckoned with. A die-hard fan of baseball and old-school rock/metal acts such as Van Halen and Slayer, Lydia is a born superhero. While she acquires her inhuman strength through a happenstance event, it feels that she is naturally predisposed to be a savior.
In the final moments of the film, Lydia can defeat the villain boss, The King, but the bomb is yet to be deactivated. It’s a considerably intricate ticking time bomb, and Emily says that she would rather not take the chance of deactivating the bomb herself since that can be dangerous. On the other hand, Tracy suggests that her newfound Flash-like superpowers would allow her to take the bomb out of the city in the blink of an eye, but Emily’s maternal instincts do not let that happen.
At this juncture, Lydia takes an assertive stance and jumps into the Chicago River, holding the bomb in her bosom. The bomb explodes, and Lydia’s body is discovered. When Emily is lamenting over the body of Lydia, she wakes up with a burp. To everyone’s astonishment, Lydia is alive, although she has swallowed a lot of water. The final moments of the film see Lydia and Crab having a romantic moment together, feasting on raw chicken fillets.
How Does Tracy Get Her Superpowers?
This is a question that is bound to puzzle you. When Lydia goes through the genetic modification treatment, it takes her 33 days to fully actualize her powers. It takes a considerable amount of time for Emily as well, as she is only able to channel her power of invisibility after swallowing multiple pills. However, Tracy seems to transform herself genetically in a significantly lesser amount of time. After hitting the double-timing Allie unconscious, Tracy is again seen in the final battle, where her entry marks the defeat of Laser. She has been transformed into a female Flash of sorts, and that too, out of nowhere.
Emily seems to be surprised, and so are we. While unexpected entries in action sequences are a thing in superhero movies, and Tracy’s arrival gives the duo some relief, her sudden transformation is still seemingly inexplicable. One theory can be that Emily has succeeded in modifying the formula of the serum, which now takes less time to react in the host’s body. However, the theory cannot explain how Tracy can get her own flashy “Thunder Force” suit in that small time window.
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