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The One Thunder Force Scene That Makes Us Love Jason Bateman Even More

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

Jason Bateman is one of the most likable stars in Hollywood, with a sunny-yet-sardonic disposition and winning smile that instantly make his characters easy to root for. Of course, it doesn't hurt that so many TV fans watched him grow up from a cherubic-faced kid to, well, a cherubic-faced adult through some of his earliest roles in shows like Little House on the Prairie, Silver Spoons, and Valerie. But it's also thanks to his proven humor and scene-stealing screen presence that Bateman has become one of the most relatable and revered comedy actors in the industry right now.

In recent years, once he officially reached the A-list with his Golden Globe-winning turn as the lovably befuddled Michael Bluth in Arrested Development, Bateman began to subvert his own nice guy persona with some gritty and beguiling roles in films and television. In Bad Words, he played Guy Trilby, a bitter 40-year-old who uses a loophole to infiltrate a kids' spelling bee. In The Gift, he became Simon, a man who is forced to reckon with some of his own harmful behavior when an old acquaintance shows up to expose his hidden dark side. Meanwhile, Bateman's Emmy-nominated role as Marty Byrde in Ozark showcases just how much a man may be willing to do to protect and provide for his family.

Now, in Thunder Force, Bateman brings something entirely new to the table as the Crab, a man who has become part shellfish thanks to a radioactive crustacean bite and who now works for a Chicago crime boss who's hiding in plain sight. The Crab is like no character Bateman — or anyone else for that matter — has ever played, and there's one scene in particular that shows just how well Bateman can play the conflicted baddie... or, as calls it, the "half-creant."

Terrible tableside service for two

When we first meet the Crab, he's on the other side of a robbery that is thwarted by the newly-minted Thunder Team duo. After weeks of treatments and training, childhood besties-turned-superhero vigilantes Lydia (Melissa McCarthy) and Emily (Octavia Spencer) suit up for their first mission at a convenience store that the Crab and his criminal colleagues are holding up. Although it's a messy operation, the two manage to stop the Miscreant goons in their tracks. But even as Lydia puts a stop to the Crab's crime spree, she sees something she likes in him — including his giant red pincer arms.

Lydia and the Crab appear to have an instant, albeit odd connection. So she invites him out to dinner for a date that is both work and pleasure as she tries to snag some key intel about his boss, the King (Bobby Cannavale) by literally buttering the Crab up. The humor of the scene is gentle, but steady, and Jason Bateman's famous deadpanning skills come in handy as he keeps a straight face while delivering even the most uproarious lines. Consider the moment when he takes the waiter to task for recommending the seafood tower appetizer, saying, "I apologize for raising my voice, but I got bit on the ballbag by a radioactive crab, and I used to love shellfish, so my fuse is a little short. This is a triggering environment for me."

Bateman has long had a knack for being a grounding voice amid some slapstick screen situations — as with nearly the entire run of Arrested Development — but here, it's him who gets the chance to ratchet up the absurdity level with his dialogue, and he appears to have a lot of fun with it without ever showing a hint of breaking.

He's only half-bad

Jason Bateman also infuses the conversation in this scene with an intriguing mixture of soft flirtation and thinly veiled frustration. The Crab vacillates from being attentive and swoony with Lydia to being a curt customer who snaps at the other diners for staring at him after he breaks his martini glass with his clumsy claws, seething, "Don't be rude. Eat your dinner. Thank you."

Even as he's affectionate with Lydia, he still gets to be — dare we say it? — a bit crabby, like when she offers to help him hoist up his glass, and he quietly snaps at her suggestion with, "I'm not a child." At this point in the film, we don't yet know whether the Crab is putting on a deceptive charm offensive with Lydia or if he really does enjoy her company as much as he seems to, so Bateman does a great job of hamming him up just enough that you maintain that sense of disbelief about his true nature without thinking he's a full-fledged jerk.

This approach also helps to bolster the Crab's claim that he is only half-in on his chosen life of crime — partly loyal to the Miscreants but also bored by all the bloodshed and mayhem. While Lydia has arranged this meal in hopes of learning something new about the King that the Thunder Force team can use to their advantage, she also really does want to figure out whether the Crab is a worthy catch. So by being both blunt and amorous in equal measure, Bateman's performance as the conflicted character seems to sell her and audiences on his so-called self-identification as a "half-creant."