Posted on 9/08/12 05:10 PM
These days, superhero movies with "Marvel" or "DC" written all over them are hard to find. Sure, I love getting my serving of colorful, overpowered heroes, but it's always nice to get a superhero movie that does something different. Chronicle does this perfectly, offering up a movie that gives a realistic take on the superhero genre, showing what a group of teenagers would really do if they were granted out-of-this-world powers.
Presented in found footage format, the movie centers around Andrew Demeter, his cousin Matt, and their friend Steve, the popular candidate for class president. While at a party, the three discover a mysterious hole in the ground in the woods. Being a group of normal guys, they enter the hole, and what they find inside grants them what they would consider "superpowers".
The trio soon learns that their powers can be used for their senior pranks, but they must be controlled. This is especially tough for Andrew, who needs a way to filter his rage, considering his mother is deathly ill and his father is a violent alcoholic, often physically abusing him for no particular reason.
The movie really takes the superhero genre, and makes it a little realistic. These guys use their powers for their own personal entertainment: harassing patrons of a supermarket, making a leaf blower blow a girl's skirt up, or even flying. This is where the film really shines. The film had me genuinely laughing up until the brisk turn the film takes in the second half.
The acting is superb, considering the actors are unknown for the most part. Dane DeHaan plays the demented, troubled Andrew, and Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan are great as Matt and Steve, respectively. Dane DeHaan is perfect in his role, making you feel sorry for his character's situations in life. Dane DeHaan shines as Andrew, making us really feel bad for the situations his character is in. What really excels, however, is the chemistry between these three, which keeps you hooked throughout the movie.
Considering the movie is a found footage film, the special effects aren't great. They certainly aren't bad for the budget the filmmakers were given, $15 million, but they seem like they could have had more potential. For example, there's a scene where Andrew, Matt, and Steve are goofing off with their powers by playing with some LEGOs. Matt struggles to put two simple pieces together, so Andrew shows him that he can build the Space Needle out of the plastic toys. The pieces fly around in a goofy looking manner, questioning the realism.
Chronicle was director Josh Trank's first feature film, and he did fantastic. The movie manages to be unique in years full of blockbuster superhero movies and not-so-great found footage movies, providing a nice change of pace. Not only that: it manages to compare to the other big name superhero movies released this year, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, and is one of the best movies of the year.