Darwin was right
Directed by: Josh Trank.
Starring: Danbe DeHaan, Michale B. Jordan and Alex Russell.
This is not a superhero movie. The tagline "Boys will be boys", is appropriate even if I dismissed it at first. Give a teenager a toy, and not only will nostalgia sink in, but also he will reduce his maturity for a second to play. The found footage genre is nothing new. It has been a part of cinema since the 1980's but only reach popular status with movies such as The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, REC and Paranormal Activity. Chronicle is the next addition to the genre, which could have done fairly well without it in my opinion. It carries surprising performances, character development, and well-rendered visuals.
The story mostly focuses on a socially awkward high school student named Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) who buys a camcorder to film his life in school and the effects of his abusive father at home, while his mother dies in agony from her sickness. I must point out that in any narrative, if the main character, be it man or woman, be that their parent abuses them or abandons them, is a perfect formula for any movie. Depending on the parent or the event that changed their life, how they act could be good or dangerous. Our main character is very relatable. He struggles with mundane problems even with his newfound powers. Not being necessarily a hero movie, its character also contain the basic formula of once a nerd turned Adonis.
After enjoying a rave, Andrew, the popular jock Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan) and Detmer's cousin Matt Garetty (Alex Russell) enter a rabbit hole and discover a mysterious crystal object emitting rays that later unlock a thousand years of evolution; giving them superpowers. It's really a fun trip watching our unlikely trio explore their new powers. While the visuals don't nearly do justice to the baseball or the car turned tin can, it gets the point across. Unlike the show Heroes, our characters aren't fully limited to their abilities. They do have fun, but slowly learn the risks involved, that could hurt someone or nearly kill them in the process.
In the course of the movie, Andrew Detmer finally earns recognition after a talent show and receives the respect he always wanted. But, as usual, something has to happen to ruin the moment that the protagonist returns to being a socially awkward pathetic excuse for flesh. Sometimes a good slap is needed to tell these people they are loved and not worthless. Even knowing who will become the villain in the end is obvious, but the journey to this event is always enjoyable, and Chronicle ventures it with a fresh interpretation.
The acting is great for actors who aren't completely known across the world, but have assured themselves a spot in the roster, having this movie to thank for their future success. We lead to our third act as the main character battles it out with his cousin. It is electrifying and intense. A battle that could have, should have been in Superman Returns but no, not even that. With all the cameras flying around, it actually looked impressive. While it was a surprise production, I didn't really need to be "found footage".
Overall, Chronicle is a refreshing look at the hero genre while not exactly being one. Science fiction salutes you.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.