Yes another superhero film, but wait this time it is filmed in the found footage way that is being slightly overdone. However, for this film it works. The drawbacks of using a handheld camera are obvious and hinder the film later when the action really kicks up. The movie isn't entirely about super heroes per say but a look into teenagers. The plot centers around Andrew, who has a very rough home life and almost no social life. You give a person like himself powers and he becomes a danger to everyone as he lacks self control in pivotal situations. The message in the film is very clear, and directed at bullying in school. You can only push someone so far before they snap and do something terrible to themselves or to others. The way that someone snaps in this film is clearly dramatized due to the fact that the three main characters have nearly unlimited powers, but the message is still there.
In the beginning of the film we see Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) in his room who had just recently purchased a hand held camera that was fixated on his door. On the other side of the door was his abusive drunk father, and when Andrew said that he had purchased a camera, his father stopped knocking on the door and stopped yelling at him. Andrew is then picked up sometime later by his cousin Matt Garetty (Alex Russell) to drive him to school. Matt is a little thrown off by Andrew carrying around a handheld camera and tells him that he should put it down as it draws more negative attention to him. When they get to school, we immediately see that Andrew is an outcast at school as he is bullied at almost every corner. Matt tells Andrew of a party that night, and tells him that they should go. Andrew is reluctant but to stop Matt from continuously pestering him, he gives in. When they reach the party, Andrew still feels like an outcast and Matt leaves his side to avoid being made fun of. Andrew walks outside to get away from it all and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) walks up to him all excited saying he needs to see something he and Matt found. When Steve and Andrew catch up with Matt, they find a giant hole in the middle of nowhere that emanates some weird vibrations. The three investigate and find something inside that grants them powers.
The three grow fairly close to each other as they learn to push the boundaries of their abilities. Matt realizes that their powers are like a muscle, the more they flex it without pushing themselves to far than the stronger it gets. They start to practice with a baseball in their backyards, then move to a toy store to mess with people setting up a couple of the funniest scenes in the film. Things then really kick up when Steve realizes that they all have the power to fly setting a stunning scene in terms of visuals. Things however quickly spiral out of control for Andrew when he gets a taste of a social life after he impresses at a talent show and goes to a party afterwards. At the party he ends up throwing up on a girl, he begins to lose it especially seeing how his father confronts him once again. All in all it is a story we are all familiar with for the most part, but it is all done in a refreshing way. Due to the trailers and plot, it is fairly easy to see the way the film will pan out but it keeps you engaged throughout the entire time.
The three main characters all are relatively people that we all see in everyday life. The one angsty teenager, the jock and the popular kid at school. However, the three actors all breathe a certain likable trait or two into their respective characters that truly allow you to recognize and appreciate these characters even more. Dane DeHaan does a good job as Andrew, and it wouldn't be too surprising if his job in this leads to a couple more in the future. I read some other reviews that compared him to a young Dicaprio, I wouldn't go that far. Michael B. Jordan as Steve provided some of the funniest scenes in the entire film and was genuine in all of his scenes, but didn't have much screen time to really shine. Alex Russell as Matt was a very straight forward role and a very straight forward performance. He didn't do much to stand out. In fact, any actor could have been inserted into the part and it would have netted the same result. Considering this is the first film that director Josh Trank has done, it is a very good debut. To know surprise he is actually now talked as being the director of the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. Chronicle was better than I expected, but it did have a few drawbacks. Some of those drawbacks can be attributed to the shaky camera, some even can point to the ending. The film had me hooked all the way through, and then lost me a bit in the final few moments. With a strong ending this film could have been something really special.
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