In every superhero origin story, there’s always a debate about using one’s superpowers – for good? for wealth? for evil? We see this in X-MEN – the philosophical battle between Profession Xavier and Magneto. In the long-running TV series, SMALLVILLE, young Clark Kent’s powers are tempered by his mid-Western upbringing. SPIDERMAN, FANTASTIC FOUR, the list goes on as superhumans learn – either bitterly or humorously, the cost and responsibility of their powers.
So fast-forward to CHRONICLE, by first time film director Josh Trank and writer Max Landis (son of director, John Landis) to update this classic struggle.
With a hand held HD video camera for that PARANORMAL ACTIVITY meets CLOVERFIELD amateur video look, CHRONICLE is the story of 3 high school friends who discover a meteorite in a cave. Faster than you can say Kryptonite, the 3 friends begin to develop superpowers. First telekinesis, then flight, the friends quickly learn that their powers are like muscles that need training and practice to develop. And like any typical teens, they use their powers for the first part of the movie like an amped out JACK ASS, for practical jokes, beer pong, and football in the clouds. It’s also helpful that their powers help them attract the ladies as well.
But the 3 teens have very different personalities. Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a loner with an abusive father and a dying mother. His cousin Matt (Alex Russell) is a jovial jock. While buddy Steve (Michael B. Jordan) is mister popularity, running for school president.
Uh-oh! Loner with an abusive father and a dying mother? From Lex Luther to Magneto to The Joker, we know we’ve got the childhood trauma of a supervillain just percolating here. Dane DeHaan – with a bruised baby-face reminiscent of Leonardo DiCaprio in THIS BOYS LIFE – steals the film. He’s the loner with the video camera, a direct descendant from Wes Bentley’s character in AMERICAN BEAUTY – and that doesn’t bode well.
CHRONICLE delivers stunning special effects and a great story told from Andrew’s video camera’s point of view. To super hero movie fans, the elements are universal, but this way of storytelling is unique. I’m eager to see what the filmmakers and cast do next.
CLICK HERE to view the official trailer for “Chronicle”