I was advised to check out Chronicle shortly after posting my review of The Dark Knight Rises, and along with the recommendation I was told that Chronicle was “the best superhero movie of 2012”.
Anyone who has read or listened to my earlier blogs on the aforementioned Batman movie or The Avengers will be aware I enjoyed both of those a great deal, and I have to admit I didn’t expect Chronicle to live up to either, so I wasn’t really disappointed that it didn’t, but I was a bit disappointed with what the film did have to offer.
It started off promisingly with a very real world high school setting, dealing with a slightly more real world version of Peter Parker, struggling at home, bullied at school, the usual troubled geeky teen thing (though with a slightly darker edge) and the origin story of him and some friends getting superpowers.
From the start it has a similar vibe to Monsters, which did a similar thing for alien invasion films as this wants to do for superheroes, and this actually works surprisingly well, with the found footage motif actually not being too distracting (although a few moments of, ‘why does he/she have a camera?’ did take me out of the realism a little bit), but, as the film goes on, I did find it seemed to lose its sense of originality and become something of a ‘best bits’ of other superhero movies just done via found footage.
As the characters develop their powers (they don’t really develop much beyond that, save for Andrew, however his development is very obvious) they become very much types we’ve seen before and it brings to mind, variously, Kickass, X-Men: First Class and Akira and doesn’t really seem to make much point with what it does beyond “superpowers in the real world may not be great” and then pretty much becomes any other superhero movie with a big fight scene with characters flying around an inner city setting.
This was a shame as I thought continuing its basis in reality would have led the film to a more interesting and convincing conclusion, rather than the somewhat cheesy point it ends on.
All this said for a film that clearly was much lower on budget than many of the films it apes it does look very good with some excellent special effects and, the first big flight sequence in particular is stunning.
But it did just seem to cop-out too much with its ending and, while there seems to be talk of a sequel, I don’t see how it could become anything but a cheaper rip off of the films it’s trying to comment on as it had already pretty much become this by the end of its 85 minute running time.