Superhero movies seem to be taking over Hollywood. Not one year can go by without at least one blockbuster superhero movie being released. While I usually enjoy the mainstream superheros movies, it is becoming evident that each of them shares a desire to fill its running time with endless, and sometimes underwhelming, action sequences. Additionally, in a fair amount of the superhero movies, the characters and story are thrown to the side in favor of blockbuster movie thrills.
The new film "Chronicle" is something different all together. No only is it not your typical "superhero" film, but is also a film that seems to have benefited from its smaller budget. First time filmmakers Josh Trank and Max Landis were given just $ 12 million to make their film; that compared to the $ 258 million budget given to the disappointing third installment of the original Spider-Man trilogy. It would appear that Trank and Landis used every cent of their budget on the special effects, often sidestepping minor character and plot development. Still, the film is better than most of the action films being released today.
The story is ambiguous at best. Three friends at a party travel down a hole, at the bottom of which they obtain superpowers. It is worth noting here that I do not have a problem with the lack of detail about why the kids gain the powers they do. Some of the greatest films ever made have stories that really don't give you all the answers, and that's not always a bad thing. The biggest problem I have with the story is that it is hard to believe that these kids would find each other given their social and personal backgrounds. In addition, the story gives us few details about their lives before they obtain their superpowers. Throughout the film, we see small moments of character growth and development, but without any starting point to judge each character from it becomes hard to really form opinions about character progression. This is particularly true of Andrew, the character around which most of the film is centered. When the script does begin to talk about the events that occurred before we meet him, it shays away from the topics just as quickly as it originally brought them up.
Aside from the minor flaws with the characters and story, though, the film works to a large extent. As I mentioned, the special effects are awe-inspiring and very well presented. From start to finish, there are shots that will have you marveling at their presentation. There are also enough low-key shots punctuating the film that when the big special effect scenes do come, they only add in the best possible way to the overall film.
The running time is also worth a brief mention. At one hour and twenty minutes, "Chronicle" is a film that zips along. When the last scene draws to a close, I felt as if the movie ended where it should have and in the fashion that was best. Too many movies overstay their welcome, drawing out action sequences or other key scenes. This usually bogs down a film and gives it that "dragging" feeling. "Chronicle" doesn't suffer from this problem, though, and it made me enjoy the overall product that much more.
Overall, "Chronicle" is a good action movie. It is not your typical superhero movies and that ultimately makes it more enjoyable. It uses characters that younger adults can relate to and all of the minor elements are carefully crafted as to give moviegoers the best possible finished product.