Wow. I just realized I started this review more than a year ago, back when I was in Kansas, and never posted it! Sadness. Well, if you haven’t seen the movie Chronicle yet (there might be, like, four of you out there), ENJOY! Caution: Contains SPOILERS.

Everybody remembers that kid. You know the one. The one who some openly picked on, too few defended, and everyone else just looked away and moved on with their lives. This is the story of one of those kids. Who gets superpowers. And surprise, all hell breaks loose.

Chronicle is about several types of kids, actually. The Haves, the Wants, and the Have-nots. Steve, a popular boy at school is a Have. Matt is a Want. He’s good looking and drives a muscle car, but he’s not terribly bright and kind of awkward. He’s on the verge of popularity. Then there’s Andrew. He’s the Have-not, pictured below.

Misguided. Misunderstood. Still kind of a jerk. Andrew is the type of kid, who, in a different movie, like Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion would come back to his 10-year reunion in a stretch limousine, blasting some killer 80’s jams (ask my fellow Man on the Run, Jamel, for a taste of his ‘Barney Stinson’s Party Tunes’ mix for music examples from that era).

But this isn’t Romy & Michelle. And Andrew doesn’t come back to his high school in a limo. No. Instead, dude impales a car on the Space Needle in Seattle. Yeah, it’s that kind of a movie.

One of the things I loved most about this movie was the slow burn descent of Andrew into Lex Luthor. Or rather, descent into Lex Luthor with Superman’s powers.

The kid’s had a hard life. His mom’s dying of cancer, his Dad’s an abusive drunk, he’s getting trounced at school, and even his cousin, the aforementioned Matt, thinks he’s a bit of a weirdo. When you’re getting it from all sides, sometimes the only way out isn’t up, it’s down.

And down he goes.

I’m not going to walk you through the entire movie. If you haven’t seen it, the three kids above, by pure chance, stumble upon an alien… something (spacecraft? meteor?)… and slowly develop superpowers (flight, super strength, invulnerability, telekinesis, great hair… okay, kidding on that last one) and then have to figure out what to do with them.

Seriously, would you still make it to 2nd period Algebra every day if you could fly anywhere or swat a bus away like a fly?

And it’s exactly that kind of question that most intrigued me about Chronicle. Holy crap, what would I do if I had these powers? Each of the boys has different thoughts on that topic — gain even more popularity, prank kids and girls at school, use our powers ‘for good’ — but it’s not until Andrew gets a brief taste of popularity, and then loses it, that things start to take a turn to the Dark Side. He starts to use his powers to push back on the bully’s at school, and even his abusive, alcoholic father at home, then he tries to rob a convenience store for money to pay for his mom’s pills, and then his mother succumbs to cancer, and, well that’s when…

Andrew doesn’t take the death of his mother very well. He doesn’t take much well, truth be told. He’s just a kid. A scared, confused kid whose life has had more ups then downs. Sadly, his character reminds me of any number of bullied kids who finally decide enough is enough and make it onto the evening news. Except this one can fly. Or punch you through a wall without breaking a sweat.

More than anything, to me, the movie is a great deconstruction of that question from earlier: What would YOU do if anything was possible. Of course, by anything, I don’t really mean anything, and that’s the problem. Andrew’s superpowers don’t make others believe he’s cool, or heal his mom, or do any of a hundred things I’m sure he’d love. Instead they make him fast, strong, and POWERFUL. And, when he’s at the end of his rope, his sanity, he uses that power to lash out at a world that’s treated him cruelly, and the ‘unfair’ life he was born into.

And honestly, if you were in his shoes, would you be able to avoid doing the same?

If you haven’t seen Chronicle yet (yes, the four of you), at least give it a rental. It’s a solid 111 minutes of story, character development, and a glorious super fight scene at the end.

Think I’m crazy? Agree wholeheartedly? Sound off in the comments and stay on the run!

– Joe Holt