One Of The Best Superhero Movies You've Never Seen Turns 10 Years Old Today

Cameron Frew

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One Of The Best Superhero Movies You've Never Seen Turns 10 Years Old Today

Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Studios

'What are you capable of?' One of the best superhero movies of the past decade is 10 years old today.

The 2010s brought two big-screen booms: the found-footage scary movie; and superheroes terraforming the box-office landscape forevermore. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe plotted a grand course to its Endgame, sleeper hits like Grave Encounters, V/H/S and Creep nourished horror-hounds.

In a post-Blair Witch and X-Men world, Josh Trank had an idea: what if the two sub-genres of cinema collided in a coming-of-age superhero story about high school boys with superpowers and how, inevitably, it would go wrong? In 2012, we got Chronicle.


Directed by Trank and written by Max Landis (the less we say about him, the better), it opens on a familiar sight: Andrew, a reclusive teenager (Dane DeHaan) filming himself in the mirror, shouting down his abusive father (Michael Kelly). At school, he's barely an inbetweener, hanging around his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) like a socially awkward limpet.

In a desperate bid for him to expand his horizons, Matt takes Andrew to a party, and in a series of half-drunken, angsty events, they end up venturing into the woods with the most popular guy in school (Michael B. Jordan) to investigate a mysterious, booming hole in the ground. There, they stumble upon a strange, gravity-defying object (think 2001: A Space Odyssey but star-shaped).

Dane DeHaan in Chronicle. (20th Century Studios)
Dane DeHaan in Chronicle. (20th Century Studios)

Somehow, the trio end up with amazing powers, including super-strength, telekinesis and the ability to fly. At first, they use them for mischief (scaring children in toy stores, blowing girls skirts like Marilyn Monroe on a subway grate) – but for one of them, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

There's genuine joy in watching them flex their superpowered muscles; throwing balls at one another's faces from wild angles, playing the world's highest game of catch before getting blindsided by a jumbo jet, using their tricks to perform magic for their peers. It also boasts an early era Michael B. Jordan performance showcasing the exact charisma that led him to Creed (and sadly, to Trank's disastrous Fantastic Four reboot).

Chronicle. (20th Century Studios)
Chronicle. (20th Century Studios)

Yet, the darkness creeps in like a vignette; the raw sight of a car being crushed with anger and power is jaw-dropping, and Trank uses the found-footage gimmick with breathless flair in a gnarly, rather terrifying finale.

Off a budget of just $12 million, Chronicle grossed more than $126 million at the box office – a modest hit by today's ballooned standards, but it's become a bit of a whispered favourite in recent years. Not to say it wasn't acclaimed, boasting a solid 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Even after all these years, with countless comic book movies and shows to gorge on, it's a potent reminder that 'not all heroes are super'.

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Topics: Film & TV, Entertainment, Michael B. Jordan, Film and TV

Cameron Frew
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