'Chronicle' Review: Found Footage Approach Breathes Life Into Superhero Genre

We all remember how cathartic it was watching Tobey Maguire beat up the school bully in the 2002 film “Spider-Man.” What scrawny kid hasn’t dreamed of doing just that, with or without the proportionate strength of a spider?

In “Chronicle,” three high school students obtain super powers and go on a prank tear that would impress Ashton Kutcher. And who can blame them?

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It’s thoroughly refreshing to see the “found footage” technique in “Chronicle” used for something other than a horror movie. And it makes sense for Facebook-friendly teens to haul a video camera around wherever they go. But while the movie’s first half is pure bliss, the final reel feels like we’re the ones being “Punk’d.”

The lives of high school buddies Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) are changed when they explore an odd underground tunnel and find an odd glowing artifact at the bottom. They emerge with the power to move objects with their minds. At first, they can pick up Lego pieces and twirl them in the air, but they more they flex their powers the stronger they become.

And we all know what Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said in the first “Spider-Man” feature, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

One of the three teens in “Chronicle” apparently fast-forwarded through that scene in the film.