FIRESTARTER (2022) – My rating: 6.5/10

A young girl stares forward with an angered expression, as fire rages behind her.

Firestarter is a science fiction thriller directed by Keith Thomas, from a screenplay by Scott Teems, based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King and serving as a remake of the 1984 film adaptation. It is produced by Jason Blum and Akiva Goldsman under their Blumhouse Productions and Weed Road Pictures banners, respectively, alongside BoulderLight Pictures and Angry Adam Pictures.  I was amazed to find Firestarter in theaters as well as on Peacock.  Of course, I had to see it since it’s about a superhero.

The film begins with a flashback of an emotional baby in her crib, who spontaneously sets the room on fire with her superpowers, which sends her father (Zac Efron) Andrew “Andy” McGee into a panic.

Firestarter profiles the life of 11-year-old Charline “Charlie” McGee (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), who was born with special abilities.  She had no idea how to control her powers or how powerful she actually was.  Apparently, her father Andy, and mother Victoria “Vicky” (Sydney Lemmon) also have powers but Charlie appears to have more advanced powers than both of her parents since she also inherited their abilities.  Because Andy and Vicky allowed themselves to be injected with an experimental drug called Lot-6, many years ago, they obtained superpowers. Andy gained telepathy and Vicky, telekinesis. As Charlie grew older, she became more and more powerful.  It was feared she could crack the universe in two with a mere emotion of anger.  Despite being taught morals, like not stealing or killing people, she constantly set people, places, and, things on fire.  The entire family was hunted by an organization called DSI, led by Captain Jane Hollister (Gloria Reuben), which mostly put Charlie in jeopardy.

I found Firestarter to be dark and somewhat slow.  The story was nothing we haven’t heard before.  However, these actors were totally believable. After seeing Firestarter, I’m not a big fan.  The story became complicated when a superhuman bounty hunter named John Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes) was assigned by DSI to track Charlie down. John seemed obsessed with capturing Charlie and despite all the damage he caused, no harm came to him.  I was never sure of his story. As of May 29, 2022, Firestarter has grossed $8.1 million in the United States and Canada and $3.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $11.9 million. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 11% of 141 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 3.7/10. The website’s consensus reads, “There was plenty of room to improve on the original, but Firestarter trips over that low bar and tumbles toward the bottom of the long list of Stephen King adaptations.” In May 2022, Thomas stated that there are ongoing discussions to possibly expand the film into a franchise, acknowledging that this may be in the form of a sequel, prequel, or spin-off media. Firestarter is playing in theaters and streaming on Peacock — Check It Out!


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