The remake of Stephen King’s Firestarter is not a total dud. It has a few good moments where we see Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) trying to have a normal life in school. But when the kids are provoking her, it’s obvious what’ll next happen will be deadly. They’re only fanning the flames to awaken her pyrokinetic powers. Plus, she’s more likely to fight back instead of continue hiding.
She’ll have to make a hard choice to be a devil in disguise or an angel of vengence. Either way, the choice will result in people being immolated. However, in the grander scheme, this subplot doesn’t matter. Instead, it’s about the prisoners wondering what to do next after escaping the Gulag. Technically, this place is called The Shop, a place to train psychically gifted individuals to do their bidding. It’s easy to build upon this particular plot where gifted individuals (from other films, like Doctor Sleep) are brainwashed to fight for America. Charlie’s parents escaped from here, and whe was a baby when that happened.
In what I read between the lines is that she’s a Black Widow in training. There’s a subplot which hints at that idea, and another psionically gifted individual, Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes), is the result. He’s tasked to hunt them down, and he is everything Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) and Andy (Zac Efron) fears their little girl can become.
Anyone who read the novel knows the father gave the okay to unleash her powers. She’s asked to burn The Shop down, and as for which version feels more explosive, that’s the only part of the 80s film I vividly remember. Those moments from Mark Lester’s film makes this update look like a firework explosion rather than a nuke going off.
Had this cinematic reboot taken a page from David Yarovesky’s movie Brightburn, I’d feel more invested. Plus, only half of King’s Firestarter novel was adapted. I’m surprised the screenwriters didn’t want to use the book’s finale, where she reveals the conspiracy. And as for what’s next, it’s very unlikely a continuation will happen. Instead, the next plan is to create a prequel to Pet Semetary.
After this work, IT (Chapters 1 & 2), and Doctor Sleep, (movie review links) fans would think references to one another would begin. The Dark Tower didn’t do its job like the novels, and as for what’s next, it’s unlikely Salem’s Lot will offer anything to bring this universe together.
2 Stars out of 5