Movie Review: Firestarter (2022)
Synopsis: As college students, Andy and Vicky McGee took part in a research project involving a special chemical designed to enhance their psychic abilities and the experiment had powerful results, both for them and their daughter, Charlie, who is able to set things on fire with her mind, often as a result of impulse because of her young age and her powers still have the potential to grow. Already hiding from DSI, the company that gave them their abilities, the family finds itself in danger when Charlie accidentally sets off an explosion at school and draws attention to their whereabouts.
Review: As I have gotten older, I have grown less interested in watching remakes of popular movies from my childhood, especially movies that are basically the same plot with different actors. However, it has been a long time since I saw the 1984 version of this movie, to the point I really don't even remember it. Plus, there wasn't much on TV last night. So, my wife and I gave this one a try.
As I said, I don't remember the original film and won't try to compare the two movies as a result. However, as a standalone film, without the original being taken into consideration, I thought this was pretty good.
I think the thing I liked best about this was Charlie (Armstrong). The movie, as you can guess just from the title, centers around her. Yet, she is the one character who is a bit of a wildcard throughout.
In addition to her inability to control her powers, it's also clear the ability to set things on fire is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what she can do - including the ability to both read and manipulate minds. Stuff like that is scary when an adult possesses them. A young child who is prone to emotional outbursts and overreactions is downright terrifying.
I do think the movie could have used a better bad guy. Captain Hollister (Reuben) maybe had ulterior motives for wanting to bring Charlie to DSI but at the same time, putting her in a controlled environment that could help her understand her powers better didn't seem like such a bad idea. Even if they end up using her as a military weapon, it still did seem a lot better than her accidentally killing innocent people (or purposely killing people who weren't necessarily evil, just doing their jobs).
If anything, I think an argument could be made about Andy (Efron) being the real villain. His reasons for not wanting to teach Charlie how to control and use her powers just never made sense, especially since her inability to control them was what was keeping her (and everyone around her) in danger. It made even less sense when she eventually mastered them by herself in a matter of hours. I honestly started to wonder if he was truly trying to protect Charlie or was just concerned about his own wellbeing.
Final Opinion: It's far from perfect and probably could have used a slightly longer runtime to prevent the ending from seeming a bit rushed. However, we were entertained by it and that's all that really matters.
My Grade: B