‘Firestarter’ Ending, Explained: What Changed Rainbird’s Heart? Did Charlie Save Herself?


Based on the Stephen King novel, the newly released “Firestarter” was perhaps an attempt at making a better remake of the original “Firestarter” film that was released in 1984. But the latest version of it does not live up to the expectations. The rage within Charlie that stems from personal loss does not ultimately end up creating a ripple that could affect the authorities who casually experimented with chemicals on teenagers, which makes the film miss the mark. The lack of purpose or the ultimate rise of the sole voice to speak against the injustice of an experiment conducted by the government is terribly missed. “Firestarter” rather feels like one of the ‘X-Men’ films.

Charlie, a young girl, is born with pyrokinetic powers, and her parents are aware of it. They try to hide her from government agents who want to conduct research on her.

‘Firestarter’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

As a newborn, Charlie had the power to set things on fire. Her pyrokinetic abilities were no surprise to her parents. Her father, Andy McGee, had telepathic power, and her mother, Vicky, had telekinetic capabilities. They hid their powers from their daughter since it was the reason why they had to always be on the run. Charlie managed to suppress her power for quite some time with a method her father taught her. She focused on the things that she could visually see to divert her attention and anger. But as she grew older, she found it difficult to control her rage. Her classmates made fun of her since she did not have a cell phone or Wi-Fi at home. She was marked as the weird girl in class, and that bothered her. She wanted to burn down the people who hurt her, but Andy always advised her to never use her power.

Andy used his power to earn his living. He was a life coach who helped people with their addictions. With a crack of his neck and a deep look into his patient’s eyes, he was able to hypnotize them. His sessions were expensive, but people paid him, knowing their effectiveness. But the continuous use of his superpower affected his health. He started to bleed from his eyes as a result of a series of slow brain hemorrhages. Vicky stopped practicing her power, knowing its ill effects. But she believed that Charlie needed to learn to use her powers wisely instead of suppressing them as Andy had advised.

Things take a turn when the bullies at Charlie’s school harass her. Even though she wanted to control her temper, she found it extremely difficult to do so. She ran to the washroom and turned on the taps. She locked her inside a chamber. She was followed by her teacher, who entered the washroom and felt the eeriness of the situation. The room was filled with steam from the boiling water, and the taps that were open suddenly stopped pouring altogether. In her trembling voice, Ms. Gardner asked Charlie if she was alright. Charlie advised her teacher to leave her alone from inside the chamber. A few seconds later, there was an explosion in the chamber that knocked off the door.

Andy and Vicky were called to the school as a result of Charlie’s behavior and damage. The school assumed that she had used an explosive to conduct the activity. After returning home, Andy knew that it was their time to run away from their house since The Department of Scientific Intelligence, or “The Shop,” would figure out a way to reach them and take Charlie away for research. The little girl started to blame herself for all that was happening to them. Vicky reminded Andy that it was important to teach Charlie how to use her power as that would help her to get it under control, but Andy continued to argue that suppression was the only way to stay hidden. In that hurried moment of anger, they explained to Charlie how they were being tracked because of their powers, and that was the reason why they could not have cell phones or Wi-Fi. Charlie started to hate herself all the more. She was not special like her mother tried to make her believe. She was rather a monster who was being hunted for. She burned the hands of her mother in a rage, though she later confessed that it was meant for her father. The incident in the school was a trigger that started Charlie’s journey of self-discovery and ultimately acceptance of herself for who she was.

Major Spoilers Ahead

Who Was The Rainbird? What Changed His Heart?

The incident at the school was studied by the Department of Scientific Intelligence (DSI; “The Shop”). The new head of the DSI, Captain Hollister, wanted to get hold of the girl. She wanted to train her and bring her under their control to ultimately exploit her power. She contacted “Rainbird,” an assassin who had previously worked for the DSI, and helped them get rid of such a hindrance. He currently works as a janitor. After months of staying out of work, “Rainbird” agreed to the assignment, but this time he was requested to bring the girl alive.

Charlie was overwhelmed after the incident with her mother. Vicky forgave her daughter, knowing that it was not under her control. She asked Andy to take her to a movie or get her ice cream. Alone at her house, Vicky could feel an ill presence. She turned around to find Rainbird sitting on their sofa chair. He asked her about Charlie’s location. Rainbird also had telepathic capabilities and figured out the location. She ran away from his grasp and locked herself inside her room. She used her telekinetic power and started to throw objects at Rainbird. Since she was out of practice, she often missed the target, but she tried her best to keep the threat away. Ultimately, he got hold of her and choked her to death. When Charlie and Andy returned, he grabbed Charlie and asked Andy to surrender. He told them that they could not get away even if they tried. Charlie continuously asked him about her mother, and ultimately, she lost control of her rage, and her telepathic capabilities helped her release her mother, who was locked in a cupboard. She knew that the man had killed her mother, so she screamed and started a fire that destroyed their house. Andy took Charlie away in his car.

Rainbird was able to find them once again at the farmer’s, Irv’s, house. Charlie and Andy sought shelter at the good man’s house, who provided them with a place to stay for the night and food to eat. Andy offered him money and hypnotized him to make him accept the offer. Charlie bonded with Irv’s wife, Essi, who was bound to the bed after an accident. Even though she could not speak, Charlie could communicate with her. When Irv doubted their intention, especially after Andy’s face was all over the news for murdering his wife and kidnapping his daughter, Charlie helped him understand the situation. She told him that Essi had wanted to say one thing for years now: that she forgave him for the accident. Irv was surprised to know that Charlie could communicate with his wife and was grateful for the message. He realized that she was special, and that was the reason why the police were after them. When the police arrived at his place, whom he had called before his confrontation with Charlie, he pretended that it was a call made by mistake. While the police doubted him, a sniper shot them dead from behind the bush. It was Rainbird. Andy asked Charlie to run away while he attempted to play with Rainbird’s mind. The men from the department arrived to take away Andy and Rainbird. They had protective lenses on to handle the men.

When Captain Hollister asked Rainbird why he allowed the girl to run away, he replied by saying that she would come to the DSI headquarters to look for her father. He added that Charlie was his sister and his mother. She was the rage that they kept hidden from the world. He knew that she would bring death upon him, and he was ready to take it as that was the fate he deserved. It was only after encountering the magnanimous power of Charlie that Rainbird realized that the young girl was above them all. She would destroy anyone who came for her or her family, and he started respecting her as the all-powerful one who was the culmination of all of their strengths.

‘Firestarter’ Ending Explained: Who Brought Charlie To The Dsi Headquarters? What Does The Last Scene Symbolise?

Charlie ran away to a nearby forest. She stayed there the night and practiced hitting her mark. After trying over and over again, she could finally control her power and use it in the right way. She wanted to know where her father was, and she tried to communicate. She envisioned the DSI headquarters and knew that it was where her father was held captive. She hypnotized young boys on the road and took one of the bikes and wore their clothes to travel to find her father. By night, she stood in front of the DSI building. She slipped inside the car of an agent and sought information from him. She managed to learn that her father was kept in the basement. The moment the man tried to reach for his gun, she targeted him, and he caught on fire. The security was alerted of the sudden activity. As she entered, she started to destroy the CCTV cameras. She finally reached the place where her father was kept, but soon realized that it was all an elaborate trap set for her to step into. Her father had not contacted her; it was Rainbird who had brought her there with his powers. She was greeted by Captain Hollister, who asked her to be a part of their team. She promised to keep her well and train her, but her father rubbished all her claims. He knew that his daughter would be a killing machine working for the government and nothing more. She asked her to stop running since there would never be an end to it and instead destroy it all. Since Charlie could not bring herself to target the spot where her father and the Captain stood, he hypnotized her and made her attack.

Once that was done, Charlie started to burn all those who tried to cross her path. When she was being held by men wearing non-inflammable suits, Rainbird came and shot all the men. He surrendered himself to Charlie and waited for her to burn him. Even though Charlie hated him for killing her mother, she could not bring herself to destroy him. She left the area and finally burned down the entire headquarters. In the end, Charlie fell to her knees after all the strength she had lost. Rainbird stood beside her and offered her his hand. Charlie accepted his help, and he carried her to safety. The character of Rainbird is empathetic and different from the original. He was not fascinated by her powers to destroy her, but rather her power made him surrender himself. He had always believed that they could not run away from the DSI, but after meeting Charlie, he knew that she was the messiah they needed to destroy the enemy.

It is a short video recording that explains Andy and Vicky’s superpowers. They were part of a government-sponsored experiment, where teenagers and college goers were injected with water and a hallucinogenic substance called LOT-6. While many faced terrible consequences and started to destroy their surroundings, Andy and Vicky had gained supernatural powers. Their daughter, Charlie, was born as a “butter muffin,” and her body temperature skyrocketed beyond normal as a newborn.

Much of “Firestarter” focuses on how Andy wanted Charlie to be different. He did not wish for her to be a destroyer but rather to use her power for the betterment of society, just like he did. He regretted murdering two federal agents when they took away his daughter, knowing that they too had families. But in the end, when he realized that they would always be hunted down for their abilities, he advised his daughter to destroy them all. It did not matter if Charlie redirected her intentions for betterment; she would still be hunted down for experimentation. It was them against the brutality of the world, and he asked her to choose herself.

“Firestarter” is a 2022 Drama thriller film directed by Keith Thomas.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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