The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ marks the second US cinematic adaptation of the ‘Dragon Tattoo’ series, based on the successful novels by the late Stieg Larsson. After David Fincher’s adaptation of the first novel in the series in 2011, a new director and new cast have taken over to tackle the 4th in the series and the first book written after Larsson’s death. The premise of this film doesn’t mark a significant diversion from what we’ve seen before although it doubles down on the mythology of Lisbeth Salander, the punky computer hacker and heroine of the series. Claire Foy becomes the third actress to take over the role after Noomi Rapace (in the Swedish made trilogy) and Rooney Mara (in Fincher’s effort), and she’s the best thing about a movie that struggles to make its mark.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ picks up after the events of the original trilogy with Lisbeth acting as a vigilante, primarily taking down men who are violent towards women, depicted in one of the film’s best scenes right at the beginning. When she is hired by computer programmer Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant, one of many interesting casting choices in the film) to retrieve a dangerous computer program called Firefall, it draws her into a lot of trouble as the NSA and a group of mercenaries set out to track her and Balder down. I liked the film and I felt it was a good imitation of what made the original trilogy so enjoyable, but it was an imitation nonetheless and it never rose to the heights that series managed to hit. Focusing squarely on Salander is a good choice (journalist Mikael Blomkvist does appear, but in very much a supporting role), although I felt the attempts to draw her past and her family into the central story were heavy-handed and an unnecessary attempt to add more pathos to the narrative.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ is a fun, if inessential, return to the ‘Millennium’ series, and Lisbeth Salander is still a terrific heroine for the ages even as the filmmakers struggle to find a narrative worthy of her character.

Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Fede Alvarez

Starring: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, LaKeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant, Vicky Krieps, Claes Bang, Synnove Macody Lund, Cameron Britton and Andreja Pejic

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