The Girl in the Spider's Web Reviews
And that's precisely what led us to this pass. The Girl in the Spider's Web. An ill-administered film made years after the franchise had faded, based loosely on a book not written by the creator of the series, by a studio indifferent to its success, and a team not suited for this kind of picture. But credit must be given where it is due. Claire Foy commits admirably to make the best of a doomed situation and must be commended for courage under fire. She is the third actress to play the heroine Lisbeth Salander, and while she is easily the weakest version, she still gives a capable run, dying on a hill no else cared to defend. The film itself makes an inexplicable error - it tries to become an action film in the vein of the Bond series or Mission Impossible. While the Millennium novels have always had connections to 007 (look it up) Lisbeth Salander's adventures were always small scale and slow-burn mysteries. Both the series and the character are ILL EQUIPPED to deal with the game of shadowy terrorist organizations, stolen nuclear codes, dodging explosions, rogue NSA agents, hallway firefights, and chases involving motorcycles and supercars. I shit you not. That is the plot of our Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sequel.
There is a scene early on in which Salander does what she does best - punishing the shit out of assholes who abuse women. And that's probably the best scene of the film, because it is the only one with any pulse. While it's obvious that they probably should have made smaller scale versions of the rest of the original trilogy instead of this misfire, I'm not sure they could even accomplish that. Some characters from the series return in dramatically altered form, such as Mikael Blomkvist, and are largely given nothing to do. Fede ┴lvarez was successful in his attempt to remake Evil Dead for the 21st century, but it's clear that he was given little freedom here, as there is little to no artistic stamp present. Gone is the neurotic, but charming claustrophobia of the Swedish trilogy or the cold, slick beauty of Fincher's film. What we have is a lifeless, pointless piece of drivel filled to brim with action and double-crosses, yet it remains boring and inert. I highly doubt this is going to get any academy awards. I can't even recommend Spider's Web as a rental or on Netflix. You have better things to do with your time.
While this new Lisbeth Salander story isn´┐ 1/2(TM)t actively bad it is a rather dim film both in terms of its aesthetic and some of the decisions both the plot and its characters make. Examples? Sure-within a single scene we´┐ 1/2(TM)re led to believe that a main child character is something of a genius and also that he wouldn´┐ 1/2(TM)t know better than to take the bait of his dead dad calling his cell phone which is of course a ploy so the bad guys can track him.
Alvarez also gets a screenwriting credit alongside Jay Basu and Steven Knight ( Locke) and while there is a sense of some symmetry, some poetry even, to the writing there simply isn´┐ 1/2(TM)t that solid hook that pulls one into the mystery of it all as a good crime thriller or murder/mystery should. There are some really brutal and fairly creative moments in terms of the many kills that happen and the sometimes extreme emphasis on the violence of those situations, but how much of this should be credited to the screenwriters and how much comes from the David Lagercrantz novel is uncertain. On the other end of things, some of the action Alvarez stages is borderline incomprehensible and Foy, for all her effort, gets to actually act in maybe one scene.
Why Sony wouldn´┐ 1/2(TM)t cut Fincher´┐ 1/2(TM)s budget in half and let him continue his franchise with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig will always be something of a mystery, but in attempting to re-boot the franchise (with only an $8 million opening weekend I think we can safely assume this franchise is dead) Sony has made a movie that was both a waste of time for them and, unfortunately, the small audience that will venture out to see it.
If you have read the book, The Girl in the Spiders Web, and are looking forward to seeing the book's plot and characters come to life on the big screen, you will be sorely disappointed. In fact I was so disappointed I could not fathom how author David Lagercrantz would agree to have his very fine novel so horribly depicted.
The only similarity between the book and the movie is found in the name of the characters. The plot in the book has been totally ignored to the point where I can only assume the writer of the screen play apparently didn't even bother to read the book.
One of the key characters in the book is August Balder, played by Christopher Convery in the movie. August is a severely autistic child who is unable to speak. I think he uttered one or two words in the book; however in the movie he is a real chatterbox and exhibits little of the traits of the character in the book.
Claire Foy takes a run at the Lisbeth Salander character, but simply isn't Lisbeth Salander as portrayed in any of the now five books that define her.
Sylvia Hoeks and the movie's make-up department apparently didn't read the book either. In the book Camilla is described as an extraordinarily beautiful, classy woman who certainly stands out in a crowd. In the movie Camilla is made to look like a rather ordinary commoner which is too bad, because there is no doubt Sylvia Hoeks can be a very stunning woman.
The movie is a huge disappointment. Save your money and read the book. That's where you will get real value if you are a fan of the Millennium Series, plus two.