The Girl in the Spider's Web Review: A sequel that lacks the sincerity and emotional heft of the original
A film that is more interested in being Batman meets James Bond than in creating an iconic new hero in Lisbeth Salander
I do not think it would be right to talk about The Girl in the Spider's Web without talking about David Fincher's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. After all, the film is marketed as a sequel to the 2012 film. David Fincher's adaptation of the first of the three books of The Millenium Trilogy was quite radical for the time in that he adapted not the usual three-act structure but the lesser seen and known five-act structure with the titular character not revealed till the second act. That Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara had their own mini story arcs to solve the bigger story arcs lent the story a panache that wouldn't have been possible if it had focused only on Mara's Lisbeth Salander. But when Alvarez said that he wanted to reboot the franchise with an entirely new cast, he claimed that the 2012 film was one where Lisbeth was more in service to Blomkvist than being the iconic character that she is in the books.
Cast: Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, Lakeith Stanfield, Sverrir Gudnason, Vicky Krieps
Director: Fede Alvarez
As I walked out of The Girl in the Spider's Web, I felt that Dragon Tattoo had more heft in its story and was more faithful in its treatment of Lisbeth Salander than this film. Lisbeth is a hacker, "the righter of wrongs, the woman who fights for women who get mistreated at the hands of men", she rides a Ducati with much aplomb as she outruns police cars. She is a silent guardian, a watchful protector. The villain is dressed in red (she is connected to Russians you see), commands a special henchman who has a special epithet (The poisoner), and wants to dominate the world. Lisbeth, meanwhile, has a one night stand, a love interest and an American who helps her out. We may as well have called this the first female James Bond.
The only reason why you keep watching this film is for the lead performance of Claire Foy. To fill Rooney Mara's original shoes was a big ask, but she has carried out her role with a sincerity that is commendable, and makes us wish the script had been able to match her performance. Be it the scenes where she does a stakeout, the car chase, her melancholic meditations or her frailty - she is the spider that doesn't get caught in the messy web that is this film.