Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) - the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - is hired to acquire something from a certain government agency. But in doing so, she draws the attention of government agents from multiple countries and someone from her past, someone dangerous. And in order to put things right and clear her name, Lisbeth will have to face one of the darkest parts of her troubled past.
Fede Alvarez takes control of the US variant of the Millennium series in this soft reboot/sequel to David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But where the first movie was a more than fucked up murder mystery, this is more a Bond/Bourne-esque espionage thriller. Alvarez does well stepping into Fincher's shoes, no doubt an unenviable task for many. He has put together a tense and engaging thriller. Despite adhering to the well-used storyline in which the main character begins to think/worry about someone just before they reappear to fuck up the main character's life, the movie does a good job of keeping you guessing. And it's a lot of fun watching Salander use her very impressive hacker skills to outwit her opponents in this high-stakes game of cat and mouse.
Unfortunately, in an attempt to make this movie more appealing to a wider audience, Salander has been toned down. Everything from her style to her personality, it all feels more neutral. She's just not as feral as she was when Rooney Mara played her. That's not to say that Foy isn't good in the role, because she is. Between this and First Man, Foy is having an incredible year! I just think she could have done more with the role if allowed. The same could be said of the other half of this series' partnership - Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) - who is reduced to a small side character. Granted, this isn't really his world; spies, government agents, organised crime. As a result he only really serves as a research assistant, providing a little background info here and there. There's a mention of Millennium and it's ownership, but that's all it is and has no real bearing on the plot.
But the best thing by far about The Girl in the Spider's Web is the spider that makes the web. Sylvia Hoeks - Between this and Blade Runner 2049 - shows that she can play a psychopath very, very well. She is phenomenal as the villain. It's a jarring and disturbing performance, that at the same time is very subtle, quiet even. It contrasts perfectly with her bright blonde hair and red outfits. She is truly terrifying. The problem with this, however, is that the new toned down Lisbeth looks almost vanilla in comparison. these characters should be two sides of the same extreme coin, one who tries to do some good while the other does what ever she wants and doesn't care who she hurts. But despite two great performances, one is permanently stuck in the other's shadow.
The Girl in the Spider's Web makes an interesting follow up to 2011's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, even if it doesn't quite live up to the original. Fede Alvarez - along with fellow writers Jay Basu and Steven Knight - has constructed an entertaining thriller that could be the beginning of an entertaining new chapter in the Millennium series, and I would definitely like to see Claire Foy return as Lisbeth Salander. Let's just hope that future instalments more closely resemble Fincher's original.
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