Review: The Girl in the Spiders Web

Benja Townsend talks of his disappointment with The Girl In The Spiders Web

Benja Townsend
31st January 2019
Image: YouTube

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s definitely not a film worthy of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium legacy. Regarding the Millennium trilogy, no film will ever be as good as the books, but previous films tried. The Girl in the Spiders Web didn’t even attempt this.  

Claire Foy follows in the footsteps of Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara playing Lisbeth Salander. She fits the role well and deserves praise for her acting, it is only a shame she is the only stand-alone good thing. The other actors are iffier. Stephen Merchant, although not terrible at acting, is the wrong casting for a worried Swedish computer scientist. Sylvia Hoeks could probably pull off a psychotic villain, if they hadn’t made her an antagonist more fitting of the Fast and Furious franchise. Likewise, I don’t want to underestimate the ability of Sverrir Gudnason, but the use of Blomkvist was horrific. 

Sniper gun fights, multiple car/motorcycle chases, unnecessary explosions

The Girl in the Spiders Web is some kind of unexplained confusing continuation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. At the beginning Salander’s tattoo is shown repeatedly, an ostentatious reminder of the film’s roots. Then Blomkvist is introduced, a necessary companion to the complex character of Salander, but he’s quickly ignored. Erica Berger makes an appearance, yet apart from her closing a laptop, nothing is made of the turbulent relationship between the three of them. Ignoring Blomkvist’s character was a major mistake but the directing got worse. Scandinavian and thriller go together perfectly, so that would be the expectation here. A warehouse explosion followed by a motorcycle escape over a frozen harbour shuns these expectations and throws psychological thriller out of the window. The film continues down this action route; sniper gun fights, multiple car/motorcycle chases, unnecessary explosions. All this ruins from the tone they apparently wanted to set at the beginning by reminding us of the dragon tattoo. 

The decision to prioritise action and ignore the realistic portrayal of Swedish sexual liberalism and horrific sexual abuse that Larsson’s 80 million wanted doomed this film. 

Rating: 2/5 stars

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