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"The Girl in the Spider's Web": Nathan's Movie Review

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.


Buckle in, boys and girls, I have a lot to say about this one. So, as many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Stieg Larsson's Millennium book series and Noomi Rapace's Lisbeth Salander. The original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is even my favorite film of all time. And then the remake happened. Fincher displayed not only idiocy but also blatant disrespect to Larsson. The remake sequels were even cancelled so, obviously, I wasn't the only one with strong feelings on the subject. David Lagercrantz was asked by Larsson's family to carry on Lisbeth's story through new books. That brings us to the film adaptation of The Girl in the Spider's Web.

The film follows Lisbeth as she and Mikael Blomkvist attempt to uncover who the organization known as The Spiders is and stop them from possibly causing a global catastrophe. Lisbeth is set up to take the fall for The Spiders' actions. Now, she has to figure out why they're after her and clear her name.

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First, let me start with the positives. Claire Foy is no doubt the second-best Lisbeth. She left Rooney Mara in her dust, bringing a devotion and intensity to the role much like Noomi had. Foy also looked like Lisbeth was described in the books, except for that weird bowl-haircut. I loved how Lisbeth's hacking skills have advanced over the years and were a central focus in the film. The story was full of tension and mystery, even though the big twist was revealed in the trailer. Director Fede Alvarez did his job almost perfectly. His downfall was that he tried to be respectful of the original films, the books, and Fincher's disaster all at once. It was like he didn't know which one he wanted his film to be a continuation of and combined elements from both worlds which ultimately caused more rift than cohesion.

The negatives, however, are much more glaring. First of all, the writers turned Lisbeth into some kind of Bond/Bourne hybrid. Lisbeth is not a superspy. She was just a woman who had had enough. That's what made Lisbeth such a compelling character in the first place. She was a regular woman who decided enough was enough and took a stand, not only for herself but other women like her who were being abused and mistreated. Alvarez's film turns her into something she isn't. While I did enjoy seeing how far Lisbeth's hacking skills had come, there were parts of the film where it was all too much and actually became implausible. Once again, that's not Lisbeth. That's Bond. The screenwriters also tried to make this the next Skyfall. Boy, the parallels to Bond don't stop, do they? Let's move on to another glaring issue. You know how in Dead Men Tell No Tales (the fifth Pirates entry), the writers had completely broken continuity and rewrote Jack's backstory? That's what happened here as well. Lisbeth's history was completely changed. In Larsson's novels, and in the Swedish films, it was explained that Lisbeth's father was abusive to both her and her mother, so one day she had had enough and threw gasoline on him and lit a match. Lisbeth was then tossed in a psych ward for her behavior and her mom ended up so mentally broken that she was put in a mental hospital. In this film, Lisbeth's father was indeed abusive, but her mom was nowhere to be found and Lisbeth threw herself out of a window to escape the abuse. Storywise, it was a good setup for her sister wanting revenge, however, it blows up Lisbeth's already written history.

In conclusion, the film as a standalone was better than Fincher's garbage remake, however, as a sequel, it still manages to slap both Larsson and Lagercrantz in their faces and diminishes everything Lisbeth stood for in the first place. I give the film a 2 out of 4.

© 2018 Nathan Jasper

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