Movie Reviews: The Girl in the Spider’s Web




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     Columbia Pictures
     Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.
     Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, LaKeith Stanfield, Sverrir Gudnason, Stephan Merchant, Claes Bang
Bottom Line:

Jon Rutledge

Girl power is on the rise, and this movie is being released at the perfect time. A strong female character who stands up for those who need help. With a great cast with strong performances and excellent cinematography, it's a shame the films suffers from pacing issues. There are some superb action scenes and some good character development but the spaces in between drags and water downs all of the storytelling. It plays like an action story interspersed with a Sweden Travel Vlog.

This is a new story outside of the original trilogy created by Stieg Larsson. He wanted to do a 10 books series but died in 2004. David Lagercrantz picks up in book 4, and his story holds true to the spirit of the original trilogy. The film captures that but loses its way in execution.

Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) is a computer hacking vigilante who is brilliant, strong, independent and will not give up. She is contracted to steal a program by its creator, Fans Balder (Stephen Merchant), because it is too dangerous for humanity. She accepts the job but is set up by an organized gang known as the Spiders. They steal the program from her, and she is now out to complete her contract.

Claire Foy (The Crown, First Man) completely embodies the strength and broody nature of Lisbeth. She is perfect for the role. Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out, Selma) plays a special agent in pursuit of Lisbeth, who ends up working with her. He adds a lot of depth to a supporting role. I could stand to see a spin-off with just him.

A recurring character is Mikael Blomkvist who is the journalist who writes about Lisbeth. He was a pivotal character in the previous films but is reduced to set dressing in this story. He is played by Sverrir Gudnason (Borg vs. McEnroe, Gentlemen) who did great but the character seemed like Lisbeth was the only thing he wrote about. Aside for a few plot points and being a quasi-love interest, he seemed to be a throwaway character.

The problems with the pacing come from shooting more establishing shots and focusing on more details that were needed. Waiting for the bad guys to show up and shots of the very wintery Sweden landscape interspaced with flashbacks to a story that was unfolding as events in the current timeline took place. A tighter story would have made this a more engaging film.

If they what to make 10 of these they have a lot of suitable material to work with as long as they focus on keeping the action and story balance right. This could be more engaging with better timing. They have a rock-solid character and now is the perfect time to bring her to the screen. She is the embodiment of female power fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves and exacting revenge for wrongs that are kept in the shadows. I just hope they can get the formula right or the only fight they will be fighting is for the top of the $5.00 DVD pile at Walmart.

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