The Girl in the Spider’s Web is arguably part 2 to the 2011 film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo although it is based on the fourth book in the millenium series. It’s a long, and kind of tragic, story how the series lost a father in Stieg Larsson and gained another in David Lagercrantz but what matters to us now is that book number 2 and 3 never interested American studios to make them into films while obviously book 4 did, and the big question that popped into my mind watching this film is “why?”. What did the fourth novel had that the 2nd and the 3rd didn’t? Or in other words, if this is the worthy novel, how bad could 2 and 3 possibly be?
The film tells the story of another adventure by the world famous hacker Lisbeth Salander. After completing a hacking job to restore a sensitive piece of software to its creator, Salander finds herself under attack, which costs her the loss of the software and the loss of the trust of her client. So, she goes on a quest to salvage the stolen software with the help of her journalist friend Mikael Blomkvist, unknowing that her adventure will take her back to a dark past that she was trying to forget.
I didn’t like much of “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” and I felt bored through the most of its duration. The cinematic layer has little to do with this opinion. I mean, I liked the way this film is directed, I loved the way it was filmed and edited. I may have some problems with some performances and I honestly hated the music and the sound effects. The sound effects of this film feel like the effects we used to add to buttons in our graduation projects presentations. However, all of that could’ve been tolerable if only our story was good but, unfortunately, the story is really predictable and just really bad.
Most of the chapters of our story are templates that we’ve seen in so many films. Our great danger? A tool that puts all the nuclear weapons of the world under the control of one person. As if we haven’t had enough with nuclear threats in films already. Our villain? A psychopath with a relation to our hero that the movie was rude enough to spoil entirely in the teaser. Our allies? Some of the most cartoonish characters ever including Mikael Blomkvist who shouldn’t have featured in the film at all. Our story drivers? Some obscure hacking scenarios that fit in a movie in the 80s or the 90s, some genius plots that Lizbeth designs though they make very little sense, and lots and lots of coincidences. Really, they are there all the time, even when they’re really not needed, and they cause the greatest developments and they help the most critical of transitions.
Fede Alvarez in the director’s chair did a lot to try to save this story. Some real original ideas in execution were deployed to help us swallow the unoriginal ideas in writing. A risky approach to take the film from the neo noir realm of David Fincher to the action and intelligence packed flicks of James Bond. This film felt like a James Bond flick more than anything else and you get that feeling starting with the opening credits, and surprisingly I wasn’t bothered by that a lot. The film also has the advantage of being R rated so it can take a great deal of freedom with violent and disturbing content. However, all of that didn’t really work in rendering this into a good film. Especially that, like I said, there’re problems with performances. I expressed my astonishment to the choice of Claire Foy for the character of Salander since the trailer was released and the film proved my worries to be in the right place. This is not Lizbeth Salander! This is a nice decent woman in a Lizbeth Salander Halloween costume. Not daring enough, not strong enough. The genius in the way Rooney Mara portrayed Salander was the fleeting glimpses of emotions she slipped from behind that senseless mask. But here? she’s almost a mom! Sverrir Gudnason is totally forgettable, I really don’t know why the character was in the film at all! The good performances came from Stephen Merchant and Sylvia Hoeks but there wasn’t enough of either of them.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web is a boring film filled with unoriginal ideas and unbelievable coincidences. The effort made in directing it makes it almost watchable but nothing else helps,
and the casting made matters worse and not even in comparison to the cast of the 2011 movie. If The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo wasn’t inviting enough to make sequels to it then this film should force Sony into 5 years of peaceful imitation before making another film.