Cast: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, LaKeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks
Director: Fede Alvarez
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Lisbeth Salander, the cult figure and title character of the acclaimed Millennium book series created by Stieg Larsson, will return to the screen in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a first-time adaptation of the recent global bestseller.
Considering the level of both critical and commercial success The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had in 2011, there are very few reasons why The Girl in the Spider’s Web should have that much of a drop off as a sequel. Sure there are massive casting changes, director changes, and the film has taken a significant amount of time to get off the ground, but how much of an impact can that really have? Well, the film was so focused on actually getting made that it forgot to have an interesting plot, interesting characters, or really anything that separates it from any other action movie. This is a shame, because the original movie was truly exciting and groundbreaking, but The Girl in the Spider’s Web does not follow suit.
The film follows Lisbeth Salander (Foy) a vigilante criminal who takes a job where she is required to steal Firefall; a computer program capable of accessing all of the world’s nuclear codes. When a group of mercenaries interrupts Lisbeth’s plan and almost kill her, she has to do whatever it takes to get the program back and prevent the world from being blown up. Starting off with what the film does well, Foy is obviously in top form as she delivers yet another stellar performance in the lead role. It can be tough for some female leads to control their role in an action movie, but Foy being the elite actress that she is has no issues here. She is smart, sophisticated, and takes control of every scene she is in, which makes this film much more exciting than it has any right to be. I am not sure if Foy does as good of a job as Rooney Mara did in the original film, but Foy is not that much of a downgrade if at all. Outside of Foy, much like the original movie, the opening sequence is definitely one of the coolest ones I have seen in quite some time. The design was captivating and slick and gives details about what you are about to see without ever explicitly saying what you will be seeing shortly. Once again this is a nice tribute to the original film, but it does not seem to hit the mark quite like the first one did. If you are not seeing a pattern yet, this emulation of the first film ends up being the biggest downfall of the movie. It tries so hard to capture what made the first movie so successful that it fails to form any sort of individual identity. About halfway through, I found the plot to be incredibly generic, the characters to be incredibly one-dimensional, and at no point did I ever have any sort of emotional investment in the film. This is a shame, because in the original movie we end up learning a lot about Lisbeth and why she chose her path in life, but I never felt like any of that was developed in this film. While the action sequences were cool and kept me at least somewhat entertained, it is nothing we have not seen before and definitely not what I was expected from a sequel based on an incredibly strong foundation like this one.
Overall, I think we all knew the sequel would never live up to the expectations set by the original, but this decline is sudden, steep, and sharp. This movie was sorely missing the attention to detail of the previous team who worked on it, and what is strange is the talent involved in this movie should not have resulted in this much worse of a product. Sure Alvarez is no David Fincher, but his previous works are interesting and should have easily translated into something more captivating. Comparing Alvarez, Foy, and Stanfield to Fincher, Mara, and Daniel Craig shows us that the decline should not have resulted in this much of a decline, but here we are with a mediocre product. The Girl in the Spider’s Web is not necessarily a bad movie, it is just incredibly boring and left me thinking of what could have been instead what we actually got.
Overall Score: 5/10