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January 4, 2019

The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) --- “The Past Never Forgets...Discover What Made Her The Girl.”

Plot Summary
Fired from the National Security Agency, Frans Balder recruits hacker Lisbeth Salander to steal FireWall, a computer program that can access codes for nuclear weapons worldwide. The download soon draws attention from an NSA agent who traces the activity to Stockholm. Further problems arise when Russian thugs take Lisbeth's laptop and kidnap a math whiz who can make FireWall work. Now, Lisbeth and an unlikely ally must race against time to save the boy and recover the codes to avert disaster. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     The original Millenium book trilogy by Stieg Larsson was adapted into films in Sweden of 2009 with Noomi Rapace starring as the main protagonist. In 2010 the films were compiled into a TV-mini-series that featured both extended and deleted scenes. In 2011, an American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was made with director David Fincher at the helm and Rooney Mara as the main protagonist. After the passing of the original author, Stieg Larsson, in 2004, author David Lagercrantz has since started writing a new book series which continues after the trilogy and features the source material for the most recent film addition.

     Directed and co-written by Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breath) alongside writers Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) and Jay Basu (Charlie’s Angels 2019), and with Claire Foy (The Crown) starring as the main protagonist, The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) is was most recent entry in the American franchise and the outcome is an entertaining film.
    The story is shorter than The Dragon Tattoo but its less complex and there is more action which I greatly enjoyed. In The Dragon Tattoo, Mikael Blomkvist is the main character while Lisbeth Salander is more of a supporting role. However, this film does the opposite and I actually found that I liked that changed. I also enjoyed that it was less complex because I felt like I was able to enjoy and follow the story better than the last film. Although, I could have done with seeing more elements where Salander gets revenge on her male oppressors because that is the overall theme of the source material but nevertheless it was still entertaining.
     I am a bit shocked that this film did not receive better ratings than it did: IMDB – 6.1/10, Rotten Tomatoes -41%, and Roger Ebert – 1.5/4. There are two changes that probably could have made this film better. 1) Perhaps if the Swedish versions and Fincher’s version did not exist then this film have been more successful. 2) Or if there was another American entry that comes after The Dragon Tattoo and before The Spider’s Web then this film would have been more successful. The Spider’s Web feels like there was some underlying history that could not solely be justified with one predecessor film. Similar to Sherlock or even the Bond films, there needed to be an in between film(s) that allows the story and the characters build towards this one, especially considering the antagonist in this film. It would be interesting to see Camilla Salander (Sylvia Hoeks), Lisbeth’s enemy, be a sort of hidden mastermind inflicting chaos on Lisbeth and watch her presence and role increase with each new film. Like Moriarty does to Sherlock. But no matter, The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) is still a dramatic and entertaining film to see.
Claire Foy is great as Lisbeth Salander. While I enjoyed Mara’s performance, I also enjoyed Foy’s because she adds a bit more humanity to her performance without losing an ounce of her badass nature. I found Sverrir Gudnason (Borg vs. McEnroe) to be better as Mikal Blomvist and I think it is partly due to the fact that I believe him to be Mikal Blomvist, also he’s Swedish like his character so that helps a bit. I also found his chemistry with Foy was perhaps better than the chemistry between Mara and Craig. Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You) is great as NSA analyst/agent Ed Needham. He was a bit of a surprise partly because I didn’t know he was in the film and also because he proved to be more than just your simple desk boy, he turned out to be pretty clever. Sylvia Hoeks (Blade Runner 2049) does a lot with the limited screen time she is given. Camilla is very much a smart and unhinged character, due to her abusive childhood, and Hoeks really carries that well. She portrays a coldness, while also showing hints of vulnerability because she blames Lisbeth for abandoning her. The rest of the supporting cast give great performances as well.

     Overall, The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) is an entertaining dark crime film that continues some years after the events in The Dragon Tattoo (2011). The film was shorter but the story was less complex and the there was more action than the last film. The cast performances were great, with Foy and Hoeks delivering the most noteworthy performances. Although I am not familiar with his work, Director Alvarez does surprisingly well with what he’s got and I enjoyed what he delivered. I would recommend this film

"Are you not Lisbeth Salander, the righter of wrongs? The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? The girl who hurts men who hurt women? All those lucky ladies."
- Camilla Salander

Final Vote --- 7.8 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar
Angels & Demons (2009)
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Django Unchained (2012)
The Gambler (2014)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
The Girl on the Train (2016)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2010)
The Girl Who Played with Fire (2010)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Gone Girl (2014)
Inferno (2016)
The Interview (2014)
Red Dragon (2002)
Seven (1995)
Side Effects (2013)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Snowman (2017)
The Tourist (2010)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Zodiac (2007)

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