The Girl in the Spider’s Web

I was excited about seeing this, because I loved The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (both versions). I was a bit worried that director Fede Alvarez gave us a weak remake of The Evil Dead five years ago. He got critical praise for that, and his follow up Don’t Breathe. Now he’s tackling this series, with a new cast. And for some reason, he has a lot of scenes that are very similar to ones we saw in the first movie. This is partly his fault, and the fact that he had an inane, convoluted screenplay (well, he co-wrote it, so…). Watching this, reminded me of watching one of the James Bond movies that’s not very good. You’re kind of entertained as you’re sitting there, but you have to keep thinking about the plot holes and flaws in logic. One that came to mind in this is when the bad guys (some Russian mob called “The Spiders”) are chasing her. After she ends the car chase in a rather interesting way (the wife leaned in and said, “That’s how you end a car chase if you’re a hacker.”)…she opens the door to rescue a boy that’s been kidnapped, and the two thugs have been knocked out by airbags. Instead of shooting them, and having two less “spiders” that she’s going to face later, she just drives off, with them firing machine guns at her.

Oh, the boy she rescued also has some form of autism. But as is always the case in the movie, it never hampers the narrative. So instead of the boy not talking (the way my wife said the character was written in the book), he talks a lot and helps the good guys many different times.

Claire Foy (The Crown) has taken over the role of Lisbeth Salander. She’s adequate in the part, but many will find fault with her simply because Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara were so damn good (the later got an Oscar nomination in the role).

Lisbeth starts things off with the scene we loved in the trailer. She traps a guy upside down, and transfers all his money to the wife he has been beating up. Oh, she also tases him in the balls. He won’t be the only guy that gets zapped there. Speaking of getting zapped, she needs to keep the bad guys from this computer program that lets them control any missile system in the world. Stephen Merchant (who I loved in the British version of The Office) is the guy that created the system, but now wants it back.

Of course, Lisbeth is going to need the help of journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason). In an early scene he has in a bar meeting with a top politician, you realize how much you miss Daniel Craig in that part. You also realize how much you miss the chemistry those two had. Somebody watching this film for the first time, would never guess that the two were once lovers.

There are some cool shots of various spiders. One Daddy Long Legs early on, is shown as a young Lisbeth plays chess with her sister.

The score has some creepy spider sounds and it did impress me. It evoked just the right emotions, and at one point, it reminded me of Schubert.

The snow was shot in a way that gave an interesting chilly atmosphere (something that was also done well in the first picture).

My wife mentioned a lot of similarities with this and the Bond movie Skyfall. All the hacking, a house burning, the missile program being called “Firefall”, and a victim of the “Spiders” having parts of his face replaced by prosthetics, reminiscent of Javier Bardem in Skyfall.

Lakeith Stanfield has a nice role as an American NSA agent, yet in every scene I’m starting to enjoy him in, some cliche thing happened. And by the time he flies into town to get involved in things, you start to realize…you really don’t care about any of these characters.

This is one of those rare movies where I noticed product placement. Two different times, Lisbeth was using Sony devices as hidden cameras or recorders (Sony is one of the studios involved with this picture).

It’s also another movie that has a scene with barfing. The percent is now up to 73.8% of all films I’ve seen the last 10 years having a throw-up scene.

Perhaps this wouldn’t have been so disappointing if I didn’t like the first movie so much.

1 ½ stars out of 5.