Hello Everyone, Janet W. here…
In the game of chess, there are rules. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, the brainchild of Stieg Larsson, has wowed and shocked audiences since 2009 when the novel and the Swedish version of the film of the same name were released. The heroine of these provocative tales, Lisbeth Salander, is a genius level conqueror/hacker with who fights injustice. In The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Salander (now portrayed by Claire Foy of the Netflix hit, The Crown, a huge mistake in my opinion) has taken vigilantism to a new level. Do not mess with this chick.
Audiences have awaited the next US installment of this thrilling series for several years. They will have to do without Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Robin Wright, etc. because the entire cast of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011 US version) has been replaced in the latest installment, The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Character continuity within the installments of a franchise is integral to its success. Mara was rumored to have expressed her desire to reprise the role of Lisbeth, but the production team chose Foy. Switching an actor for such a well known, powerful, petite character was murder-suicide to all that this film could have been. Lisbeth Salander is able to press down someone’s neck to the floor and crush it with a mere look.
Although Foy does well as Queen Elizabeth on The Crown, her big-eyed look lacked the cold, dominant grit that effortlessly oozed from the visages of Noomi Rapace (got this all started well as Lisbeth in the 2009 Swedish original version) and Rooney Mara. Also, some of the plot sequences for Lisbeth’s battles, made her look foolish. Lisbeth is wicked smart, but she appeared naïve and absent the punching prowess to defend herself. Foy just wasn’t very menacing. Her English accent didn’t work well playing a Swede either. The Mikael Blomkvist character’s replacement, Sverrir Gudnason, was also poorly suited making this character virtually fade into the background.
Overall, I was able to find enjoyment while watching The Girl in the Spider’s Web. I relished seeing a man of color as a kick-butt hacker/spy, Edwin Needham (Lakeith Stanfield). Diversity looks good on film. One of the best things about the US versions so far has been how the psychological makeup of such a complex character was effectively conveyed in the title sequence. Altogether, the feel was more like the Swedish version than its US predecessor just was without the punch. The plot turns and twists kept the movie going despite the dimmed performances of the lead actors. The cinematography was exceptional, really enjoyed the “ice capades” escape.
Kudos to the visual effects team on “Mr. Half Face!” Also, the set design offered some innovative enemy determent techniques. An unexpected joy was August Balder (Christopher Convery) who nearly stole the show from time to time. Great job, Lil Man! The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story (Can we say unnecessary byline in the title?) may have the above-mentioned quirks. The film is still entertaining and the story is amazing. Makes me want to finally read the five novel series. Below, I leave you with the consistent winnowing of the famed dragon tattoo throughout the film versions. Next film, is it just going to be a small ankle tattoo?
THE WATERING DOWN OF AN ICONIC SIGNATURE
LACK LUSTER, BUT STILL A THRILL!
Janet L. White
Straight and to the Point