Sorry, I meant The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story.
Synopsis: A new Dragon Tattoo story comes to the screen starring Claire Foy (“The Crown”) as Lisbeth Salander, the fierce, outcast vigilante defender from the acclaimed Millennium book series created by Stieg Larsson, in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. (Sony Pictures)
Starring: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, and Lakeith Stanfield
Writers: Jay Basu, Fede Alvarez, and Steven Knight
Director: Fede Alvarez
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 115mins
*takes deep breath*
Let’s be honest with ourselves at this point – there is nothing really original or exciting for audiences to see another iteration of this story at this point, right? The 2009 original was a film festival favorite, getting nominated for multiple best foreign language film awards. The David Fincher remake from 2011 starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara was a critical and commercial success. But really, how many versions can audiences take of this franchise? The quality of the movie answers no, but that’s not to say the movie is weak – there is still a lot to appreciate here.
To begin, it’s worth noting that Claire Foy has had a year. With Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane as well as Damien Chazelle’s First Man, she has proved herself as a force to be reckoned with in the film world after her successful turn in Netflix’s The Crown. This trend continues with this film – she has that dark, Gothic vibe down and pulls off an amazing Swedish accent, making for what is the third great portrayal of Lisbeth Salander on film. She is the standout, and not many of the major side characters become truly absorbing. However, it is worth mentioning that Lakeith Stanfield is great as always as Edwin Needham, and is also continuing to have a great year himself after his incredible turn in Sorry To Bother You.
This is also an incredible looking film. There is almost no bright color in this film – with a lot of grey and dark shades, but not really much else. This look does a great job of building up this dark world that Salander lives in. As well, the film is extremely well shot – mostly due to a great use of dolly, this has some of the best cinematography in a film all year.
There is one major thing that brings this down, and it all comes to pacing and consistency. Frankly, the film drops in quality over time like a barrel going down a waterfall. It starts off incredibly strong, and has one of the most intense opening sequences seen in ages. But as the film progresses, it seems like less and less effort is being put in with each and every scene that passes. Not only that, but the size of the descent is crazy. With such a strong start, it’s crazy to see how by the end of it all, this thing feels like an absolute trainwreck. If this continued to be the intense and heart pounding ride that the opening act promised it would be, and not the dull, blockbuster schlock that the third act provides with a new subplot not worth caring about takes over, this could have been a lot better.
Fede Alvarez is a great director, and there is a lot of moments here where this is put in the spotlight, and it’s definitely entertaining enough to keep your interest. Unfortunately, The Girl in the Spider’s Web is just a ticking time bomb that is fully uninteresting and trashy by the time you reach its climax. The rest is good enough to excuse that, though.