Gone are the flashy Hollywood cast, overly long runtime, and slow-burn drama that embodied director David Fincher’s 2011 version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Seven years passed, and two books were skipped, before the next film adaption of best-selling Millennium series hit theaters. The Girl in the Spider’s Web, which is the fourth book in the series, serves as a solid sequel to Dragon Tattoo and reboots the Sony-MGM franchise. Spider’s Web is an action-crime thriller that substitutes the nudity in the original for adventure sequences that put titular character Lisbeth Salander front and center.
The nice thing about Spider’s Web is that it reintroduces viewers into the world of Millennium and attracts new audiences by not needing to know the events of Dragon Tattoo beforehand. Computer hacker extraordinaire Lisbeth and journalist Mikael Blomkvist, now played by Claire Foy and Swedish native Sverrir Gudnason respectively, are forced into action when a mystery terrorist group steals an already-stolen computer program that controls missile launches across the globe from Lisbeth. Unlike Dragon Tattoo, Spider’s Web puts Mikael in the background to allow Foy to shine as Lisbeth. The missing backstory on the main character that didn’t appear in Dragon Tattoo helps give Lisbeth more depth in Spider’s Web.
Foy does a nice job of taking over the reins from Rooney Mara and doesn’t miss a beat in copying the surly hacker’s vibe. In a little over a year, Foy has proven that she can act in any genre from period drama films and TV (First Man and The Crown) to horror (Unsane) and now action. I did like the casting of Gudnason to replace Daniel Craig because Gudnason brings more authenticity to the Swedish adaptation. Sylvia Hoeks joins the cast as Lisbeth’s sister, Camilla, which would have had a better impact if this wasn’t the first film to feature her. The main cast is rounded out by Lakeith Stanfield as an NSA agent with some very helpful skills.
Spider’s Web is an entertaining thriller and could set the stage for an interesting film franchise. However, unless the film starts to catch fire internationally, this reboot will be short lived due to its low first weekend box office haul. While I’ll admit that I don’t know a ton about the Millennium series, I did enjoy Spider’s Web a lot more than Dragon Tattoo and could understand what the actors were saying this time around thanks to less fake accents. One thing is for sure: whether Lisbeth Salander’s story continues to play out on the big screen or not, Foy has a bright future in the industry.
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