The Girl In The Spider’s Web comes from the same director as the Evil Dead 2013 reboot, Fede Alvarez, and while it wasn’t a great film by any stretch of the imagination, it did have an incredible visual style.
It comes from a new series of books by David Lagercrantz (and were this to be a success, it would be followed by The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye, and The Girl Who Lived Twice, but this one doesn’t feature the original movie’s Noomi Rapace, nor does it feature Rooney Mara, who played the lead in Hollywood’s remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – which I skipped as they rarely live up to the original – and in any event, I rated the first and third original films 6/10, and the second one 7/10.
It’s interesting that the series was rebooted, though, given that neither original writer, Stieg Larsson, or male lead, Michael Nyqvist, are still alive and, in fact, Mr Larsson passed away in 2004, aged just 50, so way before any of his Millennium trilogy came to see the light of day in the cinema.
So, how does this one fare? Claire Foy takes the role of Lisbeth Salander, first leaving home as a young child, and then we meet her in Foy form, as she delivers justice to a prostitute-beater Peter Ahlgren (Volker Bruch) as part of her vigilante attacks in Stockholm. She still has the dragon tattoo, but when we see it, it’s a little off-to-the-left than I remember.
This new movie is set in the present day, even though journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) is only about 40 – so it does seem a bit of a prequel – and he’s on the trailer of “The Spiders”, who aren’t from Mars, but do a neat job in house redesign, as Lisbeth discovers early on.
Lisbeth also has to help high-ranking official Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant), but… it’s Stephen Merchant, and I just can’t take him seriously. Why do people hire him? Anyhoo, he’s created a small program* which – in the wrong hands – could allow someone to set off nuclear weapons.
(*when he reels off numbers, it sounds big, but it’s just over 2Mb in size, which is tiny)
Sadly, The Girl In The Spider’s Web feels like a plot that was written for some straight-to-video nonsense that had zero chance of becoming a theatrical movie, and then the character of Lisbeth was added into the mix, rather like how Die Hard With A Vengeance was originally a story called Simon Says, and then John McClane was added into the mix. Yes, it was a fun film, with Bruce Willis, but making the lead baddie Simon Gruber just felt tacked on.
The bad guys all have dodgy, fake accents, the main baddie who’s behind it all is such a tired idea and – in this case – it makes no sense at all for them being that person, and you just don’t care whether they live or die, but you know Lisbeth will be fine because she’s the main star, and because the studio will want another film in the series if this is a hit… but was it? No. A film needs to gross around 3 times its budget to break even, and even though it only had a modest budget of $43m, it only took $35m in the cinema, worldwide. Unless it rakes in a ton of cash on home viewing rental and sales, whether on physical disc or digital download, there won’t be more. That’s not something that’s beyond the realms of possibility, as that’s how the Resident Evil movies managed to turn a profit (and pretty entertaining they were, too)
On the plus side, this movie is very picturesque, but Claire Foy has a cod-Swedish accent, Keith Stanfield (Get Out, Death Note) plays Keystone Cop Ed Needham, who is after her, and from start to finish, this film is one overused trope after another, and nothing we haven’t seen before, and recently, given how it feels like a bad rip-off of some of the Daniel Craig James Bond movies. You’d still be better off watching the Evil Dead reboot.
The extras are as follows:
- Deleted Scenes (15:36): 8 of them, with optional commentary from director Fede Alvarez and co-writer Jay Basu. The film was more than long enough, so although I watched these, none of them needed to go back in.
- Claire Foy: Becoming Lisbeth (9:50): A bog-standard making-of where clips from the film are mixed in with chat from key cast and crew members, but mostly from Ms Foy. She also says she now wants to get her own tattoo. Why has everyone become obsessed with having one? Just seems to be following the crowd.
- All About The Stunts (6:40): Running, jumping, explosions… yep, we’ve seen it in a million other films.
- Creating The World: The Making Of (15:59): Similar to the ‘Becoming Lisbeth’ extra.
- Secrets of the Salander Sisters (4:56): I won’t go into detail about this, so as to avoid spoilers…. because it’s SECRETS! Ssssh!
- Previews: Trailers for Searching and Venom, so not even this film.
- Audio commentary: from director Fede Alvarez and co-writer Jay Basu.
- Audio Description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The menu is a static shot of Lisbeth mixed with another character (who I won’t reveal), which is part of an image used for one of the theatrical posters. It’s static, and set against a portion of the main theme. There are 16 chapters, and subtitles in English, Arabic and Hindi.
Also available is:
- The Girl Who… Millennium Trilogy: Extended Versions Blu-ray
The Girl Who… Millennium Trilogy: Extended Versions DVD
The Girl in the Spider’s Web Book
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye Book
The Girl Who Lived Twice (2019) Book
Running time: 116 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
Released: March 25th 2019
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio (English); DTS 5.1 (Hindi)
Subtitles: English SDH, Arabic, Hebrew
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Fede Alvarez
Producers: Eli Bush, Elizabeth Cantillon, Berna Levin, Amy Pascal, Scott Rudin, Søren Stærmose, Ole Søndberg
Screenplay: Jay Basu, Fede Alvarez, Steven Knight
Novel: David Lagercrantz
Characters: Stieg Larsson
Music: Roque Baños
Lisbeth Salander: Claire Foy
Mikael Blomkvist: Sverrir Gudnason
Ed Needham: Keith Stanfield
Camilla Salander: Sylvia Hoeks
Frans Balder: Stephen Merchant
August Balder: Christopher Convery
Jan Holtser: Claes Bang
Gabriella Grane: Synnøve Macody Lund
Plague: Cameron Britton
Erika Berger: Vicky Krieps
Sofia: Andreja Pejic
Alexander Zalachenko: Mikael Persbrandt
Grane’s Home Security: Thomas Wingrich
Camilla’s Driver: Andreas Tietz
Malin Erikson: Paula Schramm
Landlord: Anja Karmanski
Peter Ahlgren: Volker Bruch
Young Camilla Salander: Carlotta von Falkenhayn
Young Lisbeth Salander: Beau Gadsdon
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.