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The Girl in the Spider’s Web: Explosive Surface

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is a sequel to the previous 2011 feature, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The plot follows Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy), a skilled computer hacker and feminist vigilante as she is recruited by Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant) to steal a dangerous program from the American National Security Agency. But, when Salander’s past catches up with her, and even after she enlists the help of her journalist friend Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason), the troubles might be too hard for even her to handle.

The film’s plot does not seem to stand out too much; the main success of Lisbeth Salander stems from the uniqueness of the character and the complete disregard of what she commercially needs to be. The Girl in the Spider’s Web attacked that advantage with an axe and shredded it to pieces, leaving audiences with a shallow plastic version of the used-to-be-intriguingly, paradoxical female character.

Instead, the film focuses on the explosions, the car chases, and providing one antagonist in a manner which turns the film into an ancient tale of hero vs villain. In this case, The Girl in the Spider’s Web’s villain was Salander’s sister (so original indeed) who looked and dressed as if she came straight out of a bond movie.

As such, the makers of The Girl in the Spider’s Web managed to turn a story about an intriguing, multidimensional character into a commercial action film, with the protagonist blending into several other stereotypical female film characters, who turn to action after suffering abuse. To please action fans, the film was a series of explosions and chases, leaving very little for complex character development. The main plus, if not the only one, was how the film was shot; the colours and frames of the film were exquisitely executed, with several artistic and memorable shots.

As for the acting, Claire Foy was able to transform her outer appearance completely, but was unable to convey depth to her character as adequately. With rare moments of vulnerability, but a majority of cold, hard expressions, Foy was able to show the icy nature of her character, but left out the most intriguing part, which is the character’s unique kind of brokenness. Foy also had no chemistry with her co-star Sverrir Gudnason, who is also at fault for an almost complete lack of charisma and a scarcity of facial expressions. Stephen Merchant’s role was a small one, but he delivered on what his role needed and was actually quite believable.

If you have seen or read the previous versions of this story and you are a huge fan, then this is probably going to disappoint you. But, if you know close to nothing about the film’s history, then it won’t be too shabby.

Like This? Try

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2009), The Girl on the Train (2016), Gone Girl (2014), Perfect Stranger (2007).

360 Tip

Before Claire Foy was attached to the film, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, originally considered for the title role in the previous film, were once again in talks to play Lisbeth Salander. Sony also considered Felicity Jones and Alicia Vikander for the titular role.

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