Horrorible Review: “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”

Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Because I had seen the David Fincher version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I was loath to see another Hollywood version of a very good movie trilogy (one was great, the second was good, three was meh, which averages to “very good”). When I finally did rent it I watched it twice in one day. The trailer made it out to be a lot more violent than it actually is, so I watched it again with my wife, who really can’t tolerate much violence.

This Lisbeth Salander story, based on the books by Stieg Larsson, bears a resemblance to the original Swedish film starring Noomi Rapace. I don’t think anyone will ever play Salander as well as her, but newcomer Claire Foy gives it a good shot. She’s a fantastic actress that people are accustomed to seeing in very different roles (The Crown, First Man), and I’m impressed that she went so far away from her comfort zone. It’s a smart move for her as an actress and a treat for us as an audience. Beyond showing us the haunted eyes of a sexual assault survivor, Foy’s face never hinted at a smirk, which is what ruined Rooney Mara’s version for me. (That, and it being a diluted Hollywood version of a tough story.)

There are some striking differences between the first four movies and Spider’s Web. The original book was originally titled Men Who Hate Women, and the stories concentrated on Lisbeth aiding in finding a serial killer then being caught up in a larger, meaner struggle. Spider’s Web also concentrates on Lisbeth, but it’s both a vision of her as a dark knight in shining armor helping other women and girls who have suffered at the hands of men, and a very personal story of her own harsh history. This is where Spider’s Web really diverges from the books and other movies. There is a completely new character thrown into the mix, and a retelling of Lisbeth’s early life. As well, Lisbeth is now not only a hacker extraordinaire, but a bit of a James Bond character capable of physical feats of daring that go beyond the original conception of the character. She’s apparently no longer a boxer, but she can stunt drive motorcycles and cars, take a running dive into a bathtub, and nearly take out a much larger man in close-in hand-to-hand combat.

The differences are remarkable enough to make me recommend that a viewer watch this film after going to Rekall to have your memories of the earlier films removed. Foy is brilliant as Lisbeth, but as written she’s not quite the Lisbeth Salander that Larssen created in the books. The plot of this movie is not as deeply thought out as the books or original movies, and the emotional payoff at the end is a bit brief and clunky. If you’re not comparing Foy to Rapace, you will enjoy the great blend of woman hero who is small and weak physically but makes up for it with her brilliant thinking and heroic physical drive.

See this movie if you’re looking for a fun woman hero who walks on the dark side of the world, especially if you don’t think too closely about how different this version of Lisbeth Salander is from the original Larsson books and Rapace films.

LINKS:

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB – Official Trailer (HD)

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