Review: THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB: A NEW DRAGON TATOO STORY Is Too Wrapped Up In Action

FIRST IMPRESSION

The Girl in the Spider's Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story is a fun thriller on its own, but doesn't live up to its beloved predecessors.
Story
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit
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The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story is the newest film following the character Lisbeth Salander, based on the fourth book in the Millennium novel series. This entry serves as a reboot, with an entirely different cast from David Fincher’s 2011 English-language adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

This is the first time in which a novel in the series is first being adapted in English rather than its native Swedish. The film follows Salander as she finds herself caught in a web of criminals and lies that may have a tie to her past.

This did not feel like a Millennium film (or a so-called Dragon Tattoo Story). There are some scenes in which that tone came through, but for the most part, it was different — in a bad way. The series is known for being dark and gritty and having unflinching brutality. This instead feels like a Bond rip-off with a female protagonist and more blood.

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Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) in Columbia Pictures’ THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB. Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo; © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Another big difference is the way in which the protagonist is portrayed. In the other films, Salander is a strong, but scarred woman. In this movie, her scars don’t really show. She just seems like a hardened person. It doesn’t give any reason, and as such, she isn’t quite as sympathetic.

The first scenes start the film off with a lot of potential. The scene that was heavily featured in the trailer, in which Salander gets vigilante justice by extorting a CEO that has cheated on and beaten his wife, is the scene that perhaps most accurately captures the tone of the series. Unfortunately, this scene was shown almost in its entirety in the trailer.

After that, it’s pretty much completely different stylistically. You can tell by the title sequence alone that it is trying to be like a Bond movie. For what it is, it’s still quite fun, but it isn’t to the quality that a fan of the series would expect.

spiders web stanfield
Ed Needham (Lakeith Stanfield) at the cliff in Columbia Pictures’ THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB. Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo; © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

There were some action scenes in the film that were actually quite impressive. Two that jump out are the breakout sequence and the climax. These scenes are nicely-shot and exciting. Again, they’re a bit big for the series, but they’re fun nonetheless.

The character of Edwin Needham, played by Lakeith Stanfield, is also a welcome addition. This is the only character that is made to be particularly interesting, and Stanfield is as great as ever in the role. His character is honestly interesting enough that a spin-off based on his character could be a solid next move for the franchise.

Overall, The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story doesn’t deliver what its title promises. Still, it is interesting enough to be passable entertainment for those who are not picky.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story is now in theaters.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film; however, he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.