After the Swedish films starring Noomi Rapace and David Fincher’s 2011 American adaption, Claire Foy steps into Rooney Mara’s shoes to reprise the cult gothic vigilante Lisbeth Salander. Fede Alvarez’s continuation of the series is packaged more as a modern action thriller than the investigative and complex mystery you’d expect from the franchise.
Here Lisbeth is more of an indestructible Jason Bourne like spy than the dark and brooding hacker you’d like her to be. She helps women fight abuse as opposed to having mysterious motives.
While the reboot scores on action comprising car chases and a speeding sexy Ducati, what you sorely miss is the haunting unravelling of crime and mystery. It makes Lisbeth look like a Bourne, Bond or Salt successor, who can fight anyone and everyone, ride cool bikes and infiltrate or decode any security systems that exist across the globe. It strips her off her unique character traits and flaws that make her interesting and different in the first place.
While the plot keeps you invested in the film, after a point it just gets too commercial and convenient for your liking. Claire Foy, the third actress to play Salander slips into her significant role with great conviction. Though her character is simplified and Hollywoodised for no good reason, the actress retains its original mystique and aura.
Overall, The Girl in the Spider’s Web makes for an engaging watch as a stand-alone crime thriller. It even tones down the brutal violence a bit. But as an extension of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series), this falls short of living up to its true dark vision and image.