Blu-Ray Review – The Girl in the Spider’s Web

The Girl in the Spider’s Web came out last November, but for various reasons it bombed at the international box office. It’s the sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and was intended as a “soft reboot” because both the first film’s director David Fincher and its stars, including Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, didn’t end up returning. Initially Sony were set to make a direct sequel to follow the sequence of the original trilogy by Stieg Larsson (The Girl in the Spider’s Web was written after his death). Until 2015, it was still up in the air whether the original creative team was returning, and the script was written, etc. However, probably due to budget worries, scheduling and other issues, the studio got cold feet and went in this other direction.

Fede Álvarez comes aboard as director, and had big shoes to fill, as would be the case when you are following Fincher’s near masterpiece of a film, which played like a greatly sequenced greatest hits of Fincher’s best work. The direction here is certainly competent, but naturally it is a lesser film in every way despite being perfectly decent. It’s the usual plot of international intrigue, including hacking, the NSA and lots of snow. Claire Foy fills the boots of Lisbeth Salander. She is a very fine actress and a solid pick, her pansexuality is explored a bit more in this film with her lover being played by the famous transgender model Andreja Pejić.

It’s a perfectly survivable thriller, especially for a day and age where an “adult thriller” with anything resembling a big budget is becoming rarer then Bigfoot sightings. This time an actual Swede, Sverrir Gudnason, plays Mikael Blomkvist. The rest of the cast is also solid, including Sorry To Bother You’s Lakeith Stanfield as the NSA agent tracking Salander, Vicky Krieps, Stephen Merchant and Cameron Britton as a hacker. Britton was cast to connect it more to Fincher, as he plays Ed Kemper in Fincher’s extraordinary TV show Mindhunter.  If you liked the original and keep your expectations in check, you will enjoy this—just don’t expect it to be in the same league (but given the flop this became, they should’ve just went ahead with the next Fincher/Mara film instead.)

The disc includes commentary from Fede Álvarez  and screenwriter Jay Basu, along with the usual host of featurettes and deleted scenes.

★★★

Ian Schultz

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