From the Bond-esque opening credits, it’s clear this soft reboot of the Millennium series is aiming for a more action-packed and adventurous take on the adventures of Lisbeth Salander than its beautiful but glacial predecessor.
Contracted to steal the unstealable from the American Government, Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) finds herself caught up in an international geopolitical chess game as governments and criminal syndicates vie for control of a powerful computer programme, a programme that can only be unlocked by the unique intellect of its creator’s son, August (Christopher Convery). With time running out and seemingly outwitted at every turn, Lisbeth turns to old friend Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) for help.
Claire Foy makes for an arresting and hard-edged Lisabeth in what amounts to a carelessly constructed but reasonably entertaining action thriller. It may lack the sense of depth and complexity of its predecessors but in their place comes a more action-orientated, pacier offering. Salander here is elevated to a kind of superhero, a Nordic noir Bond or Bourne cyber spy extraordinaire and while it’s not unsatisfying, you’re always aware you’re enjoying a pretty good burger when you’re sure you ordered the steak.
Director Fede Álvarez does a good job in keeping the visuals slick and stylish and the action scenes are well-staged throughout the ins and outs of the plot but the stakes never really feel real – the global nuclear threat is too diffuse and too underdeveloped and the more local dangers Salander has to face are often quickly resolved with the minimum of effort or difficulty.
Sylvia Hoek, who made such an impression in “Blade Runner 2042”, is similarly arresting here as Camilla, Lisbeth’s long-lost sister, although her impact isn’t quite what it could be as her identity (and involvement in one of the story’s big twists), is given away too early and too cheaply in the film – never mind in the trailers themselves.
“The Girl In The Spider’s Web” makes for an entertaining, if lightweight, action thriller with solid performances throughout and a keen eye for action set pieces. It remains to be seen whether this will kick off a new Dragon Tattoo franchise but in Claire Foy, they have a charismatic and credible lead and with a little more substance to the plotting, this could evolve into something pretty special.