THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB -- Grade: C
Updated: Dec 2, 2018
It's always nice to get a glimpse of life in frigid Scandinavia, and Claire Foy is good, but the movie is just "meh."
The latest girl to don the dragon tattoo in a movie based on Stieg Larsson's bestselling novels is Claire Foy, who's hot off an Emmy win for her role in the Netflix series, The Crown. She follows in the footsteps of Rooney Mara, who originated the role of computer hacker / champion of women / bad-ass Lisbeth Salander in the 2011 film that launched the series. But seven years is a long time to wait for a sequel, and this latest entry doesn't exactly set the film world on fire. And that's a shame, seeing as how we could certainly use more #StrongFemaleCharacters on the big screen.
Foy is just fine though, bringing a touch more vulnerability to the role, while still giving the steely Salander plenty of physical and emotional strength.
"Spider's Web" gives a glimpse into Salander's childhood, introducing us to her older sister, who chooses to stay behind as prey to their creepy father instead of following Lisbeth into a daring escape. Meanwhile, Salander's tasked with tracking down a doomsday computer program for its disillusioned creator, which sets off a long series of well-executed spy-movie moments, including one really cool motorcycle chase across a frozen river and a clever operation at the baddie's mountain lair (which just happens to be the house Salander grew up in).
The movie is gorgeous to look at -- from its Stockholm city views to its breathtaking snowy mountain vistas -- but the story drags on for 115 minutes, which is at least 20 more than it needed to. I'm always down for a kick-ass woman battling and besting tons of bad guys, and Salander still knows how to wield a mean electric baton, but the emotional backstory is given short shrift and the story twists are too drawn out to hold our interest. Still, kudos to the late Larsson, who gave us one of the more interesting vigilante heroines ever to appear on page or screen.
Femme Critic Score:
Female Leads: Yes
Female Director: No
Female Writer: Nope
Passes the Bechdel Test: Yes