The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018)

Fede Álvarez directs Claire Foy, Stephen Merchant and Sylvia Hoeks in this sequel / reboot to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo where our closed off vigilante hacker finds a face from her past trying to steal a program that accesses the world’s nuclear arsenal.

I would question whether there was much appetite for a third incarnation of the Lisbeth Salander brand this decade. The movie ticket buying public seemingly agree. A $33 million worldwide final tally is awful… It is the kind of figure a release like this should coin in its first domestic weekend. Where was the demand? Or the benefit in rebooting quite so soon? The Noomi Rapace Swedish originals gave us an exciting actress in a lead role. Fincher’s quick on its heels Hollywood remake was slick yet faithfully grim to the gripping mystery, opening up a good story and great protagonist to a wider audience with elan. But 5 years down the line the publishing fad seems to have tuckered itself out and whatever fertile elements that could be reseeded into a future series haven’t be given long enough to lay fallow. The casting of Claire Foy (who comes across more as a stroppy schoolboy rather than the enigmatic, sexually aggressive hero that makes the source material so intriguing) isn’t exactly a big enough name to justify the early gamble. I would have marketed it less on the franchise’s questionable appeal and more as the latest thriller from the director of the Evil Dead reboot and Don’t Breathe. Both those movies made the kinda box office Sony would want here. Alvarez marshalls inventive set pieces and gathers a strong arthouse support cast. He even gifts us a few utterly chilling images… dank souvenirs that will stay with us long after the diluted 007 plot fades from the memory. There’s a gripping little thriller here, entertaining moment from moment, well worth a watch… but as a slave to its franchise this feels counterproductive.

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