Nerdlocker Movie Review: The Girl in the Spider’s Web


If this is what comes forth in the thaw, please, let it snow.

Had this been the first American remake I would have considered it more than the passable remake remake that it is. Had this been the first I would have given it something like 3.5 out of 5. Instead I’m giving it a 2. Why?

Because the entire runtime all I could think about is why in the hell they took this franchise away from one of the greatest working directors in modern history? Who in the hell thought this was a good idea? David Fincher is on a shortlist of directors who I would blindly finance no questions asked. He is in the ranks of Spielberg, Kubrick, Villeneuve and other legends behind the camera.

Of course it’s a monetary decision, this version of Lisbeth Salander is a more advertisement friendly, action oriented driven character that the average moviegoers will be drawn to. I get it. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

This is not, however, what this character is and what her world is all about. She is supposed to be a lost soul still managing to find her strength to push on in a world wrought with the ugliest, most morally bankrupt human beings thinking they can get away with their deepest, darkest secrets that would make the public absolutely wretch in disgust; only to find her holding up a proverbial mirror to their actions holding them accountable, for everything.

With the help of Mikael Blomkvist, a relationship strained but resourceful in the area of research and journalism they find their targets. There are nuances of attraction between them that is earned through character development and the harrowing experiences they survive together. They survive because they are with one another despite the outside influences of their other lives weighing so heavily on their minds. It is a fascinating relationship that was developed so viscerally, so convincingly, so beautifully in Fincher’s version. Mara and Craig were nothing short of mesmerizing; their chemistry had the proper concoction of vulnerability and disdain but desire to see one another thrive.

While the action of Spider’s Web is passable its position at the front of the line, being the focal point of so much of the film is not what this world of Salander is supposed to be. Fincher captures the acidity of their world. He kept a watchful eye on every disgusting, deplorable moment, almost glorifying it as a means to leave us as the audience just as horrified as the characters that find themselves caught in such a dire and filthy situation. The action should come as a result of their discoveries, not the other way around.

This is a world that is supposed to leave you feeling uneasy, uncertain and quite frankly a bit filthy yourself. It sounds strange but this environment that these characters are supposed to inhabit should make you want to bathe after watching it all, to scrub away the layer of scum that formed over your body during the runtime. The Girl In the Spider’s Web is fine, but we could have had amazing with another go around with Fincher, Mara and Craig. The idea of what could have been was too overwhelming to fully accept what this film ultimately ended up being, which for my money is a disappointment.

Mara delivered an academy award worthy effort that solidified her as a true powerhouse performer. I fully support the upward trajectory of Claire Foy’s career right now, she is completely deserving of all the success she has had in the past couple of years. That said here, like the movie itself, she’s just fine. To go from legendary work to mediocre simply lowers the mediocrity to a whole new low.

Maybe I should try to view this as an original property, to judge it on its own merits but what was turned into lesser than and I simply can’t look beyond the shortcomings considering they exist solely because of money. Sony shat the bed again and the stench is too much to handle.

For the average moviegoer this film will most likely suffice. For film fans and fans of what was, hoping that tradition would continue will be let down. Stick to the Swedish films, stick with the Fincher version and let this one fade into obscurity.

P.S. – Almost forgot to mention that this film suffers from the same affliction that destroyed the Die Hard franchise, they forgot to make the main character, John McClane, Lisbeth Salander, human. Instead we have rugged, ragged superhero types. The grit and grime is nearly completely lost.

Rated R For: violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
Runtime: 117 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Starring: Claire Foy, Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Merchant, Sylvia Hoeks
Directed By: Fede Alvarez

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2/ Acting: 3/ Directing: 2.5/ Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 2 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: No

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard