The Millennium novel series began in 2005 with The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo. It spawned four direct sequels, with a sixth slated for release this year. Columbia Pictures released a cinematic adaptation of the series’ pioneering book in 2011, which garnered critical acclaim. It received a sequel and soft reboot in last year’s Girl in the Spider’s Web, an adaption of the fourth Millennium book. 


Series protagonist Lisbeth Salander returns to the big screen, played by Claire Foy who inherited the role from Rooney Mara. Salander is emotionally withdrawn because of traumatic experiences she endured in her youth, something Foy’s nuanced portrayal does justice. Unfortunately, as with the similarly bland Peppermint, the lead actress’ performance is the sole highlight in Spider’s Web.

Director Fede Álvarez and his crew hit all of the aesthetics action-packed thrillers are expected to have, but they fail to spin them with a clever twist. All of the set pieces and environments are typical fair for the genre, offering nothing audiences haven’t seen elsewhere. Choreography during the weightless fights and chases, meanwhile, was functional but lacked the fluidity or energy seen in productions like the latest Mission: Impossible.

Similarly, the script is forgettable. Salander and her cohort get swept up in a race to obtain a dangerous computer program NSA employee Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant) regrettably created, leading to predictable double crosses and a long-lost sister (Sylvia Hoeks) out for revenge. Spider’s Web is bound together by the theme of how one’s past can shackle them, something Balder’s young son even delivers in a thesis statement about midway through the movie. In and of itself, this is a thread that synergizes well with both the plot and Salander’s familial history (her final act is even to burn her deceased father’s home), but it isn’t explored deeply enough to elevate Spider’s Web above its tired cliches.


On the plus side, the Blu-ray contains several nice features where the crew delineate the creation of Girl in the Spider’s Web. Eight deleted scenes are included and, as with the movie proper, they have a commentary track featuring Álvarez and screenwriter Jay Basu. Four special features cover specific aspects of the filming process, namely Foy’s casting of her character, the dynamic between the Salander sisters, filming the stunts and faithfully realizing the world of Spider’s Web.

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