REVIEW: ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ is a tangled mess

A still of actress Claire Foy in the film "The Girl in the Spider's Web."

If you are a fan of the “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” novel, turn away from the film adaptation.

Every decision made in the production of this movie confused me. This film is supposedly a sequel to director David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” but in reality, it has very little connection to that film.

It has a new director (Fede Alvarez), an entirely new cast and barely any references to the events that occurred in the original film.

The timing of this film is also strange. It has been nearly seven years since the original was released, and the public hasn’t exactly been clamoring for a sequel.

But perhaps the oddest decision made with this film was the decision to base the second film in the series on the fourth novel, entirely skipping over the second and third books.

The fourth novel, coincidentally, also happens to be the first in the series that was not written by the original author and was written more than a decade after the other three books.

These behind-the-scenes decisions are the hallmarks of an unfocused and troubled production, and it shows.

The film itself focuses on Lisbeth Salander, a hacker and defender of abused women who is played by Claire Foy, as she gets caught in a murderous web of international espionage, organized crime and family drama.

On paper this description sounds like the foundation for a gripping action thrill ride. In reality, unfortunately, it ends up being more bland than exciting.

While the first film focused more on mystery and intrigue, this film shifts gears by basically turning Lisbeth into a female emo version of Batman.

The film had a very heavy focus on action, but unfortunately, the action itself was not executed very well. Every gunfight or car chase felt like I had already seen it a million times, and several points in the film felt like a bad imitation of “Mission: Impossible.”

The visual styling of the film didn’t help matters either. The entire film has a very cold and drab color palette, which makes the already generic action sequences even less exciting to watch.

In the process of trying to build up Lisbeth, the remaining characters in the film fell to the wayside.

Mikael Blomkvist, played by Sverrir Gudnason, was arguably the main protagonist of the original film but seems to barely get any focus in this one.

The new characters introduced in this film are equally underdeveloped, which is a shame because they could have been very interesting had the film gave them the attention they deserved. Sadly, the film would rather spend more time on car chases and shootouts than on developing its characters.

As a whole, this film is simply bland and unoriginal. The visual styling is cold and unappealing, the action scenes are generic and the characters do not get the focus that they deserve.

If you are a fan of the original film, this sequel is not going to live up to your expectations. If you are simply looking for an action movie to waste a few hours with, there are better options. I give this film a 4/10.

Caleb Compton is a graduate student in computer science. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to