The funniest moment in The Girl in the Spider’s Web comes when Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) briefly wears a pink hat. She’s trying to get away from her pursuers at a crowded airport, and she lets them see her wearing the hat. Then, once they’re looking for a girl in a pink hat, she takes it off and gives it to someone else. What’s comic isn’t so much that black-clad, uber-goth avenging angel Lisbeth would ever deign to wear pink; it’s that anybody in this film would. A wide shot of the crowd at the airport reveals a sea of dour grays, browns, blues and blacks. And, yes, one tiny pink hat.
If only the rest of the movie was as inspired. By and large, this latest entry in Lisbeth’s adventures — after Noomi Rapace achieved stardom with three films in Sweden and Rooney Mara headlined an American remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — offers a drab genre piece that’s more like an attempt to establish a James Bond–like franchise for Lisbeth than a compelling exploration of the character. Everything has been watered down: the intensity of the hero, the sense of sexual danger, the violence.
Here, played by Foy with dutiful glumness, Lisbeth is recruited by a programmer who has designed a program called Firefall that can remotely access any country’s nuclear arsenal. Our girl finds herself doing battle with a ruthless international gang of criminals called the Spiders.
The movie also rallies at the end, but when you’ve got such an interesting character, it’s a waste to make her just do the same damn thing Matt Damon does whenever he’s looking for a payout.
Fede AlvarezClaire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant, Claes Bang, Christopher Convery, Synnøve Macody Lund, Vicky KriepsSteven Knight and Fede Alvarez & Jay BasuSony Pictures