Written by Manisha Lakhe on November 23, 2018
The Ducati Is Good, The Rest Is Predictable Hollywood
Lisbeth Salander is now a known hacker, and saves women from abusive husbands and boyfriends and brothers and fathers. She chooses an assignment to delete a defence program and gets into all kinds of trouble. The programmer is dead and his child knows the password, so the child needs to be protected. But Lisbeth is in mortal danger too. Can she save herself?
Lisbeth Salander, international hacker and Michael Blomkvist the journalist you met when you watched Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. You loved how she was a misfit. You wanted to be as single minded as him. The book taught you how to read the many Swedish train station and introduced you to names with the letter 'e' written funny and 'o' with a slash through it, and the ever present umlaut... I even searched for 'Swedish language classes in Mumbai' after having read everything written by Larrson. I promised to not laugh at the names spelt funny which in India sounded like they were 'fixed' by a numerologist... The book Girl In The Spider's Web is different from the film. But we're talking movies, so here goes...
I have loved Rooney Mara so much as Lisbeth Salander that I expected Ryan Gosling to show up and get Claire Foy (his wife in First Man) back home.
In the film this Lisbeth Salander is shown to be someone who simply goes into situations like a bull in a china shop. Not right at all. She's supposed to be sharp and intellectual and someone who has all her moves planned. If you know there are bad guys who are going into the safehouse where your programmer and his son are holed up, and they're killing everyone without remorse, you don't just barge in and be taken in by the bad guys from behind. You want to say, 'Look behind you!' more than once! She's meant to be smarted than Sunny Deol! And Sunny Deol can bludgeon anyone who thinks they can attack him from behind. Sigh. This happens too many times in the film...
The only time she is the Lisbeth Salander we loved in the books and the first film, is at the airport, where she hacks into the control systems and corners the American NSA agent into doing her bidding. You want to hi-five an imaginary friend at that time.
And you've seen the bike action in the trailer. It will make you want to move to colder climes just because you like Ducatis. Yes, yes, it reminded me that I'm too short to ride this one, but oh what joy to hear it in the film!
This is a good action film, but has such crigemworthy obvious mistakes by characters that it does not become great, even though Lisbeth's companions kill the bad guys with the help of the heat signatures from the outside. The brilliant kid (supposed to be autistic in the book, is normal but introverted/quiet in the film) knows that his father is dead, but answers the phone... Yaar! Even annoying kids in Hindi movies don't do that!
So the story takes Lisbeth to her past and Ms.Foy does a good job showing Lisbeth's vulnerability. But is it enough? You want more of her connect to Michael Blomkvist, but here he's no more than a bystander and collateral damage, really. You wish the story had him do more than discover who Spiders really are. And the daddy issues seem to be just too easy a way out.
Those who are telling you that the film is 'edgy', have never seen a girl on a bike. Or a seen a girl as 'hero'.
It's an okay watch because action set pieces are well done, but you have so many amazing Finnish, Swedish and German shows on Netflix, that you miss the meat on the story.