Mikael is tied up, slowly being hanged, and about to be sexually assaulted by Martin... then Lisbeth shows up, attacks Martin and saves Mikael.
Nils Bjurman, Lisbeth's replacement guardian, takes advantage of her financial situation by brutally raping her. Lisbeth gets her revenge by secretly taping the attack, torturing him and threatening to ruin him with the tape unless he gives her full control of her finances. This is actually one of the first moments we see of her, so it makes her all the more awesome.
Lisbeth effortlessly cleaning out Wennerström of his ill-gotten funds, leaving him to get killed by some of the criminals with whom he was associated. And the best part is that she didn't even do it for the money or anything. She just wanted to help Mikael take the bastard down.
The opening credits of the American film, playing like the darkest nightmares of the people who makes the James Bond credits.
The Girl Who Played with Fire:
Paolo Roberto to "the blond giant" Niederman, right before rescuing Miriam Wu.
Paolo: What do you say we find you somebody in your own weight class?
He then wins the fight by driving a plank into Niederman's skull. Niederman himself is shocked by this turn of events.
Miriam Wu is a Badass Damsel while this is going on. When kidnapped by Niederman, handcuffed and tortured, she demonstrates kickboxing training With My Hands Tied, and helps Paolo take down Niederman with a Groin Attack.
Do not accuse a competent female cop on an all-male police investigation of leaking articles to the press in front of Officer Bublanksi, without proof. He will find the real leak, expose him to the prosecutor, and arrest him for violating police confidentiality. Like another Officer Bubbles, this Officer demonstrates to Prosecutor Eckstrom and Hedstrom of Milton Security why You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry.
Lisbeth demonstrates more than her usual amount of Bad Ass moments.
First, rescuing an abused woman from her murderous Gold Digger husband Dr. Forbes in the middle of a hurricane in Grenada.
The reason why she was out in the hurricane? To warn her lover du jour George Bland and get him to a hotel shelter. Bland lives in a wooden shack and wouldn't have survived the storm. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
Fends off Carl-Magnus Lundin, a ponytailed motorcycle gangster, twice when he attempts to kidnap her. The first time, she demonstrates how keys can serve as brass knuckles. The second time he tries, laughing at her, she maces him and shoots him in the foot.
Paolo Roberto knows Lisbeth because she managed to put up a challenging fight against him in the boxing ring after he laughed at her for wanting to sign up for lessons. A Groin Attack was involved, as was a Jerkass Realization on Paolo's part. In a Zig-Zagged version of Defeat Means Friendship, he apologized and started training her. They still spar at least once a year.
Lisbeth has been shot in the head and Buried Alive. She digs herself out with a cigarette case, and drives an axe into her father's head.
"Calle" Blumkvist also gets a few moments
Intuits that Salander is innocent since Dag and Mia were doing work that she supported, and asserts to Bubblanski that he will find another explanation for the killing.
Figures out how to contact Salander on his hard drive, in an untracecable fashion: he makes a folder called Salander and leaves her Word documents with messages.
Makes a deal with Officer Bjork to learn about Zala, planning to use Exact Words to expose him as a "john" (man who visits prostitutes). Bjork gets Out-Gambitted when he tries to hide how Salander is involved.
When he finds the police report that Bjork gave to Bjurman, which reveals how Bjork covered up Zalachenko's abuse of Salander's mother he makes photocopies and has several mailed to Officer Bubbslanki. Bubblanski later mentions Bjork will be taken into custody, which is a Moment Of Awesome for the investigator as well when he realizes that Teleborian lied about Salander.
Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, but he phones his sister while on the train to find Salander, to explain that Xanatos Speed Chess with the police may get him arrested; however, he wants her to represent Salander in criminal court because Gianinni is "the most brilliant lawyer" he knows and someone that Salander will trust.
After a lucky guess gets him past Salander's apartment security, he finds the DVD of Bjurman raping Salander, and guesses in minutes what Bjurman did and how Salander is fighting back. The DVD becomes a Chekhov's Boomerang.
Demonstrates Chekhov's Skill when his military training comes in handy for incapacitating Ronald Niederman at the book's climax. The army teaches you how to tie knots, apparently.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest:
After Gianinni gets Teleborian to commit to lying about everything in Salander's file while he's testifying, she systematically tears his entire treatment of Lisbeth to shreds, from force-feeding her psychotropic drugs, to falsifying legal documents regarding her mental state. Then the cops come in and arrest him for having almost 10,000 pictures of kiddie porn on his computer.
Though Lisbeth is always a walking moment of awesome, other women in the story get there CMOA, too. Erika sticks it to her new boss when he turns out to be a scuzzbucket, telling him he HAS to resign and refusing to be bullied.
When a dangerous stalker is threatening Erika, the female bodyguard hired by Milton single handedly turns him into a whimpering little boy, breaking his knee caps and cuffing him.
Monica Figuerola: A wonderwoman Cop. Her favourite activities? Sex and working out.
When she tries to arrest a member of the section, he tries to punch her. Picture a geriatric man trying to assault a strong, fit, police officer. She simply says "You have got to be kidding" and pushes him to the floor. So this is also a Crowning Moment of Funny
Lisbeth nailing Niederman's feet to the floor, then calling the gang he betrayed to tell them where he is. THEN she calls the police to let them know where the gang is. She kills two birds with one stone, by getting rid of Niedermann AND the Motorcycle Gang all in one.