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Film / The Girl in the Spider's Web

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The Girl in the Spider's Web is a 2018 thriller directed by Fede Álvarez (Evil Dead, Don't Breathe), based on the 2015 novel of the same name from the Millennium Series by David Lagercrantz. A sequel to David Fincher's 2011 American-produced English-language adaptation The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it serves as a Soft Reboot of the latter, with none of the first film's cast and creative team returning.

Set sometime after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) has fully taken to vigilantism. When an international conspiracy brings her and former associate Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) back together, Lisbeth must confront demons from her past, or suffer the consequences. Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Merchant, Sylvia Hoeks, Volker Bruch and Vicky Krieps also star in supporting roles.

The Girl in the Spider's Web contains examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: This film is more action-heavy than its predecessor.
  • Actor IS the Title Character: Home media had a variant, using Lisbeth's sobriquet — Claire Foy is the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
  • Adaptation Deviation: Lisbeth and Camilla's backstory is significantly altered from the books. In the books, Lisbeth and Camilla both lived with their mother, Agnetta. Lisbeth attempted to kill her father, Alexander "Zala" Zalachenko, with a petrol-bomb when he brutalized their mother, an act which led to her being placed in a psychiatric ward and later being made a ward of the state, while Camilla was sent to a series of foster homes before she ultimately turned to a life of crime. In the film however, Lisbeth and Camilla both lived with their father (with no mention being made of their mother) and Lisbeth ran away as a child, while Camilla was raised by Zala and ended up working for his criminal organization as an adult.
  • Age Lift: Aged 39 during production, Sverrir Gudnason is the youngest actor to portray Mikael Blomkvist to date, following Michael Nyqvist and Daniel Craig, who were both in their late and early forties, respectively. Downplayed by Claire Foy, who is only a year older than predecessor Rooney Mara.
  • Bomb Proof Appliance: Lisbeth survives a bomb in her apartment by jumping into the bathtub.
  • Bookends: Both the beginning and the end of the film takes place at Camilla and Lisbeth's childhood home. At the start of the film, Lisbeth jumps off a cliff into the snow to escape from her father, while at the end of the film, it is Camilla who jumps off a cliff in a seeming attempt to kill herself.
  • Broad Strokes: The film takes this approach to the events of the previous novels/films. We're told that Lisbeth's father Zalanchenko died three years ago and Mikael Blomkvist wrote an expose about him in the Millennium magazine — which implies that at least some of the events of The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest might have occurred prior to this film.
  • Cain and Abel: Lisbeth and her estranged sister Camilla.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mikael Blomkvist. In the books and previous films, he is the protagonist alongside Salander. In this film however, he is just another one of her friends and associates and plays a fairly minimal role in the overall plot.
  • Distressed Dude: Mikael Blomkvist ends up becoming this towards the end of the film - kidnapped and held hostage by the Spiders as leverage against Salander.
  • The Dog Bites Back: When Lisbeth starts working over the Corrupt Corporate Executive who had been acquitted of beating up two prostitutes, he demands that his wife(whom he had also beaten brutally) call security. When Lisbeth snags his cell phone and announces her intentions to transfer 20% of his account to the prostitutes and the remaining 80% to his wife, the wife is more than happy to provide his account number.
    Lisbeth: Take your child and go. He won't hurt you again.
  • Faking the Dead: Camilla faked her death by suicide three years before the start of the film's events, following her father's death.
  • Goths Have It Hard: This film has Lisbeth again as a goth in dress and interest, but changes up her backstory, without it being any less angsty: she is seriously traumatized because she grew up in a crime syndicate with an abusive single father and fled by jumping off a cliff and running away to Stockholm.
  • The Mafiya: Lisbeth and Camilla's father Zalachenko was part of a Russian crime syndicate. After his death, Camilla takes over the organization and renames it 'the Spiders'.
  • Parental Incest: It is implied that Zalachenko sexually abused Camilla after Lisbeth ran away.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Played with. The film features more characters who aren't of Swedish origin, notably LaKeith Stanfield's Edwin Needham, an American. The setting itself, however, is still largely based in Sweden.
  • Soft Reboot: This film is a sequel to the 2011 adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but features an entirely different cast and was largely made by different creatives.
  • Title Drop: The Girl with the Spider's Web appears as the name of the article Blomkvist is planning to write about the events of the film. He eventually decides not to go ahead with the article.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: To the point that literally the entire final confrontation is in the trailer.
  • Vigilante Man: Or rather, Vigilante Woman. Lisbeth is established as one at the start of the film, routinely targeting men who commit acts of violence against women. While the character in the books has always had a vigilante streak, this is the first time it has been made so explicit.
  • Wham Shot: The movie opens with a man apologizing to his unseen wife, which she accepts. Their tones are so normal that it seems like a typical "kiss and make up" scenario, until the camera pans down to her huddled on the floor, her face covered with bruises.
  • Where It All Began: The climax of the film takes place at Lisbeth and Camilla's childhood home, which is where their respective stories, and the narrative of the film, began.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: At the beginning of the movie, Lisbeth breaks into the home of a Corrupt Corporate Executive who had just brutally beaten his wife, and earlier been acquitted after beating two prostitutes. Lisbeth easily traps him in a snare leaving him hanging upside down, grabs his dropped cellphone, accesses his bank accounts and transfers 20% of his funds into accounts held by the two prostitutes, and the rest into his wife's account. The wife is about to call security until Lisbeth asks for her account number, which she promptly provides. Lisbeth then tells her, "Take your child and leave. He won't hurt you again," blackmails the husband to never contact his wife again with a video of him having sex with his boss's wife, and tasers him in the groin for good measure, leaving him writhing in agony and humiliatingly emptying his bladder.
    CEO: Who are you?
    Lisbeth: You should ask yourself that question.