Claire Foy (Finalized)
Credit: Reiner Bajo/Columbia Pictures

Was anyone honestly starving for another Lisbeth Salander movie?

So far, the franchise adapted from Stieg Larsson’s coach-class best-sellers has been one of diminishing returns. The original Swedish film trilogy starring Noomi Rapace kicked things off with an urgent blast of #MeToo cyberpunk energy. And David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, with Rooney Mara, looked slick as hell, even if some of the Scandinavian gloom got lost in translation. Now a miscast Claire Foy adopts the hacker vigilante’s black leather and badass avenging-angel attitude for The Girl in the Spider’s Web — a disappointingly safe, by-the-numbers action-thriller.

Salander has always been the franchise’s marquee draw. Still, a big part of the saga’s spiky, live-wire appeal came from the interplay between her traumatized character and journalist Mikael Blomkvist. As played this time around by Borg vs McEnroe’s Sverrir Gudnason, though, he’s a passive afterthought; worse, the pair have zero chemistry. Instead, Foy, with her distractingly clipped Swedish accent and robotic inscrutability, is plopped into a derivative cat-and-mouse plot about a stolen computer program that controls the world’s nuclear arsenal. Snooze.

With its palette of chilly slate grays and smattering of unremarkable action sequences, Spider’s Web will likely be a letdown for fans who once embraced Salander’s bold queerness and bleak nihilism. Now she’s just another interchangeable Hollywood action hero. I’d be shocked if she returned for another sequel — and a bit relieved if she didn’t. C

The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018 movie)
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