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Review: The Girl in the Spider's Web is Like Eating a Bowl of Cobwebs

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Film | November 10, 2018 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Film | November 10, 2018 |


The Girl in the Spider’s Web is a tedious, pointless movie that serves no purpose beyond cynically trying to squeeze another few dollars out of the Girl With Too Many Spinoffs franchise.

The Girl Who Walked Into a Cobweb picks up an interminable amount of time after the previous ones and involves no actors, writers, or directors that have ever previously been involved in the franchise. I assume that’s because they read the script. Let’s give the filmmakers of The
Girl Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain
a sliver of credit, at least they bothered making a new movie instead of opting for the fourth version of Dragon Tattoo to be filmed in nine years.

There are two basic types of irritating author stand-in characters utilized by mediocre writers: the ones the author wants to be, and the ones the author wants to fuck. Lisbeth Salander has the dubious distinction of being both at the same time. She’s basically an X-man whose superpower is xtr3me 3leet h4xoring. In this latest film, The Girl with a Batman Tattoo, Lisbeth wanders around magically hacking security systems so she can tase billionaires and give the contents of their bank accounts to the women they beat up. Everybody needs a hobby, I guess.

The Girl with the Edgy Edginess establishes that Lisbeth is, like, so fucking cool by having her smoke a lot, bang a hot woman, always dress completely in black, live in a loft decorated in mid-century concrete, and frequently go to clubs filled with vacant-eyed extras and all the untz untz untz you can roll your eyes at. Apparently, the police are still looking for her due to the events of the previous movies but are completely incapable of finding the only black-haired person in a country entirely populated by the children of the corn.

To be fair, she has obviously gone to a lot of trouble to blend in and stay incognito, what with the black motorcycle, black clothes, black sports car, black hair, dozens of identifying tattoos, and distinctly visible piercings.

The Girl with About Tree Fiddy starts with the mythos established by the previous films, of dark and lingering looks at the underbelly of misogynistic violence underneath the thin veneer of civilization and promptly shoves it down a sewer chute. OK, but instead of all that, let’s have an evil sister instead! Lisbeth can tear up a picture of her sister in act one and sure enough Chekov’s sibling will show up in act two! No one will see that coming! And let’s have her always dress in red! And runs a secret gang of evil Russians who like to poison people! And then there will be a magical MacGuffin computer software that allows anyone to launch all the nuclear weapons in the world! And the only one who can unlock it is a wee moppet!

The plot of The Girl who Stepped in a Geostorm is so catastrophically stupid that it’s what Saturday Night Live would come up with as a fake Gerard Butler movie. It’s a movie entirely composed of alternating sequences of elaborate impossible set-ups to demonstrate a character’s brilliance, followed by mandatory idiocy in order to keep the plot moving.

At any given point the entire plot would stop if one of the bad guys would just shoot Lisbeth instead of leaving her in elaborate set-ups just one step removed from sharks with lasers on their heads. It would also be resolved instantly if any good guys had a five-minute conversation with each other. Conveniently, it’s temporarily resolved if you get so bored half way through that you go to the bathroom and then get a latte in the lobby.

I mean, I assume so at least.

It wasn’t even a good latte.


Dr. Steven Lloyd Wilson is a hopeless romantic and the last scion of Norse warriors and the forbidden elder gods. His novel, ramblings, and assorted fictions coalesce at You can email him here.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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