Tag Team Review – The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest

Holler! That’s right devoted followers, it’s time for another Tag Team Review! With the combined muscle of brothers Madden and Wakeman (listed alphabetically naturally) surely we can take down the third in 2010’s big movie trilogy. Will we survive to tell the tale…? Read on to find out. As always, Chris W in green and Chris M in blue.

I’m completely torn.

Part of me wants to start this review by celebrating the fact that UK audiences got to experience a full trilogy in the space of a year in 2010. In a nod to short attention spans and striking whilst the iron is hot The Girl… series took full advantage of its delayed release schedule for part 1 and gave us nearly 9 hours of cinema in a third of the time it took the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

However, the other part of me wants to sink my teeth right in and ask the question “what was the point”? When all is said and done …The Hornet’s Nest (and by extension …Played With Fire) represent the worst things about trilogies; repetition, lack of focus and meandering.

I’ll come right out and say it; in my opinion Hornet’s Nest is a really really bad film. It is way too long for there to be no action or intrigue whatsoever, and the whole experience seems to rely on the assumption that we can forgive it its sins once Lisbeth is on screen.

The fact is we almost could, but even Noomi Rapace cannot save this film from absolute tedium. As Lisbeth Salander she remains the best thing about the Millenium series (good luck to her in Hollywood) but she just isn’t given enough screen time to make enough of an impact. You could probably count the scenes in which she speaks on one hand.

Much like in …Played With Fire the real shame is that Lisbeth and Mikael (Michael Nyqvist) don’t share much screen time; the potential their relationship showed in …Dragon Tattoo has been completely squandered in the subsequent films and by the end of the series Mikael feels less like a lover or friend and more like a protective father. Ok it’s probably more age appropriate, but it lessens the sense that Lisbeth is a big girl who can take care of herself thanks very much.

The biggest problem is that the film reads like a tacky thriller-novel; characters serendipitously come together (in that sense the finale is just bollocks), conspiracies and allies meet in rooms and discuss things without ever really doing anything (the detective element is like an episode of CSI but without the frenetic editing or sexy people) and everything ties together in a neat little package that is foreseeable from the first 10 minutes.

All in all it just feels like a major waste of time, but one that audiences will say they had to see. The series as a whole may have put Swedish cinema on the map (with the help of Let The Right One In) and created a star in Noomi Rapace but it fell quickly into the same traps Hollywood thrillers do by resting on its laurels and more than anything left me thankful that there isn’t a fourth book to adapt.

All I can say is; there’s no way David Fincher could do much worse if he does the whole trilogy.

Maybe I wasn’t so torn after all.


Before I kick off, I want to get pernickity about three things;

1. It’s Hornets’ Nest, not Hornet’s Nest.
2. Who the hell is this girl in the posters that have been used all trilogy?! Am I the only one who thinks that she looks nothing like Noomi Rapace?! (Either that or a very generous brush job…)
3. Referring to this as “the thriller of the decade” is a lie.

Onto business!

It was with mixed feelings that I entered the screening of The Girl… On the one hand I had high hopes that it would deliver the same unexpected sucker punch of great cinema that the first did and on the other I just hoped it wouldn’t be as tedious and as boring as The Girl Who Played with Fire was just three short months ago. No real surprise then that both hands were wrong and this movie was everything I hoped it wouldn’t be.

You know how we always hear that “crime doesn’t pay” and “what goes around comes around” and that basically bad people always get their comeuppance? Well they do in this case, however, instead of having them fired off into the sun on a missile with a cheesy one liner (a la countless action movies); we go down the serious route of courts and legal action. It just turns out that all the logistics and the legal wranglings involved in bringing bad people to justice are really really tiresome and pretty effin dull. Added to that, nothing new is revealed throughout the course of this film – everything is known about “the bad guys” from the off, so what you’re left with is two and a half hours of postulating and positioning before the taking down of the wrongdoers occurs.

Seemingly everybody gets what they deserve in the end except Blomqvist who has basically gone out of his way to help someone who doesn’t give two hoots about him through the last two movies, only for a cheers mate and a door slammed in his face. Well worth the effort that… It does however act as an embodiment of everything wrong with the film; cheers for the effort mate but you probably would have been better not bothering…

The shambling tale is capped off with an ill advised and somewhat unexplainable finale where, against all better reason and logic, Lisbeth inexplicably puts herself in harm’s way, only to prove two minutes later that she really is a bad ass and can take care of herself just fine thanks – which oddly serves to belittle aforementioned “finale” (yeah I used inverted commas) further.

What you’re left with then is a film that repeats all the things that made the second one worse than the first; a distinct lack of action, mystery and leading character interaction leaves this as a long, drawn out and mostly boring affair. The first was great because Lisbeth and Mikael were caught up in something; disparate characters working together to solve a mystery. The second two blow because they focus exclusively on Lisbeth’s history and remove all intrigue from proceedings.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I would recommend you definitely do not see this film.

As for the trilogy as a whole? I guess they tell a complete story, it’s just not a very interesting one. I’m sure they work very well as novels, but as movies? I’d watch the first and give the other two a miss if I were you. Add this to the list of trilogies that you kind of wish had stopped after the first… Wait, that gives me an idea…

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6 Responses to Tag Team Review – The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest

  1. D Jizzle says:

    ”1. It’s Hornets’ Nest, not Hornet’s Nest.”

    Are you sure, the nest they refer to may just mean only 1 hornet?

    • misschraddon says:

      Well Ceedub and I spoke about this – apparently what you said was their intention but I dismissed this as stupidity because in nature no one hornet owns a nest. Plus the film proves that there’s a metric shit ton of hornets anyway…

  2. Well, I enjoyed it. I thought there was plenty of action and intrigue! There’s murders and attempted murders all over the place and details and twists about the villains come thick and fast. I found it really tense from the off and the court scene where the lawyer holds back playing her hand (the video tape) was excruciatingly tense. It was much better than the second film and not as good as the first, sure, I would have liked to have seen more Lisbeth and I agree her naivety at the end was a blatant set up for a last minute set piece but as a whole I enjoyed it.

    I agree though that the first film works much better as a film in it’s own right. The second and third film are really just parts one and two of their own story using characters set up in the first. However I think that if you started at ‘Played with Fire’ you might not care too much about what happens in ‘Hornets Nest’ and so can see the criticism against both films. I just don’t think it was boring or as court drama-y as you make out.

    I must say I’m still annoyed/intrigued about what David Fincher is going to do with it though.

    • misschraddon says:

      Looks like we’re going to need more written reviews from you sir!

      I think at lot of my issues with this film derived from the fact that i couldn’t separate it from the first in my mind. Admittedly it is better than the second but it seemingly flaunts everything I wanted in front of me (i.e. Lisbeth and Mikael) but didn’t ever give me a chance to see them properly. Arguably one f the main characters in this film is Lisbeth’s lawyer (Mikael’s sister), and whilst she was good she just wasn’t what I’d turned up to see.

      I’m pleased though that you derived some pleasure for it. Maybe you’re just a much more patient man that me! 😉

  3. […] referenced recently in our Tag Team Review of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest there are often trilogies in movie land that you wish just hadn’t happened. What start off as […]

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