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The Millennium Trilogy concludes, and by the end, it’s a somewhat mixed bag.

Credit where credit’s due: Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander continues to be the biggest draw for the film.  Sadly, she isn’t given too much to do – this being in terms of her hacker skills – but the physical transformation involved with the character alone is worth the price of admission.  The courtroom scenes that show her wearing a completely over-the-top goth outfit highlights that the most.

Out of the three films, Hornet’s Nest does the best job at adapting the book, getting rid of all the extraneous subplots, but also adding elements from a few of those subplots to make things somewhat different between mediums.  The office staff for Millennium is wisely reduced to four, keeping to a core set of characters and giving them enough development to move the film forward.

The film itself picks up right where the previous one left off: Salander is sent to a hospital, recovering from her wounds; her half-brother is on the run, having killed one police officer and severely injuring another one; Mikael  Blomkvist is on a trail trying to clear Lisbeth’s name; and, a secret police group is working to silence everyone, in one way or another.

With Salander on the sidelines, it’s up to the conspiracy plot to move things forward.  It does work to an extent: the cat and mouse game is exciting when things happen, but the “things happen” part is few and far in between.  Between the occasional spurts of action are long bits of exposition.  They advance the plot, but the exposition weighs everything down, especially when the plot needs to be explained.  Also, being a plot driven movie, characters are often left as mere caricatures and ciphers.  Blomkvist and Salander get the most character development, but that’s also because they got it two films ago (Erika wasn’t even properly named in the first film, only in the credits).

Also, and most damning – especially to the fans of the books – is the reason why Blomkvist and Salander don’t talk to each other for long periods of time, if at all after the first film.  I tried recalling why, in the movies, Salander completely dismisses Blomkvist.  I know what occurs at the end of the first novel that does this, but because of the need to cut out certain subplots and character traits (like Mikael’s promiscuity), important things get left out.  Granted, no one knew that these films would become as massive as they eventually did.  Something could have been done to address that particular point; their meeting at the end of this movie doesn’t hold up because the catalyst is never introduced, and various things that characters say along the way holds no weight or bearing because of the lack of a catalyst.

That said, I realize two things: I read the books and I’m comparing the two together unfavorable, and I need to find someone who hasn’t read the books to watch the movies and decide what they think about them.  I decided long ago (back when I wrote the review to Dragon Tattoo actually) that I need to objectively keep the novel and film separate.  By now, that certainly hasn’t happened, hence the need for someone to view just the movies objectively before reading the books.

As for the film standing alone, it’s slow, it’s pondering, but it’s acted well despite the lack of character development, and Noomi Rapace still remains a great draw as Lisbeth Salander.  It does wrap up the trilogy effectively, but by this point, it’s mainly for the fans and for crime genre lovers.

C+

Welcome back Lisbeth Salander.  We sure missed you on your short trip away from the theaters.  I’m sure the trip could be coincided between your assistance in the missing person’s case with Mikael Blomkvist and your random travels around the world.  You haven’t missed much, but I’m sure you could be easily caught up.

But lo, you find yourself in another conundrum, this time being accused of a triple homicide that you may or may not have committed.  Your prints were on the weapon, after all, which was conveniently left in the stairwell for the police to find.  Your on again, off again girlfriend gets kidnapped for answers as well, and that doesn’t sit well with you at all.  Oh, and Blomkvist is trying to be your friend.  Not that you really care, since you can take care of yourself thank you very much.  It’s just a matter of involving people that upsets you and makes you be a one woman wrecking crew.

You remain, by far, the most interesting person in this little adventure, with your photographic memory and the suggestion of Asperger’s Syndrome adding to the enigma that you are.  The best hacker by far, though those skills that were impressive in your investigations last time around take a bit of a back seat.  You still hack, but not as much, since you seemed focused on saving your own neck and clearing your name.

Your adventure is a bit tighter this time around, more or less because you’re the one being chased and, also, doing the chasing.  Unfortunately, the chasers don’t have much of anything to work with personality wise, and the familiar cast don’t come through as much as well, including Blomkvist.  But then, this isn’t Blomkvist’s adventure this time, but yours Miss Salander.  Can’t really fault the guy, can you?

Your adventures are filled well enough, from your beginning escapades in the Caribbean to the mountainous regions of Sweden, which include a car chase, a boxing match show down between your personal boxing partner and a hulking blond giant who doesn’t feel pain, your own beat down of a couple thugs that was quite impressive indeed, and the final showdown between you, the blond giant, and… well, can’t give that secret away, can I?

Your adventures, at least to this viewer, were translated much better to the screen this time around than your previous adaptation.  Granted, the director had to cut out large sections of the story to make this fit in the 130 minute running time, but the argument could have been made that the second book could have stood to lose a hundred pages and it still would have worked.

But this is a movie review, not a book review, so let’s keep it at that.

In conclusion, since I really don’t have much else to say, it’s not as good as the first one, but it’s still serviceable, with a tight enough plot to keep things going and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.  And, it has a character like Lisbeth Salander, who by far has no comparison to any other character that has come onto the screen this year.

There’s still one more adventure for you too, and I’m looking forward to that one as well.

B