The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo stands as its own story, and one that belonged more to Blomkvist than Salander. The Girl Who Played With Fire delved into Salander’s backstory, and this final chapter in the Millenium Trilogy is really just a sequel to that part. As a denouement, it lacks the same shock and fire of the other movies. In spite of seeing Salander all decked out in mohawk, black makeup, and studded collars (for her murder trial, no less), this is a tamer version of the heroine who fought her own revolution against the establishment in the first two stories.
It might have something to do with the fact that she spends half the movie in a hospital room with a bullet hole in her head, and the other half waiting in prison or in a courtroom. She’s still sharp, surly, and utterly confounding, but she can’t set anyone on fire, take an axe to their noggins, or blackmail them with hidden videos. She does get one last Silence-of-the-Lambs-esque scene, as the movie ties up the final loose end, but it could have used more of these types of scenes.
With Salander laid up, it again falls to Blomkvist to spend the movie tracking down the secret government section that has made everyone’s life miserable. Michael Nyqvist is as good an actor as these movies get, but this story is simply less interesting than the serial killer angle of the first film. The film also excises a subplot from the book involving Blomkvist’s partner Erika Berger, turning her into an unsympathetic, easily frightened wimp. Coincidentally, this is Erika’s most screentime of the three films. Too bad they left the original character behind.
Nonetheless, the film is entertaining, and the resolution is satisfying, though not as explosive as one would hope. Salander still remains one of the great enigmatic characters, and it’s nice to see her making no attempt to re-enter society.