I’m a huge fan of the first movie in this trilogy, which sets up Noomi Rapace’s powerful character so wonderfully. The second movie helped to solidify her independent badassery while making sure to show that she’s not infallible and really needs other people to help her out even though she refuses assistance at almost every turn. In this final installment, most of the work is done by her friends, but she still comes out looking the strongest.
As in the second movie there is very little contact between the two protagonists, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Lisbeth spends about half of the film in a hospital due to the events from Played with Fire, and Mikael spends all of that time gathering evidence to combat her aggressors in court. The majority of the movie is just that; evidence gathering and attempts to sabotage it, and then a pretty exciting trial bit. I’ve never been a big fan of court-tv dramas but when I really care about the characters, the setting can be gripping. The first movie alone made me love them so I actually enjoyed the proceedings.
Aside from that thread, there is also the loose end from the finale of the second film, the blond giant whose solution to every problem, big or small, is to bash someone’s head in. He happens to have a problem with Lisbeth being alive so throughout most of the movie we see short scenes of him monitoring her and waiting for the moment to strike, leading up to the action-heavy finale (similar to both previous movies in that respect) that acts as a great payoff for the large lack of violence in the preceding 120 minutes.
This one also sees the return of Lisbeth’s hacker friend Plague, a stereotypically fat but very likable guy who knows how to use a computer, and ends up pretty much saving the day. This kind of nerdery is just another aspect of these films that makes me love them even more; I recently read an article explaining how all of the hacking is completely possible, but of course not quite as simply as it’s made to be here. I’m fine with that of course. It would probably make a pretty boring movie to do it accurately.
Noomi’s performance is excellent as usual, and that’s really what I care about personally. I’m a huge fan of her goth image, which is her projection of the independence and power that she possesses; not only does it portray that well it also just looks damn cool. After she gets out of the hospital she really goes all out in that regard, adding the mohawk and big flashy neck spikes. This full regalia is what she wears to court, as if to say that she has no reason to hide herself from the jury’s scrutiny; the accusations of insanity are so groundless that even her outlandish display is not enough to discredit her.
As a movie in itself, it’s well made and entertaining, but only if you’ve seen the first two of course. The first can stand alone but these last two really require that you see them all in sequence. I suppose that’s obvious though. This one serves as a perfectly capable ending to the series, although I wish there had been a bit more payoff regarding Lisbeth and Mikael’s relationship. I suppose it would have been contrary to the theme of independence though, and probably would have cheapened it. Oh well. Still a satisfying conclusion to the saga of the Men who Hate Women.