The Girl in the Spider’s Web—the second English-language movie adaptation of a novel from the Dragon Tattoo series begun by the late Stieg Larsson—feels second-hand in every way. The director is new, the lead actress is new, the rest of the cast is new, and the book on which the film is based wasn’t written by Larsson. (It’s the work of estate-approved Swedish author David Lagercrantz, and like Larsson’s books it was a transatlantic bestseller.)

Everything about this project is awkward, writes Kurt Loder.

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