Being the third in a trilogy you’d expect this movie to be the best of the series. You’d also expect it to answer all the questions you’ve built up through watching the series. You may also expect this to be the most action packed hard hitting and emotional of the series. With The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, you get almost none of these expectations met. Which is a shame.
The main plot line in Hornet’s Nest is the trial of Lisbeth Salander for the three murders that carry over from the last film.
Through most of the film we’re shown the dire lengths everyone close to Lisbeth is going through to keep her safe and protected as there are countless villians after her, trying to silence what she and Mikael have exposed in the story up to this point.
Mikael gets his lawyer sister Annika to represent Lisbeth in the trial thus keeping himself directly invested in the trial as well as an opportunity to feed and share information with her and Lisbeth. Outside of the trial Mikael is set on dedicating the next issue of Millennium to a story explaining how Lisbeth is being framed for the murders and in turn, exposing the true criminals who we find out are directly related to Zala from The Girl Who Played With Fire.
The detective work in Hornet’s Nest is almost sloppy compared to the other two films, it seems rushed as though we should just expect Mikael to be as good as he comes across even though he’s up against a higher calibre of enemy in this film. That enemy being a faceless, nameless organization that has no trail showing they even exist outside of speculation and conspiracy.
As we find ourselves getting deeper into the mystery and closer to finding out who has been framing Lisbeth, we also get closer to losing our main characters as everyone keeps getting threats either through e-mail up to physical attacks on Erika’s (Mikael’s publisher at Millennium) house via a brick through the window in the middle of the night.
Mikael refuses help, continuing on his downward spiral towards a near suicidal run at clearing Lisbeth’s name going as far as to publish the issue of Millennium without the help of Erika or the rest of his staff for the sake of trying to protect them by acting out on his own.
Throughout the trial Lisbeth is her own expert witness in the story of her own life, having written an autobiography on a secretly obtained cell phone during her stint in a hospital awaiting the trial. The main witness called forward on the behalf of the prosecution is the psychologist who was in charge of Lisbeth when she was a child, admitted for setting her father on fire after dousing him with a box of gasoline (as summized in The Girl Who Played With Fire). He disregards Lisbeth’s autobiography as a figmentation of her own delusions and does his best to play up her instability throughout the trial swaying the judge and jury with his theories and professional testimony.
During the film I found myself being more sickened by a few key characters, wondering what it would take for people to treat others the way they do. While there is resolution, I was left with a longing for a more concrete ending to the story. What happens with Lisbeth and Mikael? What happens with Millennium?
Should there be another movie in this series? I don’t think so. There’s no finished book to continue the series off of and anyone who thinks they could finish Stieg’s image or carry it on in any seriousness is sorely mistaken. The emotions you develop along with watching the characters playing their parts in these films can never be replicated along with the story material in quite the same way Stieg Larsson could write them.
All in all, this is a fantastic series worth watching in it’s entirety. I can safely say I may eventually watch the series again, but I want to read the books first, then see how well the translation pulled off, from the book to the original Swedish films and then to the American version.