The same exponential decline in story complexity that occurred between the first and second cinematic installments of Stieg Larsson's posthumously published Millennium Trilogy continues here. Where The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo had taut crisscrossing subplots of boundless internal and external significance, the final act of the trilogy is little more than a tepid courtroom drama with some willy-nilly spectacle thrown in for good measure.
Perhaps the author's gravest sin is his refusal to follow up on the budding romantic relationship that developed in the first story between our simpatico protagonists. Without Dragon Tattoo's buzzing of sexual energy between Noomi Rapace's goth-bi-action-girl Lisbeth Salander and Michael Nyqvist's Julian Assange-type editorial activist Mikael Blomkvist, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is a fallen cake. Grade: C-
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