“The Girl Who Played With Fire” is very good, but a step down from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," if only because that film and its casting were so fresh and unexpected. A thriller is incomparably more arresting when it involves plausible people doing plausible things, rather than archetypes co-starring with animation.
Thanks to a comment left on my Girl With The Dragon Tattoo blog, I was able to finally see The Girl Who Played With Fire. I didn’t think that it was going to come to Vegas, but low and behold, it was at one theater. And I was excited. Very very excited. And needless to say, the movie did not disappoint. I have not read the book (I am almost done with the first one now), but I was excited to see what was going to happen to Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. This thriller series once again hold tight and does not let go.
The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second film but it has a different director (Daniel Alfredson) and screenwriter (Jonas Frykberg). The provenance is complicated: the books went into production as a six-part TV series just as the trilogy's sales were taking off around the world. The series was then refashioned with extra material to make stand-alone movies but even these exist in different versions. The Swedish-release version of Tattoo ran 180 minutes but 152 minutes elsewhere. Fire appears to be 129 minutes in all territories. The six-part TV series also exists. This is going to keep collectors poor for a decade.