“Like most great films, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo gets better with the second viewing,” writes Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone, “and probably even better with the third and fourth viewings.” In other words, Stone blew off last night’s IMAX screening of Mission: Impossible 4 — Ghost Protocol for a second gander at Tattoo. Life is choices.

“The Stieg Larsson books are densely detailed. Once the names settle in and the plot somewhat becomes less complicated, the film breathes. Fincher is well known for his exactitude and one simply cannot get everything that’s going on the first time through — especially some of the more intricate shots, like one in particular of Rooney Mara’s thighs with her hand dangling to one side holding a gun. His films, like Hitchcock’s and Scorsese’s, are made to be studied. He takes so much time with each shot that repeated viewings will always pay you back with one discovery after the next.

“Sure, but listen to critics who write it off because it’s not The Social Network.” That means me, folks! I’m a bad guy because I said it’s first-rate but still second-tier Fincher.

“By the end of the film, the whole point of it comes to life. This is a movie about a girl, all right. Her hard shell finally cut through, as she encounters the one man who cares enough about her to bring her a sandwich for breakfast and stand ten feet back from her, never reaching out his hand so much as to shake hers. As Blomkvist, sweetly rendered irresistible by Daniel Craig, keeps his distance from Salander, so does the girl with the dragon tattoo want to move closer to him.

“To fall in love is to have the most important layer pulled back, and the softest of flesh exposed. It’s a risk Salander has avoided for her own sake for most of her life. But to keep all surfaces protected means to repel everything that comes softly near. And that is an even bigger risk: to never have the sweetest thing.

“I look around this year at the films that are headed for Best Picture and I’m seeing mostly movies about men. Even if Dragon Tattoo wanted to be about about a man it has been overtaken by a girl.”