Madame Web Review

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Rating: 1.5/5

Synopsis:

Sony’s Spider-Man villainverse continues with Madame Web. Cassie Webb is a paramedic that begins to experience strange events inside of her mind. She seems to see people’s deaths before they happen. When three young women begin appearing in her visions, she must intervene and protect them. Can Cassie stop the man intent on killing the girls and harness her power before it’s too late?

Positives:

I try to go into every movie with a sense of optimism and fairness. Even the poor reviews and “Morbius” comparisons didn’t stop me from giving “Madame Web” a fair shake. I’ll give the film credit in the few areas it succeeds in. The premise of a woman who experiences the future before it happens is already a cool concept. Using that idea to protect those who are incapable of defending themselves is about as heroic as it gets. Although the character of Madame Web is not a hero in the Spider-Man comics, the filmmakers do a decent job of shaping her into a protagonist. I also enjoyed seeing a group of different people working together to overcome a bad situation. There was potential for a unique story that nicely ties into the Spider-Man lore.

Negatives:

“Madame Web” is partly a victim of being in a flawed franchise, but also suffers from some serious incompetence in its production. It’s sad to see characters that exist within the Spider-Man universe be given their own movies that are destined to fail from the get go. Characters like Morbius and Madame Web aren’t meant to be protagonists. They are meant to serve the Spider-Man character as foes. Venom is an exception due to the many comics of his own. So when these characters are stripped back and given a backstory that is uninteresting, it leaves the viewer confused. There are constant teases to Spider-Man that aren’t explicitly stated, but they are meant to be clever nods to the greater lore. I found it to be rather tedious and dull because they never explicitly state which Spider-Man movies these characters belong to. In a perfect world, they would never be introduced to any of the Spider-Man movies because these strange character directions are inexcusable.

Outside of the confusing Spider-Man connections, there are some blatantly obvious missteps in the film’s production. The premise is interesting enough, but nearly every aspect of the film diverges into unintentional silliness. From her Mom’s introduction, to the villain’s motivation, the cringey dialogue, and choppy editing…”Madame Web” struggles to stay together. Each time an action sequence would take place, the quick cuts and fuzzy camera made it hard to distinguish what was going on. The last time I heard so many spouts of unintentionally funny dialogue was probably in “Morbius”. The script was extremely poor and doesn’t service the actors well. Then there’s the acting…which is inconsistent across the board. I won’t single anyone out specifically because this was a collective effort. But I could see this hurting the careers of many involved which is a shame. Logic in the story also goes out the window. I especially thought the Amazonian Spider-people and their strange similarities to Spider-Man were pretty laughable. But seeing Cassie’s connection with them might beat out the silliness of their involvement.

But the most unpleasant aspect of the film was the villain’s execution. His motivation is the most surface level of any villain in any film I’ve ever seen. He wants to kill a group of girls who he’s never met due to dreams he had. There’s no explanation as to why they’d want to hurt him nor why he wouldn’t try to figure it out for himself. He is never given a reason as to why he’s having the dreams either. He then riddles off a number of wooden dialogue sequences that are cornier than a daytime TV sitcom. The execution of his character is just ridiculous and incomplete. Not to mention why he’s interested in the precious spiders and how they tie into his goal. We don’t even get an explanation to “what he’s built”, which he never fails to mention every twenty minutes. His dialogue also looks like it was recorded in a studio after the film was shot, so when the actor speaks the dialogue he’s saying doesn’t match the mouth movements. Woof, this villain is memorable for all the wrong reasons. 

Conclusion:

“Madame Web” is an unfortunate mess that is a product of so many strange decisions. Sony’s decision to continue this villainverse is wearing thin with fans and continues to prove that they aren’t characters meant to have their own movies. They are meant to serve as side characters to Spider-Man. But to produce a film that seems to have been reworked, hocked up, and milked to such a degree is insulting to people spending their money to come out and see a movie in theaters. If it’s not evident that I’d deter anyone from spending their time and money on this film…don’t. It’s sad to see a movie go so low. I feel bad for any repercussions those involved may have in their future film endeavors. After all, it’s hard to make a film these days and I sympathize for anyone who worked hard on this one. I encourage other superhero franchises to reevaluate how fans perceive them and the longevity that mistakes like this have on the legacy of those characters.