Madame Web Review
For more than a decade the Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU, has taken over the film industry. Comic book heroes and villains took over the big screen and a frenzy for those types of films seemed to be all that populated theaters. While Sony Pictures has projects tied to Marvel like Madame Web, some don’t consider them full Marvel projects because they often exist on a timeline that differs from established lore.

Regardless, Marvel fatigue has become a thing and not too many are rushing to the theaters to see the latest projects under the beloved moniker. Unfortunately, that may be the case with Madame Web after an astonishing number of early bad reviews, and yet it’s not as bad as people might think.

In Madame Web the audience is placed in 2003 where Dakota Johnson stars as New York City paramedic Cassandra Webb who begins to show signs of clairvoyance after an incident at work. Her visions of what’s to come lead her to Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney), Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced), and Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor) who will gain superpowers in the future, although not revealed how, and put a stop to the villain in the film, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), but he wants to kill the girls before that happens.

Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims in Madame Web. Photo by: Sony Pictures

All that information is pretty much laid out in the trailer of the S.J. Clarkson-directed film and that’s essentially all the plot we get. The story revolves around this lackluster cat and mouse game until the end. Madame Web is stated to be a standalone origin film, and many origin films are a build up to potential action so this film had little to none which was disappointing.

(L-R): Celeste O’Connor as Mattie Franklin, Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, Isabela Merced as Anya Corazon, and Sydney Sweeney as Julia Cornwall in Madame Web. Photo by: Sony Pictures

The best bits came from the glimpses of the future of the spider girls in costume, which looked amazing, and the film would have been so much more entertaining seeing them that way. Most of the time the girls, along with Dakota’s character Cassandra, are trying to outrun the villain, who makes another boring aspect of the film. He’s not menacing, and his powers aren’t impactful enough to cause real fear.

If you’re going into Madame Web thinking it’ll be tied to any aspect of previous Marvel films, you’d be wrong. You don’t need to have any knowledge of Marvel, especially the Spider-Verse, to get into this film although there are some Easter eggs. Adam Scott plays Cassandra’s friend and co-worker Ben Parker, and Emma Roberts plays Ben’s sister-in-law Mary Parker, and if you’re thinking they are those Parkers then you’d be correct.

Celeste O’Connor as Mattie Franklin in Madame Web. Photo by: Sony Pictures

There’s dialogue that foreshadows what happens with the Parker family and even a spin on the infamous Uncle Ben “with great responsibility” quote, but nothing that full out states Madame Web is in connection with Spider-Man. The film obviously tries hard not to even mention those words in the same sentence.

The disappointment of Madame Web comes from having such a talented cast and not giving them material to work with. The lines are laughably cheesy with questionable logic, but with adequate graphics. This film would have exceeded expectations if the plot leaned into more of the action and less about Cassandra’s mom’s spider research in the Amazon.

And don’t bother sticking around for any mid or post credit scenes which Marvel has become known for because there aren’t any. Whether you leave the theaters utterly despising this movie or being able to tolerate it, you won’t forget how it made you feel either way.

Madame Web arrives in theaters on February 14th.


Amber Dover is a multimedia journalist with over a decade writing about pop culture. Cat mom with a deep love of horror, you can follow Amber at @Glambergirlblog on Instagram and X.

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