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[Review] Sony’s ‘Madame Web’ on record to become worst comic book film ever

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Madame Web | Getty Images

“Madame Web” is a prequel to Spider-Man’s origin story that takes place outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that follows Cassandra Webb played by Dakota Johnson. The movie also stars Sydney Sweeney as Julia Carpenter/Spider-Woman, Celeste O’Connor as Mattie Franklin/Spider-Woman, Isabela Merced as Anya Corazón/Araña/Spider-Girl and Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims.

In a switch from the typical genre, “Madame Web” tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel publishing’s most enigmatic heroines. Cassandra Webb (Madame Web) is a New York City paramedic who starts to show signs of clairvoyance. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she must protect three young women from a mysterious adversary who wants them dead. Webb realizes that she can use this power to see the future to change it.

Although this seems to be a very interesting premise for a film, “Madame Web” fails at execution and is probably the worst Marvel film I have ever seen. This movie has some of, if not, the worst writing, pacing and direction that has ever come from a Sony film.

Due to the movie’s run time of one hour and 57 minutes, it tries to balance the characters’ backstories, personal struggles, character dynamics and overarching narrative, yet fails at all of the above. This is blabbering to me because Sony’s “Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse” and both “Venom” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” had around the same run time, if not shorter, but still met all of these criteria.

Many, and I mean MANY, scenes felt way too short for their impact on the story while other scenes lasted too long and did not contribute to the plot. For instance, the scene where Madame Web figures out that she must go to Africa to learn the origins of her powers and discover herself goes by in about 10 minutes. Its short duration made it feel like the scene had no effect on the story, when arguably that aspect should have been important to Madame Web’s character arc.

Even though the movie is presented as a prequel to Spider-Man’s origin story, it doesn’t connect as a precursor to any live action Spider-Man films that have been released in the past 20 years.

This feels like it is supposed to take place in Sam Rami’s Spider-Man trilogy, due to the time it is set in (2003). Yet, it can’t be set in that franchise due to the fact that Peter Parker  was born in this movie. The first Spider-Man movie was released and took place in 2002 and within that film, Peter Parker was 15. So, Madame Web can’t be a prequel to that series due to the fact that this Peter Parker became Spider-Man by the time this version of him was born.

Now usually one of the most important things of a film is its visuals and its actors. The visuals of “Madame Web” are fantastic; aesthetically, the movie looks amazing. It genuinely is a very nice looking film with good CGI, great cinematography and great set design. Even though the movie has a great cast, the direction that was given to the actors is the worst I have seen from any Marvel/Sony movie.

The actors give an emotionless and bland delivery of their lines, making it seem as though they aren’t human. It feels as if the actors were told to just read the lines and not put any passion into their performance. This is nothing against the actors themselves; they are all amazing actors who have given some phenomenal performances in other films, but their talent has gone to waste due to the awful direction they were given.

“Madame Web” is a movie that presents itself as a big budget film with a great cast and an interesting plot, yet it falls short in execution and immersion. It feels like a fan film with a high budget that didn’t have a clear direction or competent writers. But it is actually unfair to compare this to a fan film because most have more respect towards the source material.

“Madame Web” could have been a phenomenal film with a great story, but due to Sony’s terrible direction, it failed to live up to the hype. The movie fails at immersion and does not feel like it was made out of love for the Madame Web character but to profit off a character related to the beloved Spider-Man instead. Overall, “Madame Web” is a movie that set itself up for failure by creating unattainable standards and prioritizing money over making a good movie.

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About the Contributor
Xander Stowers, Reporter
Xander Stowers is a freshman who enjoys drawing, comic books, video games and learning new things. In his lifetime, he has met big figures in the comic book industry like Stan Lee and Bob Rozakis, along with being an aspiring comic book artist himself. He hopes that someday he will be able to work as an artist or graphic designer for big companies like Marvel or DC Comics.  

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