• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

MADAME WEB… It’s One Web Sony and Columbia shouldn’t have spun!

ByTaylor T Carlson

Feb 13, 2024
MADAME WEB is directed by S.J. Clarkson. The film stars Dakota Johnson in the title role, alongside Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, Isabela Merced, Tahar Rahim, Mike Epps, Emma Roberts, and Adam Scott.

Cassie Webb is a socially awkward paramedic working in New York City. Her mother died in childbirth while researching mysterious spiders and people in the Peruvian jungle. When her mother’s former security man resurfaces in NYC decades later, it’s up to Webb to realize the powers she has within, protecting three girls from his wrath, who he believes will one day become his super-powered foes.

Sony/Columbia continues to try to pursue a spin-off SPIDER-MAN universe, owning the film rights to the characters while still allowing Marvel to use select characters for their Marvel Cinematic Universe outings. Unfortunately, their attempts which have included VENOM and MORBIUS haven’t exactly been winners, taking a beating from the critics. Will MADAME WEB be the turning point for this sub-series, or is it another clunker?

Sadly, MADAME WEB doesn’t give the Sony/Columbia SPIDER-MAN universe any promising hopes. It may even be the worst film of this experiment to date, with a bland villain, emphasis that moves around all over the place, plot conveniences, and absolutely nothing that entertains. It squanders its promise and potential, and never delivers.

What exactly is MADAME WEB supposed to be? My familiarity with the character is admittedly minimal, outside of her appearing on the 1990s SPIDER-MAN cartoon as some some of ethereal/trans-dimensional old woman who was voiced by Stan Lee’s wife. That honestly sounds like a pretty good idea for a film. But what we get instead is a socially awkward paramedic who feels like a pretty far cry from what I saw in that cartoon back in the day. Supposedly the studios wanted a more grounded version of the character, but doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose?

The whole experience feels like an exercise in bad filmmaking. The lead villain, who has a connection to the titular heroine’s mother, feels like a rehash of villains we’ve seen in a million other movies. No one has any chemistry. It feels mechanical, not organic, going through the motions from Point A to Point B clumsily, with no real surprises or a single scene that invokes a sense of wonder. Did I mention part of the plot involves a race of enhanced “Spider People” who live deep in the Peruvian jungle… and they speak perfect American English, without the slightest hint of an accent?

The movie can’t decide if it wants to make Madame Web herself the primary emphasis or the three girls she’s entrusted to protect. The movie shows hints and premonitions that they’ll eventually become super-powered “Spider-Women,” but once again the film squanders this potential and gives us nothing outside of a few brief visions, perhaps saving them for a sequel I doubt anyone will want to see. At one point before Sony/Columbia abandoned their THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN series there were plans for a female-centric spin-off. Is MADAME WEB anything like what that would’ve been? If so, it’s good it didn’t get made.

Sony/Columbia continues to push their own SPIDER-MAN universe… but it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Their animated SPIDER-VERSE films are great… so perhaps they should stick to those? This experiment has yet to spawn a single truly memorable or critically-acclaimed film, and the two hours you’ll spend sitting through MADAME WEB are near the bottom of the heap. There are better SPIDER-MAN movies… go watch those instead.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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