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Review: ‘Madame Web’ represents the worst of the genre

Courtesy Sony Pictures

By Hamza Saeed     3/5/24 10:19pm

Review: ½

“Madame Web” is terrible. This movie has no redeeming factors. It isn’t even worthy of a fantastical, provocative introduction. It just sucks. 

Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson) is a paramedic and an orphan. Her mom was shot in the Amazon by Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim) while they were looking into magical Peruvian spiders that turn some of the locals into spider superhumans. She has begun to see visions of the future. While on the New York City subway, she sees a vision of some teenagers (future spider-women) getting killed by Sims. Sims wants to kill these teens because he is seeing visions of the teens killing him. He has no other motivations as a villain. Cassandra kidnaps these children and then goes on random hijinks in the city trying to keep the kids away from Sims, who is only referred to as “ceiling guy” (he can climb on ceilings). The rest of the movie is her playing keeping the kids (who bond as a family, sort of?) away from Ceiling Guy.

None of the plot events in this movie make sense, are interesting or connect to each other whatsoever. Madame Web performs CPR on a conscious person for some reason. Ceiling Guy only ever gets hurt by getting hit by Madame Web in a taxi, Madame Web in an ambulance and the Pepsi Cola sign. Somehow, the peptides in the spiders allow Madame Web to split herself into three ghost-like projections at the climax of the movie. There’s this tribe of magic spider people in Peru who use a spider bite to induce labor in Madame Web’s mom. Madame Web is a wanted felon, we think, but it never gets brought up at the ending of the movie. Madame Web also probably killed several people.

Johnson “stars” as Madame Web. Madame Web, for the blissfully unaware, is a supporting character in the Spider-Man mythos, often being depicted as an elderly clairvoyant mutant that uses her telepathic and psychic abilities to … tell Spider-Man and friends to do stuff. Through sensual ASMR ads to trashing the movie in a variety of interviews, she clearly did not care about promoting this film. To be fair, she also did not care about actually acting in it, or at least it seemed so. What a flat, depressing and downright horrifying performance. I am not sure if anyone has ever cared about anything less than Johnson cares about “Madame Web.”

Actually, everyone’s acting is terrible. Almost all of the characters are just the same person, except for Sydney Sweeney. Sweeney is in the movie, technically, as Julia Carpenter, a nerd version of Spider-Woman. Except none of the future spider-women actually get their powers in this movie, they’re just dead weight. The acting gets worse the deeper you get, not unlike a car crash. Atrocious, but sometimes you just can’t look away. 

This movie is straight garbage. This cannot be emphasized enough. Art used to be subjective, then “Madame Web” came out and set a new bar: on the ground. The only reason we are giving it half a star is because it is not technically the worst thing to ever exist (“Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey,” documented war crimes, etc.). The best part of this movie was the fact that it ended. 

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