Madame Web review: Missed potential and a web of dullsville makes this film an average Spider-Man spin-off

Aishwarya Srinivasan
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Madame Web

Madame Web review: Maybe not every character from the Marvel comics has the power to entertain the audience in a 2 hour feature film. 

Madame Web review: In the second phase of the MCU, you must’ve often heard someone saying ‘Marvel has lost its charm’. While the only connection Sony has with Marvel is its own Spider- Man universe it's trying to create. This film adds to the saying even more and makes you feel like literally every Marvel comic character is getting its own spin-off now. It feels like a desperate attempt to get the Avengers Endgame feeling back where the makers seem to be just throwing characters on the wall and seeing what sticks. 

Madame Web revolves around Cassie (Dakota Johnson) who is a young paramedic. She works alongside Ben Parker (Adam Scott) and the two save lives in life threatening situations. But little does she know that she has powers that can foresee the future and prevent these accidents even before happening. She suddenly gets these visions and through that she saves Julian (Sydney Sweeney), Anya (Isabela Merced) and Mattie (Celeste O’Conor), three teenage girls who are being hunted down by Eziekel (Tahar Rahim). Ezekiel also gets recurring visions of the future and how he would eventually be murdered by those teenage girls. So to change his future, he wants to end their lives before they can put an end to his. But as Cassie starts making sense of why she is getting these visions and how Eziekel is deeply connected to her past, she realizes there’s so much more to her life than she has ever known. As she develops and learns how to use her powers better, the more it puts Eziekel at a disadvantage. 

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First things first, I’m all for a women-centric super-heroine film and it did look super promising to me in the trailer which is why the disappointment has hit me hard. A cast that includes such good actors, they were barely given anything to work with. And when it comes to the lead, it felt like Dakota Johnson was just delivering the dialogues as her real-life persona. There was actually a moment in the film where I stopped and asked myself, what’s really the difference between her as Madame Web and her as Anastasia Steel from 50 Shades of Gray. The facial expressions for each role are uncanny. 

In the comics, Madame Web is supposed to be a blind woman with psychic powers who helps Spider-Man and Ben Parker is supposed to be his uncle. But the film does not acknowledge the existence of Spider-Man at all. Peter Parker isn’t even born until the very end of the film.  It tries too hard to have its own stand alone story which really isn’t that interesting. There’s a reason why content is divided between the big screen and OTT platforms. Madame Web could’ve been a limited series at best. 

As an audience, one deserves those edge-of-the-seat thrilling moments in a super-hero film. Madame Web is not larger than life in that way at all. Right from the performance to the writing, everything feels lethargic. Cassie takes too long to figure out what she’s supposed to do and when she actually does something big, the climax feels rushed and then her and the three teenagers are shown in their super hero avatars. It felt like I’m watching a parody TV series on YouTube instead of a spin-off. Between her visions and what’s real, it gets rather confusing after a point and this is why, unfortunately Madame Web really does not live up to its hype. 

The film is currently playing at a theatre near you!

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