Madame Web – The DVDfever Cinema Review – Dakota Johnson

Madame Web Madame Web limps off in the Peruvian jungle, 1973, where pregnant mum-to-be Constance Webb (Kerry Bishé) is taking pictures of a spider web inhabited by a super-spider with rare healing properties, alongside her other half, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), but suddenly, a shot rings out, she’s in a bad state, and he hot-foots it with the spider, because he’s the main baddie of the piece.

Fast-forward 30 years to 2003, where now-born and grown-up Cassie Webb (Dakota Johnson) is a paramedic, while Sims looks no older now than he did all those years ago. Meanwhile, the most confusing thing is that when it comes to American film characters eating Chinese food, do ALL Americans really know how to eat with chopsticks?!

Anyhoo, a situation develops leading to Cassie getting stuck underwater with lots of weird spidery stuff happening, and she’s now like Peter Parker, with the additional ability to see elements of the future, but not quite everything, like who’ll win the 2.30pm at Epsom on Saturday.

Later, there’s a ridiculous subway fight between Sims (in a black Spider-Man-like costume), Cassie and – because reasons – three teenage girls – some fulfilling diversity checklists, all played by actresses in their 20s, with Sydney Sweeney as nerdy, white redhead in ‘slutty schoolgirl’ attire Julia Cornwall, Isabela Merced as Latina Anya Corazon, and Celeste O’Connor as black Mattie Franklin. Sims is upset because, sometime later in life, they’ll cause him a major problem and thus, he needs to stop them. However, given this is a bog-standard superhero flick, we know that good always triumphs over evil, and that the only thing to put a hold on their exploits is a poor script, general malaise in superhero movies by this point, and no positive word-of-mouth. As such, the current box office receipts of just over $50m, after one week out, isn’t even putting a dent in the $80m budget, plus up to twice that again for marketing.

Madame Web‘s problems include that it spends far too long on origin stuff, obviously trying to set up for future sequels which will never happen, a complete lack of anything new to the genre, and stupid reality-bending nonsense like Cassie easily stealing a taxi and and ambulance, in order to complete acts of derring-do – including a ‘Dukes of Hazzard‘ in the latter, all of which won’t have any repurcisions in her comic book world.

It also has a messy finale, as well as some clichéd dialogue, including something at the end, which I’ll put behind a spoiler header, even though it doesn’t reveal any plot points.

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

As such, this film is not a complete waste of time, but not a good use of yours.

Also, how come Cassie has such an expensive apartment, yet seemingly can’t afford curtains?

As an aside, Dakota Johnson said in an interview with The Wrap, how the screenplay underwent extensive rewrites, stating, “There were drastic changes, and I can’t even tell you what they were” – So, we can tell the genesis of this film was a mess. Plus, apparently, the original screenplay was much darker and “very ‘Terminator‘ inspired”, and would’ve seen Cassie and the three girls (as Spider-Women) trying to protect a pregnant Mary Parker from Ezekiel Sims, who wants to kill her to prevent the birth of Peter Parker. In a way, that might’ve been a better script… or, A script – since this one is so threadbare, but then… everyone would be complaining how it’s a rip-off of The Terminator.

Oh, and for the record, there’s absolutely zero mid- or post-credits scenes. Clearly, Sony knew they were putting out a dud, and so if they did film anything for these, they didn’t bother to include them in the final print. However, before the credits begin, you are shown what such a sequel could potentially be, so I guess those were brought forward so that no-one missed them.

And on the subject of knowing this will flop, it’s also as if Sony didn’t even try, since the school half-term holidays started around the first and second weekends in February, so Migration ensured it would be present in the cinema, while this movie was held back until the end of those holidays, thus missing a lot of potential revenue.

Madame Web is in cinemas now, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. However, once announced, it will appear on the New DVD Blu-ray 3D and 4K releases UK list.

Madame Web – Official Trailer – Sony Pictures Entertainment

Detailed specs:

Running time: 116 minutes
Release date: February 14th 2024
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (4.5K)
Cinema: Odeon Trafford Centre
Rating: 3/10

Director: SJ Clarkson
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Screenplay: SJ Clarkson, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Claire Parker
Music: Johan Söderqvist

Cassandra Webb: Dakota Johnson
Julia Cornwall: Sydney Sweeney
Anya Corazon: Isabela Merced
Mattie Franklin: Celeste O’Connor
Ezekiel Sims: Tahar Rahim
O’Neil: Mike Epps
Mary Parker: Emma Roberts
Ben Parker: Adam Scott
Constance Webb: Kerry Bishé
Amaria: Zosia Mamet
Santiago: José María Yazpik
Susan: Kathy-Ann Hart