Madame Web Review - How BAD is it?

Published: 18th February 2024, by Andrew Radbourne.

My spoiler-free musings for Madame Web, the latest Marvel live-action release from Sony.

Greetings, everyone,

Despite some apprehensions, I recently took the time to watch Madame Webb, and while it wasn't necessarily a movie for the ages, it certainly doesn't rank amongst the worst I've seen of late.

[image1]Unlike some of my more renowned colleagues, I wasn't all up in arms about the trailer. I found it rather intriguing and presented a fresh idea to ponder. However, in today's cinematic landscape catering to a "modern audience", there always seems to be a hint of caution towards films with female leads. This movie indeed touches on the trope of the 'superior woman', touching briefly on the 'inept man' stereotype but luckily refrains from diving too deep into the realm of identity politics. For the most part, it’s more about spinning a tale.

The central story revolves around the character of Cassandra Webb who, after a near-death experience, comes into the possession of precognitive abilities. Armed with this newfound skill, she has to protect three future 'Spiderwomen' from the clutches of the antagonist.

Dakota Johnson anchors the film with a largely likeable performance, though occasionally straying into clichéd territory. As the story starts, it often feels more akin to a romantic drama than a superhero movie. Of the three young women, Sydney Sweeny as Julia entices the most, likely because her character remains the sole one without a snarky attitude.

Sadly, the editing is unpredictable and choppy, and the fractious nature of Cassie's visions only exacerbate the matter. As a result, the movie often feels unsophisticated and amaterirish. The action wobbles from decent to dire with moments of palpable suspense, tension or emotional content being noticeable by their absence. Despite these drawbacks, the initial half of the film is reasonably acceptable if uninspired and unexciting.

Around the seventy-seventh minute, the movie descends into frustrating senselessness, featuring a turn of events so ridiculously impractical it significantly undermines the rest of the movie. The climax feels jumbled, laughably orchestrated and immensely artificial.

Additionally, the villain comes across as simply lacklustre and devoid of a convincing menace. This is made worse by the fact that his character is often held back by illogical plot devices designed solely to move the story forward.

Though the film attempts to tether itself to the world of Spider-Man, these bridges, in all honesty, annoyed me, even going as far as to destabilize a crucial piece of the superhero's history.

Given these drawbacks, I foresee a lukewarm reception at the box office, which would not be unjust. It feels more fitting as a straight-to-video production or a streaming service exclusive.

[image2]Finally, like so many other films I've seen, Madam Web leaves much to the imagination about what might have been. It had a promising concept at the core that, if only the story had been built around saving a young Peter Parker instead of three derivative 'Spider-women', may have spiced things up a little.

In conclusion, if you’re considering watching it, I’d recommend waiting until it becomes freely available on a streaming platform - splurging on this one isn't fully worth it. With all that said, I’m interested in hearing your opinions if you’ve watched it. Do you think my revisions would have improved it or do you think the inclusion of Peter Parker would just further undermine his character? Thanks for tuning in. If you’ve enjoyed the content, don't forget to like and subscribe.

Until next time, Peace out!
I'm giving this a score of 2
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