Madame Web Review: Who Let This Happen?

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Thomas Richards
| February 24, 2024
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Comic book movies have been getting a bit of a bad rap lately. With the DCEU ending and people turning on the MCU, the dominance of the comic book movie might be over. But maybe, just maybe, Sony can swing in and help get people invested in these films again. Yeah, nah, that was never going to happen, especially with their latest outing, Madame Web. This new addition to Sony’s Spider-Man adjacent universe does very little to help stop the waning interest in superhero flicks. Directed by S. J. Clarkson and starring Dakota Johnson, Madame Web is in the running for one of the worst comic book movies I’ve ever seen (yes, including Morbius). The few bright spots and glimpses of chemistry between the cast do little to distract you from the type of film you’re watching.

It at Least Does Something Right

They’re as shocked as I am at the quality of this film. (Sony)

Let’s start with the things I enjoyed about this film (there wasn’t much if that wasn’t already obvious). The chemistry between Dakota Johnson’s Cassandra Webb and the rest of the cast is, at times, good. There were a handful of moments that got a genuine laugh out of me, most of which seemed like the cast most likely ad-libbed them. You can tell that this weirdly stacked cast (which includes Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, Celeste O’Connor, Adam Scott, and Emma Roberts) tried their best to make this film have some bright spots. Aside from the handful of fun character interactions, the three Spider-Women costumes looked really good and are some of the better super suits I’ve seen recently. It’s just a shame you barely see them. It also sucks because they cast this film perfectly with almost every actor nailing the look and vibe of the characters, and they’re stuck in this dumpster fire of a film.

A Throwback to the 2000’s, But Not in a Fun Way

At least his suit looked kinda cool. (Sony)

That’s enough of being positive. It’s time to get into why this film is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. For starters, the plot is so disjointed that I don’t think I could even call it coherent. It’s just a sequence of events that we are told happen after each other. One moment, Cassandra is leaving a motel on the outskirts of New York, and the next, she’s in Peru. That’s not even mentioning that, at this point of the film, she’s the suspect in a kidnapping, so how she got through airport security is beyond me.

The dialogue also doesn’t help the plot; in fact, it hinders it even more. Outside of the rare one-liner or brief moment of chemistry, the dialogue is like you’re being told what happens and being shown next to nothing. But if they did show you, it would be ugly as sin because the camera work sucks ass. It looked very much like early 2000s superhero films with how it was shot and edited (think Raimi’s Spider-Man), which would feel outdated regardless, even more so when it’s done poorly. There are also random close-ups of characters’ faces that just looked tacky. Also, why was there a guy playing a PSP? Madame Web is set in 2003, and the PSP came out in 2004, so this shouldn’t be possible. How does Sony, of all studios, mess this up?

Hands down, the worst part of this film, though, is the villain, Ezekiel (Tahar Rahim). This nothing character was responsible for killing Cassandra’s mother in the Peruvian jungle while she was pregnant (why go to the jungle in the middle of nowhere while you are pregnant is beyond me). This sequence at the beginning of the film is all the backstory we get on this guy besides the vision of the future where he dies that he doesn’t shut up about (his motivation to track Sydney Sweeney and co down). Every scene he’s in is so bland and filled with generic villain dialogue that I rolled my eyes more than once. Also, 90% of his dialogue looked like it was dubbed over after the fact because the words he was saying didn’t match up with his lips. I’ll give him one thing: the train fight scene he has is cool with its almost horror villain vibe, but it doesn’t make up for the rest of his trash character.

How Did This Happen

Protecting the children from this film. (Sony)

I may have just spent a decent amount of time shitting on this film, but who even let something like this come to fruition? I don’t believe the cast and crew intended to make something bad. Instead, I think this was another case of studio executives meddling too much in the creative process. You can tell just by watching the film that it was created by a committee that doesn’t understand what they’re doing. Everything from the cliché villain to the “heroic” final fight feels like it’s gone through 50 different revisions from 20 different people. Sony has done this before with another one of their films, Morbius. I don’t know which one was worse (Morbius did have Matt Smith, and it did make one morbillion dollars), but they both suck. This needs to be a wake-up call to these studios that they can’t keep making these crappy superhero films and expect them to be profitable. They’re not and are damaging the genre’s reputation in the process.

She’s just as confused as I am. (Sony)

Madame Web is the worst film I’ve seen this year. The few bright spots do little to counteract all of the dumb decisions made in this film. Sony needs to pump the brakes on their superhero films (except for Spider-Verse) and let the directors and actors they hire do their thing. Time will tell if the Kraven film will be any good when it releases later this year. One thing is for sure: it can’t be worse than this (dear God, I hope not). Keep it locked to Couch Soup for more content on good superhero stuff to feed your hungry nerd soul.

Did you see Madame Web? What did you think? Do you also think it’s an affront to both man and God? Let us know in the comments where we can discuss the worst films of the year.

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