Run, Don’t Walk Away from ‘Madame Web’

Awful dialogue, dopey plot twists lead to genre's worst outing in decades

We owe “The Marvels,” “Eternals” and “Morbius” an apology.

Who knew superhero fare could sink as low as “Madame Web?”

This obscure, Spider-related heroine yields a terrible origin film, the kind with so many flaws it’s hard to point in just one direction.

The film’s future isn’t bright, but it could be reborn as a camp classic. That’s not what Hollywood’s once-mighty genre needs at this moment.

MADAME WEB – Official Trailer (HD)

A clunky flashback in the Amazon jungle sets the Webb family story in motion.

Our heroine’s pregnant mother (Kerry Bishe) is murdered after discovering a rare spider with the potential to cure any number of illnesses.

Her baby miraculously lives, and we see her adult self when the story moves ahead to 2003. That’s Cassandra “Cassie” Webb (Dakota Johnson, miscast) who works as an EMT alongside her platonic partner Ben Parker (Adam Scott of “Parks & Recreation” fame).

Does that name sound a tad … familiar?

‘Madame Web’ Can See the Future … But Not Film’s Flaws

Cassie suffers a near-death experience while saving a man trapped on a bridge, and she suddenly has the power to see the near future. If things go south in her vision, then she can choose a different course of action to avoid that fate.

What. A. Superpower.

That gift still comes in handy when she runs into Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), a man obsessed with killing three young women who pose a threat to his evil plans.


They’ll be super-powered one day in a very Peter Parker fashion.

Cassie meets the women in question (Sydney Sweeney, Isabel Merced and Celeste O’Connor) and she may be their only hope for survival.


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“Madame Web” starts poorly and never finds its footing. The opening scenes induce unintentional laughter, and it won’t be the only guffaws echoing in the theater.

Johnson remains an endearing on-screen presence, but she lacks the charisma a genre film demands. That’s still superior to her nemesis. Rahim delivers one of the worst performances in a superhero film … ever.

It’s that relentlessly bad.

Blame director S.J. Clarkson, who never gets a proper handle on the material and clearly could have coaxed better line readings from Rahim and co. In her defense, she’s forced to work with a script she penned alongside three collaborators.

This script might have passed muster for an “Afterschool Special” of yore, but for a film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe it’s soul crushing.

What Year Is This, Anyway?

The story may be set in 2003, but the villainous Ezekiel taps into technology that’s very much of this moment. Then again, plot chasms litter the film and prove a constant distraction.

This critic’s personal favorite? Several characters are reportedly kidnapped mid-movie, and hours later a subway rider is shown reading a newspaper announcing their abduction.

Printing presses didn’t work that fast in 2003 … or today.

The film falls flat during rare attempts at character development. Cassie is shown as distant, even rude, to the patients she helps save in her line of work.

Later, she’s willing to sacrifice everything to help three women she just met without any sense of personal growth. Huh?

The action scenes do little to pick up the slack, and the foreshadowing employed during one scene is so obvious your eyes will roll like a slot machine during the inevitable callback.

Alternately silly and clunky, “Madame Web” brims with cringe-worthy scenes. If you can watch the endangered trio dancing on a table for the bemusement of some horny young men you’ve got a steel spine.

And you’ll howl when Cassie keeps taking out Ezekiel using only a motor vehicle.

Even worse?

Cassie takes a quick solo trip to the Amazon and, well, it’s hard to even describe how ludicrous this detour proves without spoiling what could be a killer cult film highlight in 2034.

Or sooner.

HiT or Miss: “Madame Web” is a poorly realized origin story weighed down by wan effects, worse dialogue and silliness from start to finish.


  1. You know what was an awesome application of this super power (or at least something similar)? The anime Erased that is/was on Netflix.

  2. !. You’re a complete idiot is you don’t think the ability to REMAKE THE FUTURE is a good SUPER POWER not withstanding it’s possibly poor application in this film

    2 FAILED WRITERS who use reviews to display how “snarkily” they can write make the worst reviewers .

  3. One Dumpster fire after another that Disney investors are ignoring. It is so bad, most movies are being reworked for release in 2025. What’s really upsetting for Disney-Marvel is that movies cost millions to produce, but lose Billions in Boxoffice hits. Do they just have so much money to burn?

  4. This is what happens when you allow directors to write a script instead of writers and I am not talking about the screen writers guild of Hollywood hacks. Just to pick a name most people should know, take for example Michael Chrichton. The man was an author who sold millions of books in many languages around the world and still does years after he’s been dead. In addition to writing solid novels, he created the St Elsewhere TV Series which was an amazing show. He wrote the original Westworld as a screenplay, not a book but had nothing to do with the new TV Series that had so much flash and absolutely no soul. He wrote the novel and screenplay for Jurassic Park. The mark of an actual writer that directors and the screen writers guild do not have, in Chricton’s own words, “I wrote a screenplay about cloning a pterodactyl from fossil DNA in 1983, but the story wasn’t convincing. I worked on it for several years since, trying to make it more credible.” Hollywood has no patience for that kind of dedication. You want a super hero movie? Get a super hero comics author to write it. You want a solid super hero feel to the movie? Let a super hero comics storyboarder to do the movie storyboard. Then you get an actual movie director to direct it, not one of these policitical woketivists who want to make a statement with their ‘art’ … some one like, say… Frank Capra, John Sturges, or maybe John Huston.

  5. Marvel has sacrificed its billion-dollar brand and can’t-miss name on the altar of the Diversity Cult.
    On behalf of straight white men everywhere – Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  6. For anyone keeping score, Hollywood is now 0 for 3 on these all-female team-up comic book movies: Birds of Prey, The Marvels, and now Madame Web. All of them made by a female director no one’s heard of, because in the new woke Hollywood, gender segregation is more important than hiring people who know what they’re doing.

    You think Disney will learn anything from this while planning their next MCU phase? I’m not holding my breath.

  7. Sony’s “Madame Web” does not fill the quota for a superhero film with heart and soul. Not only is the latest addition to the Marvel canon lacking a true emotional core.

  8. Did no one even question the appearance of, the sudden acquisition of, their 0h-so stylish ‘super costumes’? Did the ‘heroes’ buy them at the same place? (Very chic! Nordstrom?… Ah, Target!)
    Or, are they all seamstresses in their day jobs? Did anyone wonder why they wear quasi-masks that conceal almost nothing and protect absolutely nothing? Hmm, do those getups even have pockets? Because they aren’t using any utility belts. I hope they never need to call an Uber…

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