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Madame Web

"When you take on the responsibility, great power will come."

Okay, this wasn't nearly as bad as I expected it to be.

Minor Spoilers Below!

I had skimmed the reviews before going out to see it, and they were almost universally horrific. Maybe that just lowered my expectations enough to enjoy it, but this definitely isn't the worst superhero movie out there. Or even the worst movie I've seen this week. (Tom Ellis led me slightly astray, it's not important.)

Let's start with the good. Dakota Johnson worked as Cassie Webb. There were admittedly some scenes that she checked out of, but 80% of the time she was very believable as a young woman just trying to control a situation rapidly spiraling out of control. I also really enjoyed her chemistry with Ben, played by Adam Scott. Yes, that Ben. I can only assume that this is the only reason why the movie is set in 2003 as opposed to any other time.

I also liked the interplay between her and the three future Spider-Women. All three of them were thinly drawn, but at least they were distinctive. And through them, I can see the ghosts of a different, stronger movie. One that leaned into the thriller aspect more and played with the almost Final Destination aspect of Cassie's visions.

The moments where Cassie must protect the girls while navigating the confusing and disorienting aspects of her visions were my favorite by far. While the diner had been pretty throughly spoiled by the trailers, the train ended up as my favorite. I wanted more of that, and less of whatever Sims was doing in the Amazon.

Unfortunately, Ezekiel Sims is the undisputed worst part of the movie. This is my first time seeing Tahar Rahim, so for all I know, he could be a wonderful actor. I don't know if he was miscast, or if he just happened to get all the worst dialogue, or if the ADR was way too rough, but it felt like he wasn't anywhere near the same movie as everyone else. Any time he showed up, the atmosphere sagged.

Why was he in a Generic Halloween Store Brand version of the Symbiote Spider Suit? How did he become so obscenely rich? What did he do to make three superheroes murder him in seemingly cold blood, if we assume his repeated vision was true? Does any of it actually matter?

I asked that question a lot, to be fair. There's the inevitable sequel tease, but I can't see it getting green lit. Apparently, this was supposed to directly tie into the Tom Holland movies, but they scrubbed all explicit references in post-production. Even with franchise fatigue, it'd weird to have Madame Web feel so adrift from any continuity. I don't know if having a CGI de-aged Marisa Tomei show up as Ben's new girlfriend would have improved things (or if that was ever in the plans), but it's a question.

Ultimately, I bought a very cheap matinee ticket, and passed a relatively entertaining two hours while my apartment heat got fixed. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Random Thoughts

No post-credit scenes.

I regret to inform you that the much memed and mocked line from the trailers about studying spiders in the Amazon is not in the final cut.

I hate that Cassie's last name is Webb, but the movie title is Madame Web. Consistency has no place here.

As random as the 2003 setting is, at least we're grounded in it. I enjoyed just looking at the background of New York and finding old ads.

Side note: I hate that 2003 was over 20 years ago at this point.

An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.


  1. "Tom Ellis led me slightly astray, it's not important.)"

    That exact same thing happened to me. I was thinking of reviewing thr movie I believe we are both talking about, but I didn't have enough energy for the spite.

    1. Was it a certain romantic comedy on Netflix? Because I was also debating reviewing it in a slightly spiteful way haha

    2. Yes, exactly. I hated it so much--like deep, philosophical hatred--that I couldn't finish it. I started thinking of it as the polar opposite of Lift (which I just reviewed): that movie has mawkish charm despite being an action heist. The alleged rcharm less. utterly charmless.

      If you can handle it, a review would be amazing.

      Poor Tom Ellis. He did look do handsome.

    3. That is an amazing turnaround time.

  2. I should also add that your review of Madame Web made it sound interesting! It's definitely in the "wait for streaming" category for me, but this review made it sound much more interesting than others I'd read.

    I do love Dakota Johnson's bangs. They are my dream bangs.

  3. I'm confused about this movie. It was supposed to be MCU and now it isn't, am I right? And here's my librarian-focus question. Does it go in the Marvel Index or not? :)

    1. No, this is not and never was part of the MCU. This is all Sony, so under the same banner as the Venom movies and Morbius and things like that. It's very confusing though, since Sony and the MCU got joint custody over Spider Man stuff, and Sony can't decide what they're doing with him beyond the fact that they want to keep him.

      Hopefully that makes sense. As for where it belongs... yes? I think it goes in the Marvel Index under "Other Marvel Movies"

    2. Thanks, Fangirl. That helps a lot.

      I don't think this is a movie I'm going to see. It sounds like it could have been pretty good, but somehow turned into an indecisive mess.


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