Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Madame Web


1973. A pregnant scientist doing research on radioactive spiders in the Peruvian Amazon is betrayed by her guide and fatally shot. A group of tribesmen with spider-like abilities takes her in and saves her unborn child through a spider bite. 30 years later, Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson) believes her life has turned out just fine doing the rounds in the foster care system. A near death experience as a paramedic triggers something within her, resulting in heightened senses and precognitive visions, one of which is the murder of three girls by a man in a black spider suit. Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim) has not aged in the last three decades but is hounded by recurring nightmares of three young Spider-Women teaming up to murder him. Soon, all of their paths finally cross. Cassandra takes it upon herself to be the protector of Julia (Sydney Sweeney), Mattie (Celeste O’Connor), and Anya (Isabel Merced), who will all grow up to be a different variant of Spider-Woman.

What a terrible mess, but then again this is Sony so perhaps this isn’t that much of a surprise anymore. Madame Web is a flick that is more slasher than superhero. In fact, there are only two scenes where you see the Spider-Women trio in costume and in action: one instance is already shown in the trailer; the other is a really short montage that serves as an epilogue. What the hell do they do in the film’s two-hour runtime, then? They play hide-and-seek with evil middle aged Spider-Man while Johnson's Madame Web keeps herself busy trying to ram him with vehicles ranging from yellow cabs to ambulances. That’s about it.

Needless to say, I was bored AF. Slasher flicks are supposed to be fun, but part of the thrill is the unpredictability of survival. Madame Web does not have that luxury because we are well aware that all four of them are going to survive anyway. And so, where is the thrill in that? The chase scenes should be enthralling somehow but immediately become repetitive, what with Cassandra constantly cheating because of her visions. What you end up with is a hodgepodge of deja-vu snippets that serve as minute-long plot retcon devices.

In effect, we can say that this is an origin story for Madame Web, except that her storyline is rather boring. Have they considered turning this into a three-in-one origin story for the three Spider-Women instead? Instead of falling into the trope of de-aging yet another grandma character, they could’ve kept Madame Web old and used her already with her full powers to guide the other three in their combined cinematic origin stories instead of boring us to death.

One thing to admire despite it being rather moot is the commitment to the 2003 setting, which in itself is a bit confusing. Was it their original plan to connect this to one of the existing Spider-Man franchises? With Adam Scott as Uncle Ben and Emma Roberts as Mary Parker appearing as supporting characters and Peter Parker himself being born right before the ending, it seems as though they had a timeline they wanted to follow. Whatever that is, this Peter can’t be Tobey Maguire’s because he was already a teenager in the 2003 film. Tom Holland’s, perhaps?

In any case, there is no point arguing over that because Madame Web does not really connect to any other MCU or Spiderverse property. There are no mid or post credit scenes to do so and there are no cameo appearances to fuel speculations. In short, Madame Web appears to be a standalone film, which makes the dedication to the 2003 setting even weirder. Or perhaps they are already angling for yet another Peter Parker reboot within THIS very universe? Oh well, I wouldn’t hold my breath for that given the early negative reviews already coming out. With such a boring movie, it wouldn’t come as a surprise should this flop hard at the box office.

0 creature(s) gave a damn:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Protected by Copyscape DMCA Copyright Detector

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review