Madame Web (2024)

In Sony’s quest to maintain the Spider-Man trademark, they continue milking whatever character from his universe that they can, no matter how irrelevant or nonsensical they may be. In the now established “Don’t Say Spider-Man” Spider-Man Movieverse, S.J. Clarkson directs what is essentially “Donnie Darko” but with a heavy theme about Spiders. The writers do everything they can to allude to Spider-Man and Peter Parker but, I’m assuming because of contractual stipulations, not once do we ever get to see Peter Parker or Spider-man, nor do we ever hear his name uttered. Uncle Ben does play a big role, though, because he is not canon in the MCU.

It’s all so tricky.

“Madame Web” tells the standalone origin story of Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who develops the power to see the future… and realizes she can use that insight to change it. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women bound for powerful destinies… if they can all survive a deadly present.

Everything about “Madame Web” from small plot beats to major plot points is so convoluted and dull, and unnecessarily tough to keep up with. There are baffling twists and turns and nothing that ever really pays off (or will ever really pay off). We know as much as they do that there will not be a sequel. No one comes out of “Madame Web” looking pretty, as just about everyone is made to look a fool. Talented folks like Adam Scott, Sydney Sweeney, Celese O’Connor, and Isabel Merced are tasked with playing some of the dumbest, and dullest protagonists ever written. All the while the movie never really acts as an origin movie for these Spider-Women, so much as it acts as the origin for Madame Web.

There is absolutely no reason why this movie should exist, and central star Dakota Johnson plays her role as if she’s always on the verge of yawning. She sleepwalks through this performance delivering every line with the competence of a porn star. It doesn’t help though that the script is a farce of terrible one-liners, awful character dynamic, and endless exposition dumps in an effort to untangle this entire narrative and transform it into something remotely coherent.

So, Madame Web could predict certain events and their outcomes; how far could she foretell future events? Could she or couldn’t she change the course of events that transpire? And if she could foresee the transformation of three powerful spider-based superheroines, why couldn’t she foretell the birth of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man, or Mile Morales’ Spider-Man? Why couldn’t she tell Ben that his sister-in-law and brother would die? Did she ever find it weird Peter Parker designed his costume after Ezekiel’s? “Madame Web” might be one of the worst films of 2024 bar none, it’s one that will sadly sit alongside the pantheon of junk comic book fare like “Catwoman” and “Morbius.”

But hey, at least Sony gets to keep the Spider-Man trademark for a while longer.