Movie Review – Madame Web

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Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson) in Columbia Pictures’ MADAME WEB.

Venom, Morbius, Kraven and Madame Web, it has not been a secret that for the last decade Sony has planned to create it’s own Spider-Man related universe since announcing plans for a Sinister Six string of movies on the back of The Amazing Spider-Man. Now with Madame Web hitting cinemas and Kraven not far behind it looks like the extended Spider-Verse might be here.

For those who have never seen the awesome 90s Spider-Man cartoon (of which Madame Web is a major character and part of a big cliff-hanger where the only animated Spider-Man who has yet to appear in the animated Spider-Verse films walks through a portal – looking at you Beyond the Spider-Verse), Madame Web is a sometimes help sometimes hinderance to Spider-Man. A character originally created in the 1980s but really started to be seen more in the 90s during the explosion of Spider-Man related characters and oh so many clones, Madame Web was seen as a mysterious clairvoyant who was connected to the web of life (aka the Spider-Verse).

Across the comics and animated series Madame Web would assist Peter Parker and others who took on the Spider totem and guide them to where their destiny lay, even if sometimes that meant not helping as much as that would frustrate various Spider-Men, Spider-Girls and Spider-Women. That is until her demise, at the hands of a vampire like race known as the inheritors as part of the original comic Spider-Verse and powers passed onto Spider-Woman Julia Carpenter.

Madame Web (pronounced Madam not Ma-dame) takes a different tact on this character with the story set 2 decades earlier with orphan and now paramedic Cassandra Web. Thanks to events that happened before her birth with her mother researching spiders in the Peruvian Amazon region, mysterious secret powers were passed on to Cassandra during childbirth. It is not until a near death experience that Cassandra accesses new found powers which if you are someone with the last name Parker could be considered a Spider-Sense but for the last name Web it comes in the form of being able to see the future. Sorta like if future seeing Nicholas Cage decided to fight Spider-Man.

Set in New York you may be wondering if this is part of the connected universe with Morbius and Venom and the answer is… we do not know. While Morbius contained a carry over character and a reference to Venom, Madame Web as mentioned is set in 2003 well before Andrew Garfield made his first web shooter. There are building blocks here that suggest that it could be with Cassandra Web’s EMT partner being Ben Parker whose sister Mary Parker is about to have a baby boy but coincidences that might be connections is very Madame Web.

While stacked with adapted Spider-lore with a renamed Julia Carpenter (Spider-Woman), Mattie Franklin (also a Spider-Woman and niece of J Jonah Jameson), Anya Corazon (Arana who later became Spider-Girl) and Ezekiel Sims (a Spider-Man villain who was a business man with the powers of animal totems including ones similar to Spider-Man) the references are a little deep past Ben Parker. Being set in the past does setup potential for a Madame Web/Nick Fury like role, if you want to catch every potential future thread you will need an advanced degree in Spider-Manology BUT this is a starting at the beginning story.

The film itself is fairly good at keeping momentum with the story mostly revolving around coincident happening to Cassandra after she gains the ability to interpret what happens next. For most of the film this involves a lot of cat and mouse against the films protagonist the not-Spider-Man assassin as Cassandra tries to save the lives of 3 potential future Spider-people. It switches from psychic premonitions to rubber meets road in the last act where Cassandra starts to show off her seeing all the threads ability it does make for some entertaining action which by that point do not feel forced at all.

So should you go see it? Coming out on Valentine’s Day this is an ideal date movie as while it could be setting up huge things for the Sony-Verse it is pretty low stakes. Dakota Johnson is a good Madame Web and while the number of writers on the film do suggest some changes were made (Madame Web started shooting after Morbius finished it’s cinema run) as long as you are not expecting the next Endgame from this it is a safe movie to go enjoy as a one and done.

Madame Web is in cinemas across Australia from Valentine’s Day aka today

Andrew B

Current Resident of Reality C-137. Possible Robot from Westworld. Does lots of random stuff.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Story and Characters
Visuals and Effects
Enjoyment Factor
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Andrew B
Current Resident of Reality C-137. Possible Robot from Westworld. Does lots of random stuff.
movie-review-madame-webMadame Web is an interesting film from the perspective of if it is, will be or was going to be a major part of the Sony live action Spider-Verse (which is super appropriate given the film's use of destiny, predictions and occasional detailed visions of future events to change or meet destiny). While it may not be a super important chapter for the greater Sony story and might just be a one and done this works as a superhero adjacent date night film. Just don't go into with big expectations and just let it spider as it wants to. P.S. You do not need to stay around through the credits there is no Michael Keaton appearance during or after.