Marvel’s new web of mediocrity

 

By Connor McCoy

Copy Editor

“Madame Web” came out on Feb. 14 and, well, it’s not the worst superhero movie I’ve ever seen. I can definitely say that.

This movie is produced by Sony, which owns the film rights to the “Spider-Man” characters. It is not produced by Marvel Studios and it is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s set in the same universe as “Morbius” (2022) and the “Venom” movies.

The film stars Dakota Johnson as Cassie Webb, Sydney Sweeney as Julia Cornwall, Isabela Merced as Anya Corazon, Celeste O’Connor as Mattie Franklin, and Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims. In the film, Cassie is tasked with protecting the girls from Sims, who is trying to kill them due to a premonition he has in which they kill him.

I think this film could have been good. The first scene after the film’s prologue was exciting. In the scene, Cassie, a paramedic, is driving an ambulance to the hospital while her fellow paramedic Ben Parker (yes, that Ben Parker) tries to revive a patient in the back.

First of all, the film’s pacing needs work. It feels rushed. The main characters don’t spend enough time bonding to justify going from an antagonistic first meeting to basically being family at the end of the film. Honestly, I think the film would have benefited from a longer run time.

Another great example of the film feeling rushed is how little time it spends on Cassie learning to use her powers, by which I mean that it does not ever show her learning to use her powers. She travels to Peru, learns about how she got her powers, and then the scene ends. The next time we see her, she’s back in New York.

The film’s main villain, Ezekiel Sims, is severely underdeveloped. We never learn anything about his backstory, save for a few vague comments about his life being hard prior to the events of the film.

Sims first appears in the opening scene as a mercenary – I think – who was hired by Cassie’s mom, Constance, to help her find a spider that’s said to be able to cure a wide range of conditions. Once Constance captures the spider, Sims kills everyone on their research team, including Constance, and steals the spider.

Evidently, Sims had the spider bite him, because the next time he shows up he has Spider-Man-esque powers. He’s also very wealthy. At no point is it ever explained how he got his powers or his money.

Cassie meets the girls during Sims’ first attempt to kill them. Cassie is sitting on a subway train when she has a premonition in which Sims kills the girls. The premonitions are presented as if they’re actually happening, only being revealed to be premonitions once they’re over. This is kind of a cool gimmick, but it gets old fast.

Cassie tells the girls, who happen to be on the same train as her, to get off the train. They understandably don’t do what Cassie, who to them is some random woman, tells them to do until Sims shows up in a grayish-black Spider-Man suit.

The movie’s CGI is bad, which was also an issue with Sony’s other Marvel movies, save for the MCU’s “Spider-Man” films, which are co-production with Marvel Studios. There are a lot of weird, wispy effects meant to represent Cassie’s powers. It kind of looks like a combination of spiderwebs, neurons and generic ethereal effects – more fitting to a television than the big screen.

Early in the movie, Sims has a premonition in which he dies fighting Julia, Anya and Mattie. In the premonition, the girls have superpowers. This led me to believe that they would receive superpowers in the film. They don’t. Additionally, this scene is one of only two in the entire movie in which any character is wearing an outfit from the comics. The other scene, which is the final scene of the film, is so bad that I’m going to talk about it later.

Sims also has an assistant. At least, I think she’s his assistant. The movie doesn’t tell us anything about her. I don’t even know her name or if the movie even gives her a name. She doesn’t even get a proper introduction; she’s just suddenly helping Sims track down the girls and is aware of what she’s doing for him and why.

The final scene of the film might be the worst one in the entire movie. Cassie’s riding around in a wheelchair, which itself wouldn’t be a problem, but she’s also talking to the girls like she’s been mentoring them for years like she’s Professor X or something. This is completely out of character for her and took me right out of the film.

I wouldn’t recommend going to see this movie. I don’t feel like my time or money was wasted, but unless you really want to see it, don’t go see this movie. If you do go see it, feel free to leave the theater once the credits start. There are no mid- or post-credits scenes. Although, to be fair, it wouldn’t have benefited from one. Actually, I’ve changed my mind. Absolutely do not go see this movie – unless you’re really bored and desperate for something to do.

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Connor McCoy

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