A Scathing Review of Madame Web

By: JJ Ledewitz  |  March 27, 2024

By JJ Ledewitz, Staff Writer

“He was in the Amazon with my mom when she was researching spiders right before she died”

Directed by S.J. Clarkson, Sony/Marvel’s Madame Web stars Dakota Johnson as the coincidentally named Cassie Webb, a paramedic who begins to receive visions of the future after a near death experience. A wealthy man with connections to Cassie’s mother, Ezekiel Sims, who has similar clairvoyant abilities as well as spider-like powers, has visions of three young women killing him. Both he and Cassie are drawn to the three women, with Ezekiel wanting to kill them before they kill him and Cassie wanting to save them. Once she learns why and how she gained her special abilities, Cassie, with help from the three young women, stops Ezekiel.

Every single character in this film is incredibly generic, boring, and unmemorable. Dakota Johnson’s portrayal of Cassie Webb is ruined by a laughably terrible script filled with unnecessary explanations and flat conversation. Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, and Celeste O’Connor, who portray Julia Cornwall, Anya Corazon, and Mattie Franklin, the three young women being hunted, are also severely hindered by the disastrous writing. Tahar Rahim, who portrays Ezekiel, does have some great moments, until you notice that his mouth movements don’t match his words, as most of his lines were added in ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) and were edited incredibly poorly.

Because Sony is desperate to make their not-quite Marvel, not-quite Cinematic, not-quite Universe (just the two Venom films, Morbius, and Madame Web), Emma Roberts and Adam Scott portray Mary and Ben Parker, whom the viewer is supposed to realize is the mother and uncle of Peter Parker (Spider-Man). Because of rights issues, the film never actually mentions “Peter Parker” or “Spider-Man”, but stuffs their screen time with references that feel unnecessary and annoying. Both Roberts and Scott give satisfactory performances, but the film feels the need to remind you of their importance in a Sony-Marvel film.

After watching this film, it becomes quite clear that this film was doomed from the start. There are an endless number of embarrassing issues with this collection of strung-together scenes. While film editing is usually polished to an unnoticeable point, this film’s editing is horrendous. Many scenes start too early and/or end abruptly, while other scenes have noticeable gaps without explanation. As previously mentioned, the writing is terrible, which can probably be attributed to most of the writing team coming directly from Sony’s 2022 ‘cinematic masterpiece’ Morbius. 

Strangely enough, I found this film to be incredibly entertaining and funny, mainly because of how blatantly bad it is.