Madame Web Review: Is It Worth Your Time?

Madame Web Sony Pictures Spider-man Review

In a switch from the typical genre, Madame Web tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel publishing’s most enigmatic heroines. The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as 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.

Madame Web Trailer:

Madame Web Video Review:

The Good:

When it comes to the acting in Madame Web, most of the actors did alright. However, Sydney Sweeney probably gave the most convincing and believable performance. Sweeney really immersed herself into the role of Julia Cornwall and transformed into an anxious, insecure, and troubled teen. I thought Sweeney really captured the teen’s vulnerability and positively elevated the character.

Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney) in Columbia Pictures’ MADAME WEB
Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney) in Columbia Pictures’ MADAME WEB.

One of the best aspects of Madame Web for me was the practical usage of Cassandra’s powers. Her ability to see the future was intriguing due to the gradual progression she made in understanding her capabilities. This was probably the closest and best way to relate to Dakota Johnson’s character because audiences also had to learn along with her. I specifically appreciated the action sequences that involved her powers because of how resourceful Cassandra was against her foe. It also was a good decision on the part of the director to showcase her abilities as an advanced version of deja vu in order not to initially overwhelm viewers.

The Bad:

One minor issue with Madame Web was in its pacing. Whether it be due to editing or overall direction, I often found myself becoming disinterested in character interactions. It wasn’t until a major action sequence with the main villain, that things would get interesting. I would say that a good 30 minutes of this film probably could have been trimmed out to help the film be more effective.

Another disappointment for Madame Web was the film’s villain, Ezekiel played by Tahar Rahim. Sadly, the villain was incredibly one-dimensional. His motivations only made sense on a superficial level at best.

Writing Problems:

Without question, the biggest downfall of Madame Web is the screenplay. The dialogue felt stiff and dated. There were far too many moments in the film that felt nonsensical or completely over the top. There’s a scene in a diner where the conversation that takes place makes absolutely no sense. The worst faux pas was in the climactic ending with one of Cassandra’s powers. This film seems to believe that just because it tells the audience that her powers are vast and anything could happen, in turn, anything that does happen should just be acceptable.  To me, that was just absurd and pushed far beyond the already loose leash given to most comic book movies.

An Insult To Fans:

Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor), Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson), Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced), and Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney) in Columbia Pictures’ MADAME WEB.
Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor), Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson), Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced), and Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney) in Columbia Pictures’ MADAME WEB.

In addition to the ridiculous powers, the writing came off as a failed attempt to be cheeky fun. Rather, the writing felt a bit insulting to Spider-Man fans. It was already known that Sony was committed to keeping Spider-Man out of their live-action spinoff movies. However, Madame Web had far too many instances of trying to poke fun at the fact that Spider-Man kind of exists in this world, but the audience won’t know for sure. Whether it came in the form of familiar characters making appearances or certain name drops, the running joke wore thin pretty fast. It also didn’t help that the marketing for this film gave audiences the impression they would at least get to see the young women become superheroes. Unfortunately, that was not the case. These misdirected may have had good intentions, but when the film already has so many other issues, the pile-on isn’t appreciated.

The Verdict:

Madame Web is a dated comic book movie that inevitably derails itself by doing entirely too much. From the cringy Spider-Man references and absurd logic of its characters, this film immediately becomes one of the more forgettable comic book movies of the year. This felt like a troll job to spite fans who are tired of these Spider-Man-Less films. Everything about the screenplay and the direction of the film felt like a dated comic book movie from the early 2000s. Despite practically stealing some special effects from Doctor Strange (2016), Madame Webb seemed overly cheesy. It’s still baffling as to why Sony made the decision to move on with this character. Given how the character in the comics does have a connection to all things Spider-Man-related,  it’s even more confusing as to why Sony chose to make this film completely isolated from a cinematic universe standpoint. There isn’t even a post-credit scene that would potentially draw further interest in the character.

Madame Web Dakota Johnson Sony PIctures Marvel Spider-Man 2024 Sydney Sweeney (2)


Director:SJ Clarkson
Writer(s): Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless and Claire Parker & SJ Clarkson
Stars: Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, Celeste O’Connor, Tahar Rahim, Mike Epps, Emma Roberts, Adam Scott
Madame Web comes to theaters Feburary 14, 2024. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

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Madame Web Review: A Nonsensical Trolling of Spider-Man Fans
  • Acting - 7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 6/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 4/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
  • Watchability - 6/10
  • Rewatchability - 3/10
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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Rotten Tomatoes Approved, Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He's contributed to other outlets such as ScreenRant andThe Wrap, and has been featured on television such as MSNBC. Be sure to join the other fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]