Madame Web brings nothing new. In the last ten years, Sony has strived to create a universe related to Spider-Man, which, curiously, does not include the hero. So he tried his luck with the antihero Venom— and it didn’t go so bad — and then, with Morbius , with which he had terrible results. The fact is that the studio is trying to put together, as best it can, its own spider franchise, in which it hopes, presumably, to include the Tom Holland version. But while that happens, it makes all kinds of mistakes by being unable to assemble a quality shared cinematic scenario. Perhaps his luckiest attempt is the adventures of Miles Morales in animation. But for now, nothing he has done in his irregular project live actionhas had the same success.
The film is, so far, Sony’s most ambitious attempt to achieve the success it has with its animated feature films. To do this, put emphasis on similar places. Firstly, it takes various versions of heroes within Spider-Man’s world, to show the idea of a larger reality. Cassandra Web (Dakota Johnson), is the center of a narrative, which flows in several different directions. In an obvious nod to the comic, the character has precognitive psychic powers. But, unlike the original, it is about a young version that is seeking to understand its capabilities.
Madame Web is a confusing attempt by Sony to narrate the Spiderverse, which fails due to its mediocre script and chaotic visuals. What begins as an origin story ends up being a review of broader concepts about the very existence of the spider hero. But the film fails to delve into such an ambitious scenario and ends up becoming a narrative chaos without the slightest appeal.
At the other extreme, it is about presenting Cassandra’s origin story as the beginning of a larger universe. Which also connects with the very existence of all the versions of Spider-Man . Much like Miles Morales, Johnson’s character is part of a thread of events that she doesn’t seem related to. That, just beyond his ability to predict them. But without knowing what causes them or where they are going together. Of course, that is only the first layer of what is intended to be an argument with several that work overlapping.
A premise that could work, if the script written by four hands by Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Claire Parker and the director herself, were less vague and generic. The heroine with psychic abilities that the film imagines is woefully limited and clumsy. Much more so, when the borders between reality and what you can perceive are shown in the plot with a series of fragmentary scenes that lead nowhere. With mediocre digital effects, the world that Cassandra can perceive is more dissolves between scenes than a mystery to solve. In fact, one of the biggest flaws of the film is the feeling that the past, present and future, they clumsily complement each other in a meaningless chronology.
That’s because the attempt to hint at a prequel — after all, Cassandra, can see the future and predict the possible arachnids that will be born — turns into a confusion of premises. Is the New York paramedic anything more than the center of a network — yes, that obvious — that extends from her mother onwards? The plot insists again and again on telling this important nuance, suggesting that Cassandra hides a mystery. But it is so obvious — so little worked out, much less clever in its telling — that within the first half hour, the plot has already revealed all of its mysteries. Namely: that Dakota Johnson’s character is capable of seeing the future of her — as yet unrevealed — arachnid congeners.
A film overpopulated with hollow characters
After, perhaps, its only memorable scene — which directly recalls the saga Final destination— the argument, which explains little, begins to incorporate well-known figures within the spiderverse.All in a chaotic, uneven and even ridiculous manner, which transforms the expected appearances of several legendary characters into script accidents. Time and time again, the plot emphasizes that everything is related to power and the responsibility that comes with it. And of course, it suggests that Cassandra, who sees the future, has the greatest advantage, knowing who the heroes are who will be born.
The film, then passes, becomes corny and with an unusual repetition of topics, telling them in the style of the superhero classics of the nineties. From duty to love, responsibility and loyalty. The film deals so little with its characters as to be mere excuses to move the story forward. It might seem like an homage — after all, it is set at the end of the 20th century — but, in reality, it is cinematic clumsiness. The terrible editing pushes the story into a disorder that ends up being its worst enemy. Sometimes there is no way to understand whether this is Cassandra in the middle of a vision or a scene that is happening.
But everything becomes even worse when introducing the rest of the heroes. The central story clumsily and without much explanation adds Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney), Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor) and Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced). All related to Cassandra’s visions and that, in an appropriate structure, would complement each other. But not only do they not do it, but they appear in action scenes with poor choreography and that Mauro Fiore’s poor photography turns into patches of shadows and color.
Separately, each heroine is related to Cassandra and the strength of the film depends on that. Even so, the script easily forgets it and everything seems to occur due to events that are explained off camera or not explained at all. So much so that when the current villain, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), makes his appearance, his motivations become nebulous. Once again, Sony is betting on a traditional Marvel figure, who must also explain his context and connect with the rest of the story. But he doesn’t, so his pursuit of the probable spider woman remains an almost forced addition to the narrative.
Secondary stories without the slightest interest
The long-awaited appearance of Ben (Adam Scott) and Mary Parker (Emma Roberts) seems forced. Not only is it an obvious and poorly planned fan service , but also, the feature film has the luxury of wasting its possible implications. But since it doesn’t fully describe Cassandra’s abilities — or change her rules — the plot only shows the couple to, apparently, indulge the possibility of Peter’s existence. On the other hand, neither that future, nor the idea of what the prediction may imply, are delved into, so the film navigates in nothingness.
What is most regretted Madame WebIt’s the emptiness in the entire plot and the feeling of how much it could have been. To remember, the trio of spider womanon screen and Cassandra, to whom Johnson provides a nuanced vulnerability, which is appreciated. But beyond that, the film is a combination of terrible script decisions, cheap visuals and an ending, which has the sad honor of being one of Sony’s worst. Another failed attempt for the studio’s already extensive list.