Oh what a tangled web

Will Ferris
Latest posts by Will Ferris (see all)

Madame Web (12A, 116 Minutes)

Consider the last two years of films from the comic book genre. Depressingly bad, right? When you look at atrocious flops like The Flash and Aquaman 2, you really start to doubt things could possibly get any worse.

Then, along comes a spider.

Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes ever written, but has one major flaw. There are currently three versions of the character swinging around their respective New York City’s. Two of these universes are owned by Sony. The third is the property of Marvel. But it would be a bit silly to make films about the same character all at the same time, wouldn’t it?

Sony has been trying to get around this issue with villain-focused releases like Venom and Morbius. They didn’t do very well.

Any company would look at their box office results alongside the reviews and maybe call it a day.

But no. They have decided to keep the train running towards the edge of a cliff and have drafted Dakota Johnson for a spin as Madame Web – who, in the comic books was an elderly clairvoyant – pretty much Peter Parker’s Yoda.

Cassandra Webb (yes, that really is what she’s called) is a shy, socially withdrawn paramedic partnered up with Ben Parker (Adam Scott). After attending a car collision on a bridge, Cassandra (Dakota Johnson) falls into a river and is granted clairvoyant powers in which she witnesses future events and peculiar visions.

On the subway, she sees villain without a cause Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim) charge through and murder three young women Julia (Sydney Sweeney), Mattie (Celeste O’ Connor) and Anya (Isabela Merced). Realizing it was just a premonition, she quickly ushers the girls off the carriage and prevents this event from taking place.

Wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff is now in total disarray and Cassie learns Ezekiel was in the Amazon with her Mom when she was researching spiders right before she died – this was an actual line in the trailers which has since, appropriately, been removed from the theatrical cut.

Confused? Buckle up.

Ben – presumed to be ‘The’ Uncle Ben (no, not the rice man) – is having a baby with his wife, Mary. This kid gets a fair bit of attention in the film, indicating that it is an unborn Peter Parker.

But hang on – wouldn’t that mean Uncle Ben is actually Daddy Ben? Does that not totally wreck the point of Spider Man’s origins? Were the writers high when they wrote this?

This convoluted piece of tripe is the equivalent of throwing random paints at a board and seeing what you get. It feels like a harsh insult to projects that never get off the ground. The writers have tried to pull together many lesser known tales Stan Lee carefully implemented into the origins of his web-slinger.

However, it’s as if the studio opened the final draft to find pages full of scribbles in multicolored crayon.

The whole idea is preposterous. The cinematography is so poor there cannot be a more logical excuse for its poor quality other than a first year film student getting their hands on the camera.

This truly begs a vital question – at a time when films are being withdrawn before release (such as Batgirl), which studio representative watched this and decided it was good enough for public consumption?

Its purpose may be to act as a blockbuster that’ll please the wider comic book fans, but it brought me back to my film student days of watching dreadful short films on a hangover, wanting the ground to swallow me whole and spare me from the sharp embarrassment that accompanies debating wishy-washy trash even its creators would admit was made without a dash of passion or thought.

SONY clearly feels it needs to continue Spider Man’s story. But which one? What universe is this even set in? What’s the point? Has anyone even told Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield?

If ever there was a time to cut your losses and move on, it was yonks ago. But the damage is well and truly done, the rot has spread and the ceiling has caved in.

RATING: 1/10

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