Madame Web Review: Sony Pictures' Latest Meme Generator The Nerdy Basement

‘Madame Web’ Review – Sony Pictures’ Latest Meme Generator

If the ultimate goal of the Sony Universe of Spider-Man Characters is to create films that serve as nothing more than meme generators then Sony Pictures’ ‘Madame Web’ is a bonafide success. One can say that this was expected when the first trailer of the film gave us the now viral sensation that is “he was in the Amazon with my mom when she was researching spiders just before she died” but that pales in comparison to what the final product has becomes and what was delivered to fans of these actors and these characters.

If you aren’t aware by now, the line that I just mentioned isn’t even in the final cut of the film. If Sony wanted to double down on the meme content, I would’ve kept this line in the film; that’s just me though.

‘Madame Web’ stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb (and partially Julia Carpenter), Sydney Sweeney as Julia Cornwall, Isabela Merced as Anya Corazon, Celeste O’Connor as Mattie Franklin, Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims, Emma Roberts as Mary Parker, and Adam Scott as Ben Parker. The film is loosely based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name and in typical Sony fashion, are mere caricatures of the characters fans have come to love and adore.

Madame Web Review: Sony Pictures' Latest Meme Generator The Nerdy Basement

The film begins with the introduction of Constance Webb and Ezekiel Sims in the Amazonian Jungle in Peru in 1973. Constance is researching spiders just before she dies at the hands of Ezekiel, who wants the knowledge and use of the spider they were searching for all for himself. Despite the efforts of this universe’s “spider-people” known as Las Arañas, they are unable to save Constance but save the life of her baby, Cassandra thanks to the spider’s venom. This in the process gives Cassandra her powers which are dormant for most of her life and awaken 30 years later.

In these 30 years, Ezekiel has created a successful life for himself and has created a generous amount of wealth. What does he do for a living? We don’t know, the film doesn’t care about character development but wants you to know that Ezekiel has visions of three Spider-Women killing him, therefore, they must be stopped at all costs. And this is where the Temu Spider-Man becomes the butt of the joke throughout the entirety of this film.

Outside of the lack of character development, Ezekiel as a villain, is not menacing at all. He’s quite comical. One can blame bad writing which is prevalent throughout the entirety of this film, but one can also blame Rahim’s performance, his bad line delivery, and the studio’s overuse of ADR which is how Rahim delivers the majority of his lines of dialogue throughout. He also has a Spider-Man-like suit, but the film fails to explain how or why he is wearing this suit. Ezekiel also doesn’t have any Spider-Man-like powers outside of “super jumping” and wall-crawling.

Madame Web Review: Sony Pictures' Latest Meme Generator The Nerdy Basement

If you think that’s the worst of it then you are highly mistaken. The leading women of the film…try…and I’m using this word loosely because it is a poor attempt at trying to work with what you got. I’m a real advocate of not bashing actors so much for a bad film since they are there to do one job and one job only and that is to act out the script that they are given but sweet baby Jesus these performances are just awful. Johnson has no leading presence and delivers a bland and flat performance as Madame Web.

Her supporting trio is more of the same. I’m sure Sony Pictures were ecstatic to have Sydney Sweeney on board their film and were probably confident that her popularity would bring asses to seats, and it probably did but as with Johnson and the rest of the leading women of this film, this a stacked miscast group of actors that provide no life or depth to the characters that they portray. Not even the 30 seconds of seeing these women in their spider costumes were enough to deter the inambitious performances we had to endure.

The script also fails at connecting these women outside of pure coincidence and happenstance. Webb is only connected to Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced) because she lives in her apartment building, she’s only connected to Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney) because they met in the emergency room, and she’s only connected to Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor) because Mattie flicked her off. ‘Madame Web’ is set to serve as an origin story for everyone but there’s not much of an origin to explore when the three Spider-Women do not get their powers in this film.

Madame Web Review: Sony Pictures' Latest Meme Generator The Nerdy Basement

This is not even mentioning the amount of “gotcha” moments we have to endure when the film’s writers continuously allude to Peter Parker leading up to his eventual off-screen birth and the constant jabs about his future and the eventual death of Ben Parker which leads to the iconic ” with great power, comes great responsibility” or as ‘Madame Web’ puts it “when you take on the responsibility, great power will come.”.

When it comes to live-action Spider-Man-based films like ‘Morbius’, ‘Venom’, now ‘Madame Web’, and soon ‘Kraven the Hunter’, Sony becomes more and more like that abusive parent or family member who continuously picks at your insecurities to their own amusement despite knowing how much that deeply affects you and potentially your future at least physically and mentally; or in this case financially (if you’re Marvel Studios who is catching strays by proxy). It’s just outright disingenuous and disrespectful as a movie studio that is out here to create films viewers WANT to see, not what they think we want to see.

An additional, if not my main issue with ‘Madame Web’ and how bad the film turned out to be is that this adds more fuel to the misogynistic fire of the online grifters who will use a film like this to tear down films like ‘The Marvels’ (or any other female-led superhero/comic book movie) and unload their Twitter fingers and be like “SEE! THIS IS WHY WE DON’T WANT WOMEN IN OUR MOVIES”. We’ve seen the hit pieces from various outlets and countless YouTube and TikTok videos about this kind of stuff but when it comes to films like ‘Morbius’ and ‘Madame Web’, as long as we have the memes we’re more than good.

Madame Web Review: Sony Pictures' Latest Meme Generator The Nerdy Basement

‘Madame Web’ does leave the door open for a sequel which would see the leading quad of heroes don their comic book monikers but after seeing this film and how hard it has flopped at the box office, Sony would be willfully ignorant to make another film. Sony also needs to stop selling these actors on false hopes of MCU inclusion in these contracts because 99% of the time that is the selling point and that is why they agree to make these films only to find out after the fact that they are not part of the MCU. It happened with Tyrese and his role in ‘Morbius’ and it happened with Johnson and Sweeney. It’s gotta stop.

For the sake of providing some semblance of a constructive review here, I see what ‘Madame Web’ intended to do, however, the execution is abysmal and hilarious at best. Poor and choppy editing combined with aimless direction and aimless storytelling, coupled with poor and bland performances only leaves a sense of being force-fed something you do not want to eat and in the process being forced to swallow it and pretending it’s good.

‘Madame Web’ is now playing in theaters.

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