Madame Web (2024)
February 21, 2024 8:44 AM - Subscribe

Cassandra Webb develops the power to see the future. 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.

From Slate's Sam Adams review "Madame Web Is One of the Worst Superhero Movies in Years—and One of the Most Enjoyable":
If Marvel is the Coke of superhero movies and DC is the Pepsi, Sony is the RC Cola, a passable substitute when they’re out of what you really want. Although the studio has had the rights to Spider-Man, one of the most iconic characters in comic-book history, since the end of the 1990s, it spent much of the 2010s struggling to convert that prize property into a watchable movie, let alone an expandable franchise. After Sony struck a deal to incorporate Spidey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and especially after it cast the buoyant Tom Holland, the character’s fortunes soared. (2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home is the seventh-highest-grossing movie of all time.) But the studio was left in a peculiar position, owning both Spider-Man and the 60-plus years’ worth of secondary characters that have populated his world but unable to use them in the same movies. The result, beginning with 2018’s Venom, has been a singularly strange series of films that take place in a world built around a figure whose name cannot be uttered within it, like a production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead where no one thought to check in advance who owned the rights to Hamlet.
posted by Cogito (10 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I was turned onto this gem by Karsten Runquist's review, and I think it's an absolute delight. The best time I've had in a superhero movie since Thor: Ragnarok. I look forward to packed midnight screenings in the future because sadly the theaters showing it today are nearly empty and I still laughed through the whole thing.
posted by Cogito at 8:46 AM on February 21

I'm looking forward to catching this on Prime or wherever for free in a few weeks. I'm heartened by the idea that it's unintentionally funny, but it doesn't look funny to me. It looks...okay. It looks better than The Flash, anyway. I am astonished that they got Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney to do this, and that they did is a good argument for getting an agent who understands the difference between a Marvel movie and a Sony Marvel movie, lol.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:41 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]

It may be that the terribleness of this will age well and I will get way into it later. But I sort of feel like devoting money and/or eyeballs to horribly misguided corporate trainwrecks only encourages them.

I mean, if people hadn't har-har-harred so much that Morbius became a hit, we probably wouldn't be getting served up this Madame Web garbage in the first place.

I'll laugh at this movie in like twenty years when a) few, if any of the corporate dipshits involved will unironically profit from my ironic appreciation; b) I can enjoy its many failures as cultural artifacts; and c) the income will mostly go to arthouse/cult cinema joints and specialty physical media companies.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:55 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]

When I first heard about this movie, I was curious. I couldn't believe they were going to do a superhero movie about an elderly, blind woman with precog powers, but I was totally down for it as something really different. In the past, I could have seen it being a perfect role for Jessica Tandy. These days, I guess Helen Mirren would be the obvious choice.

Then I heard they cast Dakota Johnson and I realized it wasn't a movie about Madame Web at all. Instead, it was going to be one of those "based on the book-jacket" adaptations. That's the point where they lost me. I won't say I'm longing for what could have been because I'm not that invested, but had they gone with that approach, I'm sure I would have seen it in the theatres. As it stands, if I happen to come across it one day while flipping channels, I'll probably watch it--or at least a little bit of it, but I have no intentions of seeking it out deliberately (although I've been known to be persuaded by MeFi comments before, so I'll leave that possibility open).
posted by sardonyx at 8:07 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]

I mean, if people hadn't har-har-harred so much that Morbius became a hit

Thor: but did it, really? Wikipedia says that it barely doubled its budget, which has been the traditional break-even point, although I've seen some people claim that it has to be more than that. The re-release was their thinking that the memeing of the film would translate to box office numbers, which it apparently didn't. I think that the real encouragement for these type of films is the success of the Tom Holland and Spider-verse films.

Then I heard they cast Dakota Johnson and I realized it wasn't a movie about Madame Web at all. Instead, it was going to be one of those "based on the book-jacket" adaptations.

Yeah. The thing that would have made sense would have been to do the thing that you suggested, with Mirren or whomever (Kathy Bates would have been fantastic), and made them the puppeteer of the Spider Cinematic Universe, in the manner of Nick Fury or Amanda Waller.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:20 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]

Exactly. It could have given people who appreciate the comic character what they wanted to see and it also could have given all the..what do I call them..."real true fans" (you know, those guys who insist women have no place in superhero movie) something to rail against. "You see, all those old broads are evil. I'm telling you man, you can't trust them. Look what they did to [spider-hero]."
posted by sardonyx at 8:50 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


You could see a tiny bit of potential in the early scenes when she's flashing-forward without understanding what's going on while they're being stalked by Sims. There was some tension there. That was about it.

It's a good thing Cassie got to be irritated a lot, because that's about all that Dakota Johnson can play convincingly.

Cannot picture Adam Scott saying "with great power comes great responsibility," though.
posted by praemunire at 10:09 PM on February 23

Cannot picture Adam Scott saying "with great power comes great responsibility," though.
Oh…it's so much better/worse than you're imagining.
posted by Cogito at 6:39 AM on March 2

Wait, no, he never actually said that in the movie, did he? I admit it did not command my whole attention at all times, but I think I would've noticed that.
posted by praemunire at 10:56 AM on March 2

They kind of riffed on the line in the most ridiculous way possible: When you take on the responsibility, great power will come
posted by Cogito at 1:51 PM on March 9

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