Spoiler alert! This article contains spoilers for Sony’s Madame Web.

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Summary

  • Madame Web expands the Spider-Man Universe by introducing classic characters from Marvel Comics.
  • The movie keeps the stakes personal, focusing on the lives of three young girls instead of apocalyptic narratives, offering a character-driven story.
  • Madame Web provides a proper origin story for the character, offering a standalone superhero movie that does not demand prior knowledge of other films.

Though Madame Web has been met with some very harsh criticism, it did manage to achieve some positive aspects which should be commended. The Marvel movie expanded Sony’s Spider-Man Universe to depict a classic Spider-Man character. While there are many things to hate about Madame Web, several aspects deserve praise for evolving the superhero genre and proffering a fresh take on comic book movies.

Madame Web follows in the footsteps of Mobius as a sub-par entrant into Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. The movie depicts Madame Web’s origin story while introducing a swathe of other Spider-Man characters from Marvel Comics. While this may not have been especially successful, Madame Web introduced several key developments to the wider superhero genre, which should be lauded as legitimate positives.

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10 Ezekial Vs The Cops Is The Movie’s Most Effective Action Sequence

As Seen During The Subway Scene

One especially effective scene depicts Ezekiel attacking NYPD officers in a subway station. The scene served as a stark reminder of just how terrifying Spider-Man must be to criminals – an aspect often overlooked in the movies. Told from the perspective of Cassie and the police, Ezekiel’s swift movements, seizing individuals from concealed vantage points and seemingly impossible angles, conveyed a chilling depiction of Ezekiel’s powers. The scene was a potent demonstration of the terrifying potential of Spider-Man’s powers and his ability to instill fear and apprehension in criminals.

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9 Madame Web Keeps The Stakes Small And Personal

Madame Web Focuses On Keeping The Spider-Women Alive

A common critique of superhero movies pertains to the exaggerated scale of conflicts, with the fate of the planet, if not the universe, at stake. Madame Web, however, kept the stakes oriented around the three young girls’ lives, underscoring a deliberate deviation from apocalyptic narratives. Maintaining more personal stakes allowed for a more character-driven narrative, making Madame Web a refreshing alternative to the classic superhero adventure. This was further aided by the lack of superpowers among Madame Web‘s principal cast. This constraint allowed for a more nuanced and unconventional narrative, with a consistent focus throughout.

8 Ben Parker Hasn’t Been Seen In His Prime On Screen Before

Ben Parker Is Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben

Ben Parker reading a fortune cookie in Madame Web

Uncle Ben in Spider-Man movies has consistently been portrayed as an elderly figure on the brink of demise, serving only as a catalyst for Peter Parker’s journey into heroism. However, Madame Web explored Ben Parker’s character in his younger years, exploring the character in a new narrative avenue. Depicting him in his prime offered insights into his formative experiences, relationships, and values, enriching the pivotal Spider-Man character. It was refreshing to see Uncle Ben in a movie where he wasn’t about to die while also further exploring his character.

7 Madame Web Avoids Incomprehensible CGI Fights

Madame Web Opted For A More Grounded Final Battle

Cassie Webb driving an ambulance in Madame Web

While Madame Web‘s action sequences may not have been the greatest, they commendably sidestep the pitfalls of excessive CGI-laden brawls. Moreover, with the distinct lack of superpowered heroes, Madame Web avoids the CGI energy blasts and colorful displays of power that often make superhero movies appear more like cartoons than live-action movies. Though Madame Web‘s climax ultimately fell flat, it’s admirable that the filmmakers would make such a bold decision and opt for a more grounded approach to a final battle. It increased the personal stakes and demonstrated the differences between the Ezekiel and the heroes.

6 Madame Web Expanded The Spider-Family

Many Other Spider-Characters Have Been Omitted From The Movies

Madame Web is noteworthy for doing one thing no other live-action movie has – expanding the Spider-Man family to include other characters. Of course, Spider-Man is the face of the franchise, and undoubtedly the most popular character, but numerous other Spider-Man characters lead their own solo adventures and have become respected Marvel Comics characters. The titular Madame Web and the three different Spider-Women are prime examples of this. Though Ezekiel is a villain, he is often presented as Spider-Man’s antithesis in Marvel Comics, so he equally serves the same purpose in Madame Web​​​​​​.

5 Madame Web Explored A Female-Centric Superhero Narrative

Madame Web Was Primarily A Feminist Adventure

A group shot of Isabela Merced, Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeny, and Celeste O'Connor in Madame Web

While there have been some female-led superhero movies, many of them have isolated their strong female characters against a male cast. Captain Marvel and Catwoman are prime examples of female superhero movies where male characters are vital to the narrative, somewhat undermining their feminist potential. Madame Web, on the other hand, had an almost entirely female main cast. With four strong female leads, Madame Web explored a truly feminist narrative where female characters are given genuine agency. It serves as a marked step forward in achieving equal representation in the superhero genre.

4 Madame Web Gave The Character An Origin Story

Madame Web Doesn’t Have A Proper Origins Story

Dakota Johnson with a spider web logo behind her for Madame Web

One major positive of Madame Web is that it provided a proper origin story for the character. In Marvel Comics, Madame Web is presented in her fully-developed form – as a blind, elderly lady hooked up to an elaborate life-support machine designed like a giant spiderweb. The only aspect of her backstory that was confirmed was that Cassandra Webb is a mutant. While this isn’t touched upon in Madame Web, the movie does provide the character with a proper history. An origin story is an essential part of a hero’s narrative arc, which only Madame Web has proffered.

3 Madame Web Does Not Demand Prior Knowledge

Many Other Superhero Franchises Are Interconnected

Cassie Webb and Julia Cornwall in Madame Web's final battle

One common complaint of superhero movies is that movies often demand prior knowledge of numerous previous movies. This has led to the superhero fatigue phenomenon, where audiences are hesitant to engage with swathes of material just to understand one movie. Madame Web cleverly counters this trend, by presenting a movie that can stand completely on its own. While Madame Web was obviously trying to set up a franchise with several characters, the movie itself does not require knowledge of any previous movie, despite existing in the same universe as Morbius and Venom.

2 Madame Web Had Comic Accurate Spider-Women Costumes

Each Spider-Woman Costume Was Incredibly Faithful

Isabela Merced As Spider-Girl, Sydney Sweeney as Spider-Woman and Celeste O'Connor As Spider-Woman In Their Full Spider-Man Costumes Standing On A Ledge Looking Down In Madame Web

One major flaw in Madame Web was the absence of full-powered Spider-Women. Only appearing in brief flashforwards and dream sequences, the three heroes barely appear in their full form, spending much of the movie before receiving their powers. However, these scant depictions were incredibly faithful to the source material, perfectly adapting each character’s costume and personality. The costumes are each beautifully constructed with a slick contemporary design while maintaining the key elements of their unique costumes – such as their distinctive masks. Though they could have been utilized more frequently, their appearances were very satisfying.

1 Madame Web Attempted To Establish Spider-Lore

Madame Web Attempted To Create Franchise-Wide Spider-Man Lore

Cassie's mother taking a picture of a spider web in Madame Web

Despite the numerous renditions of Spider-Man and Spider-Woman, there is little connecting the characters explicitly in Marvel Comics. Madame Web attempted to establish some Spider-Man lore to connect all these characters. The notion of ancient civilizations utilizing powerful spiders as part of their mythology and connecting these to modern-day Spider-People was ambitious, if slightly clunky. However, Madame Web does deserve some credit for at least trying to connect the Spider-Man Family in ways that other comic book hero dynasties do. With attempts at a burgeoning franchise, Madame Web attempted to establish several features, some of which were successful.

Madame Web Movie Poster Featuring Sydney Sweeney as Julia Carpenter, Isabela Merced as Anya Corazon, Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, Celeste O'Connor as Mattie Franklin, and Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims

Madame Web

Director
S.J. Clarkson

Release Date
February 14, 2024

Writers
Burk Sharpless , Matt Sazama , Kerem Sanga

Runtime
114 Minutes

Key Release Dates

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