Warning! This article contains spoilers for Madame Web.


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Summary

  • Madame Web changes Spider-Man’s iconic line to “When you take on the responsibility, great power will come.”
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home also altered the line to “With great power, there must also come great responsibility.”
  • The changes in the line are made to differentiate the films and apply to new iterations of Spider-Man in the franchise for Madame Web, and to closer match Marvel Comics for No Way Home.


For the second time in three years, thanks to Madame Web, Spider-Man’s iconic “Great Responsibility” line has been changed. Madame Web is the latest film in the Sony Spider-Man Universe, and the first Marvel movie to be released in 2024. Set in the early 2000s, the film focused on Cassandra Webb, a New York paramedic who receives strange powers to become the Marvel Comics character of Madame Web.


Given that the film is set in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, Madame Web features several Easter eggs and references to the wider lore of the Web-Slinger. More so than the likes of Morbius or the Venom films, Madame Web‘s cast of characters connects to the life of Peter Parker and the overall spider-adjacent powers of Marvel Comics. Through these connections to Spider-Man, Madame Web changes the iconic “With great power, comes great responsibility” mantra from past movies for the second time in three years.


How Madame Web Changes Spider-Man’s ‘Great Responsibility’ Line

The change is minimal and makes sense within the context of the film.

Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb in front of a spider-web In Madame Web


One of the many changes made to the lore of Spider-Man in Madame Web surrounds a tribe of people living in the Amazon rainforest. These people are dubbed Spider-People by the locals, a group who swing, jump, and leap through the trees of the forest and possess the power of spiders. Cassandra Webb, Madame Web‘s titular heroine, travels to the Amazon in the film’s second act and meets the leader of the Spider-People.

When you take on the responsibility, great power will come.


Encouraging her to invest in the powers Cassandra possesses, the leader of the Spider-People changes the words of Spider-Man’s iconic quote. Cassandra is told, “When you take on the responsibility, great power will come.” The lore Madame Web is attempting to build behind the people who possess spider powers in the Sony Spider-Man Universe means that this change makes sense, both to apply to a potential Spider-Man in the franchise’s future and to differentiate the quote from previous iterations.

How Spider-Man: No Way Home Changed Spider-Man’s Line 3 Years Ago

The MCU was the first to alter Spider-Man’s classic line.

Spiderman no way home aunt mays death


Interestingly, Madame Web is the second time the Spider-Man line has been changed in three years. In 2021, Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man: No Way Home featured a different version of the line. In that film, Spider-Man struggles against the multiversal villains of Green Goblin, Electro, Sandman, and Lizard, the former of whom kills Aunt May.

With great power, there must also come great responsibility.


Before May dies, she tells Peter “With great power, there must also come great responsibility.” This prompts Peter to try and help the villains of the multiverse by curing their ailments, as he has the power to aid them. This is not as drastic a change as Madame Web‘s, though still contains a notable difference from the iconic quote.

Why Marvel Keeps Changing Spider-Man’s Most Iconic Line

Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures had different reasons for changing Spider-Man’s line.


As alluded to previously, Madame Web changed the line so that it could apply to a new franchise. The original line became popularized by Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy in the early 2000s, making it synonymous with Tobey Maguire’s version of the Marvel Comics hero. While the Sony Spider-Man Universe has drastically failed at capitalizing on the hero within the franchise’s title, Madame Web contains the most overt links to the character yet. Adam Scott plays a young Ben Parker in the film, and his sister-in-law has a baby at the end of the story.


This finally introduces the character of Spider-Man to the SSU, meaning a new “Great responsibility” quote needs to apply to his future. To differentiate the SSU from Raimi’s films, Madame Web changed the line. The new line can then be used for Spider-Man in upcoming stories, while also applying to Madame Web herself. The film is Cassandra Webb’s story, with the character’s arc highlighting her need to take responsibility for people who cannot help themselves. In giving her this different version of Spider-Man’s iconic line, her character arc is completed in a way that is different from past Spidey iterations.


Concerning Spider-Man: No Way Home, the change in the hero’s iconic line was for similar reasons, with one caveat. The similar reasoning in question is that the minor change of the line simply distanced the MCU version of Spider-Man from Sam Raimi’s iteration. However, the change was also versed in Marvel Comics’ history.


Many do not realize that Sam Raimi’s writing of the line was his interpretation of the original line when it was first said in Marvel Comics. In 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15, written by Stan Lee, the line first appeared and is written as it was said in No Way Home: “With great power, there must also come great responsibility.” Marvel Studios’ change to the Spider-Man line is somewhat different from Madame Web‘s in that the former was honoring its origin, something many people did not realize at the time.


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

Madame Web is a superhero movie based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Taking place in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, the movie revolves around a clairvoyant woman who can look into different dimensions. Dakota Johnson stars in the lead role, with Sydney Sweeney, Adam Scott, Isabela Merced, and Celeste O’Connor comprising the rest of the cast.

Release Date
February 14, 2024


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