The Reel Review


Cassie is a 30-year-old paramedic who was orphaned as an infant after her scientist mother died during an expedition in the Peruvian Amazon to find a rare spider with magical powers. When an accident gives Cassie the ability to see the future it also awakens a villain looking to destroy her and three seemingly unconnected teenage girls, in this action/adventure fantasy starring Dakota Johnson.

Isabela Merced, Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney and Celeste O’Connor in Madame Web

This origin story of one of the more obscure Marvel comic book characters is Sony Pictures’ attempt to jumpstart its beleaguered superhero franchise. Nice try. Even Johnson can’t save this film, with a logic-free, plot hole-laden screenplay that feels like it was written by a sixth grader. (Surprise. It’s from the team that brought us 2022’s Morbius.) There is a ton of laughably bad dialogue and dodgy CGI and Madame Web’s teenage charges – Sydney Sweeney (Anyone But You, Euphoria) as the shy one, Celeste O’Connor as the feisty one and Isabela Merced as the bookworm – are one dimensional filler.

Dakota Johnson in Madame Web

For a superhero movie, the action mostly consists of Cassie warning people to look out when she isn’t ramming the villain – a frequently barefoot Tahar Rahim – with her car. The entire cast looks embarrassed to be there in the incredibly boring finale. Yawn.


• Sony Pictures is legally prohibited from even mentioning Spider-man in its films.

• In the Marvel comic books, Madame Web is an elderly woman whose premonitions help Spider-Man.

• Dakota Johnson has said Madame Web underwent so many extensive rewrites that the final product looks nothing like what she signed up for.


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