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The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Matthew Gresham
A poster of Madame Web hanging up at the Alamo. Photo courtesy of Matthew Gresham.

“Madame Web” is a Tangled Mess

I have watched a ton of movies in my life, and just about every movie I’ve watched I have had to spend some form of money, whether it’s for a movie ticket or popcorn to make the experience palatable. But I would recommend you burn your money rather than suggest you watch Sony’s newest release, “Madame Web.”

By way of explanation, whenever I do a review, I have a system for ranking films. I have the usual 1-10 ranking system, but I also have a system that I don’t reveal to readers. From best to worst, it goes like this: masterpiece, good movie, alright movie, bad movie, horrible movie, 55 miles of garbage, and at the very bottom, “Madame Web.”

Let’s start with the plot, or in this case, “What plot?” I am not even joking: The plot just feels nonexistent. We start out by meeting Cassandra Web (Dakota Johnson) who is a New York City paramedic alongside Ben Parker (Adam Scott), who we realize will one day be Peter Parker’s uncle. After getting into a workplace accident, Web starts seeing the future.

Meanwhile, Amazon rainforest explorer Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), who also can somehow see the future to an extent, is worried about his death. He sees three Spider-Women (more on that later) who his visions reveal will cause his untimely demise, something he will do anything to prevent from happening.

What is Sim’s grand plan? His driving motive as the movie’s villain? He decides that he is going to kill the Spider-Women before they achieve their superhero status. Enter Cassandra Web (the obviousness of whose name indicates the mediocre abilities of the screenwriters) who has a vision about a future in which Sims kills the three girls. Somehow, she decides it is up to her to protect the girls and defeat Sims. Yes, it’s nonsensical and underwhelming as plots go.

I absolutely hate the villain’s motive. He decides that instead of using his powers to try and defeat the Spider-Women, he’ll kill three teenagers who don’t even know who he is. His actions and lack of background motivations just irritate me. Speaking of motives, I have no clue what Web’s motivation is. The movie never really takes the time to show what drives her, and her limited motives do seem to shift multiple times. At first, she wants to protect the teens, then she abandons them, then she comes back, then she leaves them with Ben Parker, then she returns one final time. It doesn’t make sense.

Let’s deal with the issue of the Parkers. With Madame Web being a character in the Spider-Man universe, and the use of the Spider-Women in the trailer, you would expect at least a passing mention of Spider-Man, maybe even a cameo of Peter Parker. Nope. Instead, they set this movie in 2003, with Peter not even born yet. Instead, we see Peter’s mother Mary, who is in the late stages of expecting Peter, and Uncle Ben. Of all the characters in this movie, I related to Uncle Ben the most. He has no clue what is going on, but just rolls with it.

Another one of my gripes is the costumes, although they do have some exceptions. The costume design for the hero/villain suit is excellent, with Sims’ black suit being exactly what I would expect from an evil Spider-Man. The Spider-Women suits look like they were lifted from the comics and given just a little bit more detail, while I give kudos to Madame Web’s suit from the end of the movie. What are the costume cons? Despite how the trailers make things look, these costumes only show up for a fraction of the screen time.

As a fan of the comics, I have one overall thought: How do you mess up a movie this bad? Sony has shown that they can make good comic book movies (just look at the Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” films). Yet “Madame Web,” plain and simple, is an insult to the superhero genre and a big miss in the “Spider-Man” universe. I’ve always related to Spider-Man and Peter Parker, a teenager struggling with life who perseveres through one obstacle after another. When I watched the 1994 “Spider-Man” animated series last year, the Madame Web character was actually cool, and I really liked her. So it’s a shame that they took a promising character and made a movie that absolutely butchers it, making her look absolutely clueless.

I left the theater feeling like I could have done better with a budget that was half of this $80 million abomination. I feel like Sony could have burned that money better by investing in crypto. This movie has everything wrong with it: haphazard pacing, a weak script, and vision scenes which kept me confused as to whether we were in a vision or not. The actors try to salvage what they can, but it appears that nothing, not even the great Steven Spielberg, could save this pile of garbage.

Watching this movie is like watching a train wreck. You want to look away from the pure travesty, but you can’t. I give this movie something that is not really possible: a negative 100 out of 10. Avoid this movie like the plague.

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