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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


Even Spider-Man’s Spidey-Sense Couldn’t Detect the Mediocrity of ‘Madame Web’

Released on Feb. 14, Sony’s “Madame Web” falls short of being a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) adjacent, as it recites old plotlines and makes mediocre use of a talented cast.
Sony’s “Madame Web” has gone from a poorly received trailer to a full-fledged cinematic catastrophe, defying redemption. Despite boasting A-list talent, the film’s descent into a Spider-Man misstep is apparent, leaving audiences forced to endure two hours of disappointment. Photo courtesy of Sony.

If fans want to see Sydney Sweeney in a superhero suit for more than five seconds, this film is not for them. Released on Feb. 14, “Madame Web,” the latest addition to the Spider-Man franchise, struggles to escape the label of mediocrity in this lackluster comic spinoff. Despite a narrative that borders on the absurd and dialogue that elicits laughter seldom, the star of the film, Dakota Johnson, manages to inject some charm into an otherwise flat and predictable movie.

The film introduces Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a clairvoyant paramedic with a tragic backstory that she doesn’t even fully realize. While the character in the comics exuded mystery and age, Johnson’s Cassie feels more like a modern, down-to-earth individual. Johnson’s palpable awkward charm humanizes the generic burden of Cassie’s past, making her one of the few redeeming aspects of the film, exemplifying the idea that grief and loss can be dealt with in more ways than one.

Director S.J. Clarkson, with an impressive resume including episodes of “Succession,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Jessica Jones,” struggles to elevate the material. The film’s descent into chaos is evident from the opening scene in the Peruvian Amazon, where the recitation of arachnid statistics feels monotonous and out of place. The screenplay seems uncertain about how to handle a superhero whose powers are mental rather than physical. The result is a movie that stumbles narratively, tonally, and in every conceivable way.

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When the trailer for the film was released, fans were quick to notice Johnson’s awkward line delivery when she said, “[Ezekiel] was in the Amazon with my mom when she was researching spiders right before she died.” This became a viral meme on social media, with users mocking the offbeat execution of the line and, more plainly, how wordy and grammatically incorrect it was. However, this line appears to bring together everything that feels overdone about superhero movies and the scripts that somehow make it to screen with millions of dollars behind them.

One of the film’s more irritating choices is burdening Cassie with surrogate mom duties after rescuing a trio of teens with special talents (Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, and Celeste O’Connor). While Johnson makes the protective side of Cassie bearable, the characters and their storylines come off as formulaic. Even the villain, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), feels brutally miscast and overstays his welcome.

However, some of this film’s criticism is fueled by traditional fanboy misogyny, as online trolls targeted anything remotely associated with female superheroes. The film’s focus on one of the more obscure players in the Spiderverse only heightened skepticism, giving the impression that Sony was scraping the bottom of the barrel for content. The combination of exaggerated action and an underwhelming cast made the entire affair feel like a step away from parody that is simply unfunny.

It’s evident that Sony continues to capitalize on Spider-Man’s success, but “Madame Web” fails to live up to the franchise’s standards. Released after the imaginative “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” the movie appears to be a desperate attempt to squeeze new material from the beloved character. The most noteworthy aspect of this endeavor is Dakota Johnson’s performance, which slightly challenges the notion that intellectual property matters more than star power in superhero movies.

“Madame Web” may be a cinematic dud, but Dakota Johnson’s transcendent performance manages to salvage some watchable moments, showcasing that star power can still make a difference in the superhero genre, even when the material falls short. In the end, “Madame Web” becomes a cinematic disaster that defies redemption. As audiences endure two hours of cringe-inducing moments, the film leaves them yearning for a future where its memory is a distant blur. Guess Cassie Webb didn’t see this one coming, huh?

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About the Contributors
Ananya Karthik
Ananya Karthik, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Ananya is a junior, and joined The Blaze staff  in her sophomore year. She is currently the Arts and Entertainment Editor, and she loves writing articles about events occurring in Rock Ridge. Her love of reading and writing, which began when she was little, only grew as she got older, and she quickly gained an interest in writing reviews. Now, she hopes to pursue a career or profession in journalism. In her free time, Ananya likes to watch TV shows, her favorite being Gilmore Girls, listen to Harry styles, and keep up with pop culture news on Instagram and Facebook.
Rachel Adams
Rachel Adams, Website Coordinator
Rachel Adams is a senior. This is her third year on staff, and she is one of the Website Coordinators. She is part of the girls tennis team and the theater program. Her favorite hobbies include baking, hiking, crocheting, and reading. Her favorite books are murder mysteries, but she loves all genres. When she graduates high school, she hopes to get into aviation, specifically piloting commercial planes. She has only been on a plane twice, but she knew this was something she wanted to do for a career almost right away. Rachel is excited to see what the future holds, in both college and beyond.

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