What is Madame Web

Well, in many ways, it’s a movie, but it’s also now a massive box office bomb that has once again cut off Sony’s plans for a Spider-Verse spinoff franchise at the knees


Why does Sony keep doing this to themselves? 

Deep-seated masochism? I’m still not ready to commit to “superhero fatigue” as a real phenomenon—let’s talk after Deadpool 3, if it bombs, THEN we can have this conversation—but it is VERY clear audiences are simply not interested in a Spider-Verse film that does not include Spider-Man. I mean, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse made $690 million just last year, and Spider-Man: No Way Home made $1.9 billion three years ago. It’s not like people won’t turn up for Spidey. They’re just not interested in not Spidey. 


What is Madame Web about? 

Madame Web centers on Cassandra Web, played with near-comatose aplomb by Dakota Johnson. She’s got black hair and wears a leather jacket and goes to baby showers and talks about her mom dying in childbirth, she’s not like other girls—she’s an asshole. She’s also a paramedic whose partner is named Ben Parker (Adam Scott), and it’s 2003, and Ben’s sister-in-law, Mary Parker (Emma Roberts), is eight months pregnant.  

Cassie, however, has more immediate problems than the pending birth of Peter Parker, she can suddenly see the future and sees a man in a black spider suit named Ezekiel (Tahar Rahim) killing three teenaged girls on the subway. She goes on the run with the girls to protect them and unlock the secrets of her past at the same time.


Her name is “Cassandra”, and she can see the future. Let me guess, no one believes her?


So this isn’t a Spider-Women team-up movie like the trailer kind of implied?

Nope. There are brief, sort of blurry scenes of Julia Carpenter (Sydney Sweeney), Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced), and Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor) suited up as Spider-Women in the future, but they do not have their powers yet and must rely on Cassie to save them. Actually, now that I think about it, Madame Web is about how awful it is to deal with teenagers. 

What is Madame Web’s relationship to the MCU Spider-Man played by Tom Holland?

None. Like all of Sony’s Spider-Sh-t, they try to make it slant-rhyme with the MCU by setting the film in 2003 and including Peter Parker’s birth, which means Peter would be 14 circa 2017, when Spider-Man: Homecoming is set. 


Wait, that means Tony Stark took a FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD to Berlin in Civil War?


How badly cast is this movie?

This is the worst cast superhero movie in recent memory. Literally only two people are suited to their roles: Adam Scott, who could believably pull Marisa Tomei in this universe, and Isabela Merced, who is the right combination of soft and spunky to be the teen version of a superhero. 

Everyone else is out of their depth, most especially Sydney Sweeney, who is simply too old to play a teen at this point, no part of her scans THAT young no matter how many hoodies or pairs of glasses you put her in, and Dakota Johnson, who looks pissed to even be in the movie in the first place.


What is the worst part of Madame Web?

Honestly, it’s probably how all of Tahar Rahim’s lines appear to be dubbed. It is super distracting both when his dialogue doesn’t match his mouth, and when it is poorly mixed into the soundtrack. The production value on this movie is “bargain bin”. 

Are there any fun Madame Web facts we should know?

Well, there is the coincidence or conspiracy of Dakota Johnson changing her representation team just one week after Madame Web’s first trailer was released to much mockery. That, combined with now deleted social media posts in which she tagged both Sony and Marvel Studios—which is not involved in the production of Sony’s Spidey films beyond sharing custody of Tom Holland—led people to assume that she jumped ship because Madame Web was so immediately mortifying, and she was mad at her agents for getting her into it.

Pictured: Dakota Johnson when the Madame Web trailer dropped.


I’m not 100% sold on that theory, mainly because her new agency, CAA, took on repping her production company, too, but it definitely LOOKS like she changed up her team after realizing her superhero movie was a ticking bomb. We do know she didn’t enjoy the process of making Madame Web with all the blue screen, and at the point the trailer came out, she might have thought she made a huge mistake. Either way, the people who got her the Madame Web deal are no longer her agents. It’s too bad they couldn’t see the future and steer their client away from this mess.

Madame Web is now playing exclusively in theaters.