top of page

An Unpopular Opinion on Madame Web

Since its release on February 14th, Madame Web has cultivated a lot of buzz. And by buzz, I

mean slander. Seriously, multiple people I talked to referred to this film as the worst movie ever

made. Rolling Stone declared it the Cats of superhero movies, Variety said it misses the

mark–yikes. But is Marvel's latest creation really this bad? By virtue of these inescapable claims,

naturally, I bought a ticket.

Madame Web, 2024 ©

The film follows a quirky paramedic, Cassandra Web (Dakota Johnson), living in Queens. After

she survives what should’ve been a fatal accident on the job (this scene is wack, we will get to

that later), she starts to notice her reality is repeating– she can see visions of the future before it

happens. Meanwhile, a man on the hunt for a rare spider is haunted by three unknown teenage

girls. He doesn't know who they are, but his recurring nightmare reveals that they murder him in

the future. With her newfound senses, Cassandra sees this man kill these girls before they kill

him (I know, trippy) and intervenes before it actually happens. The confused paramedic attempts

to fathom what the heck is going on and explores her deceased mother’s spider-related fieldwork

to make sense of things (because in true “spiderverse” fashion, everything is related to spiders).

Through much turmoil, Cassandra learns how to utilize her visions to avoid detrimental

outcomes. And to make a long story short, she helps the girls defeat this man and ultimately

shapes them into the heroes they were destined to be.

I know what you’re thinking–WTF? But before you say anything, hear me out. I went to the

movies with the sole intention of ridiculing this fiasco–the bar was on the lowest setting. And

trust me, I wanted to be a hater. But dare I say... I liked this movie.

I need to preface by sharing the aspects I did not like as a disclaimer for anyone who is ready to

revoke my movie-reviewing credibility. First things first, the villain guy was the worst part of the

movie. For some reason, Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR) was used in almost every one

of his scenes, so his words were rarely in line with his lips (if you’ve ever watched a video that's

lagging, you know how annoying this is). Not to mention, his acting was just cringey? 0/10 on

the villain front. Moving on, this film is set in 2003 and as someone who is super territorial over

the early 2000s, I will say the fashion was not giving. Based on the costuming alone, 2003 is the

last year I would guess. And my last complaint– Sydney Sweeney. I have nothing against her, but

this role was not it for her. The innocent teenager trope feels too far gone, she is 26 years old and

Cassie in Euphoria... we can’t really backtrack now.

Aside from those irrelevant details, let’s get into why I was pleasantly surprised by Madame Web.

As an avid movie-goer, I generally gauge what is a “good” movie based on my experience. So, if

I am falling asleep in that heated seat, the film is probably B-O-R-I-N-G. Or in the instance of

Mean Girls (2024), I’m contemplating walking out through the entire duration. I guess the

question is–is it worth my excursion to the theater? In this case, the answer was yes. I was

engaged the entire movie (as was my movie-buddy bestie to my right). And when I went the

second time with another friend after much convincing, he even turned to me halfway and

whispered, “this is pretty good.” Unable to predict a single plot point and equally confused as

Dakota Johnson’s character, my friends and I found this film to be unexpectedly suspenseful AF.

Rewatching this film was so satisfying. The protagonist has these visual foreshadows throughout

the film and the whole story is told on a non-chronological, futuristic timeline. Meaning, the

movie revealed scenes prematurely and revisited them later. And honestly, it was kind of genius.

Remember earlier when I mentioned Cassandra’s near-death accident? During this out-of-body

anomaly (that is really hard to describe–you’ll understand when you see it), Cassandra sees

flashes of varying items while being connected to some sort of web. Turns out, these flashes are

quick snapshots of scenarios that occur later in the movie. I know this sounds puzzling, but

watching it back was so cool. As complex as it is, it was super well-thought-out.

Keeping in mind that this film is associated with Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, it paid homage to

the original Spider-Man comics in more ways than one. Cassandra’s best friend Ben Parker

becomes an uncle when his sister has a baby... cough, cough, Peter Parker. When the three

teenage girls are pronounced kidnapped (A.K.A. Cassandra rescued them), a local newspaper

that read “The Daily Bugle” is shown. Even an off-brand version of the iconic power versus

responsibility quote is thrown in there: “When you take on the responsibility, great power will

come.” Close enough!

I think the issue is people are genuinely trying to compare Madame Web to the Spider-Man

movies– nothing compares to those! This movie is a female-led twist on the superhero classic,

using related concepts and references, but it is its own film entirely. And it's empowering. I won’t

spoil anything because I encourage you to give it a watch, but all of the women on screen

overcome adversity and flourish together. Gals, we need more of this. And even Britney Spears’

2003 single “Toxic” has an epic feature in this film–yes, please.

It's 2024, we all know Marvel movies are more meme-worthy than honorable, now. And you

can't tell me you expected a movie titled Madame Web to be groundbreaking–get real. But in the

scheme of entertainment, this film is exactly that.


bottom of page