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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

Review | ‘Madame Web’ is a disgrace to the legacy of superhero films

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As a zealous admirer of both Dakota Johnson and the superhero genre, it pains me deeply to write this review, but it must be done. In the pantheon of cinematic catastrophes, “Madame Web” emerges as a glaring example of everything wrong with modern superhero adaptations. This film, if it can even be called that, is a shameful stain on the legacy of the Marvel comics and the genre as a whole. 

“Madame Web” marks the fourth outing in the Sony Spider-Man Universe, appearing in theaters on Feb. 14 after a lengthy development starting in mid-2022. Directed by S.J. Clarkson and penned by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the film diverges from the well-known directors of the Marvel Universe. However, this departure seems to contribute to the muddled storyline, abysmal performances and atrocious cinematography. 

The film follows the story of Cassie Webb, played by Dakota Johnson, who is a paramedic in New York City. After a near-death experience, Cassie discovers she has the ability to see into the future. The remainder of the plot focuses on her using her powers to save three teenage girls from the villain, Ezekiel Sims. Right off the bat, the storyline has a lot of potential, all of which is wasted. 

For those unfamiliar with the Marvel comics, Madame Web possesses clairvoyance, a defining trait that heavily influences her character and abilities. Despite the writers’ efforts to interlace multiple timelines and dimensions, the storyline is a tangled web. I​​t’s as if the filmmakers took a handful of comic book pages, shredded them and then taped them back together in random order — there is absolutely no flow or transitions between the past and present. 

The performances in “Madame Web” are equally abhorrent, with the cast stumbling through their lines like sleepwalkers in a fog. Johnson, best known for her role in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” is famous for her dry and quiet personality, something present and very unfitting in her role as Madame Web. The poorly written dialogue is, however, no fault of Johnson, as her hatred for the script was the only clear thing in the film. 

Despite the hero’s shortcomings, the villain, portrayed by Tahar Rahim, is even more appalling. The film introduces him as the cause of Cassie’s mother’s tragic death during their research on special spiders. Many years later, Ezekiel becomes haunted by visions of three badass Spider-Heroes who murder him. These heroes are, of course, just teenage girls we never get to really see as heroes in the film. Ezekiel serves no narrative purpose — he exists solely as a shallow antagonist required by the plot. Lacking any genuine motivations or depth, he represents a lazy attempt at creating a villain. 

The audience’s palpable frustration with the erratic frame changes suggests that the true villain is director S.J. Clarkson. The cinematography’s poor execution, characterized by dizzying zooms and erratic shifts, not only induces discomfort but also undermines the film’s coherence and visual appeal. Moreover, Clarkson had a significant opportunity to expand upon the backstory of Madame Web, a character with limited development in the comics. However, this potential for depth and exploration was squandered, leaving viewers disappointed by the lack of passion and personality. 

But perhaps the most infuriating aspect of “Madame Web” is its utter lack of respect for the source material. Despite the character’s extensive history in the comics, the filmmakers treat her as a mere afterthought rather than the iconic figure she deserves to be. 

Not only is her backstory neglected, but we’re also deprived of witnessing the evolution of a true superhero. It seems the writers anticipated a sequel where Madame Web would finally come into her own, complete with a compelling backstory and a heroic transformation, but their delusion only serves to highlight the film’s utter failure to honor its iconic protagonist.

All I have left to say is that “Madame Web” is a lazy, uninspired cash grab that tarnished the reputation of the Marvel comics and the entire genre. If there’s any justice in the world, this abomination will fade into obscurity, never to be spoken of again.

About the Contributor
Nada Abdulaziz, Senior Staff Writer
Nada Abdulaziz is a senior majoring in Philosophy and Biological Sciences. She loves spending her free time reading, hiking, and watching Studio Ghibli films.