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‘Madame Web’ Movie Review: Sony Makes Their Marvel Version of The Room – Daily Disney News

It’s no coincidence that Sony’s latest Marvel movie, Madame Web , is set in 2003, when Tommy Wiseau’s The Room came out because there isn’t another movie to compare the out-of-body experience you’ll have to watch S.J. Clarkson’s superhero origin story. It opens with a horrendously dubbed-over Tahar Rahim giving a masterclass in non-acting as Ezekiel Sims – his lips barely move, but his lines say many lengthy phrases with an accent that does not match the actual actor’s voice (and accent).  Rarely have we seen such bad ADR in a major studio motion picture, which completely sinks any ounce of authenticity Rahim might have given playing the antagonist on set. Sims is searching for three teenagers who eventually grow up to become Spider-Women: Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney), Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor), and Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced). He sees visions at night of the three killing him, which he attempts to prevent by tracking them down to kill them. However, Sims does not expect Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson), a New York paramedic who develops clairvoyant abilities after a car accident. Those specific powers allow her to see Julia, Mattie, and Anya die at the hands of Ezekiel before she rewires the narrative and saves their lives. It’ll now be up to Cassandra to defeat Ezekiel before he kills the Spider-Women and discovers her past through the figure of her mother (Kerry Bishé). Oh, and Ben Parker (Adam Scott) appears, excited at the prospect of becoming an uncle, as his sister, Mary (Emma Roberts), is pregnant. Who do you think she’s expecting? Already, the premise of a corrupted soul who sees into the future and attempts to kill three people who will eventually grow up to be heroes is a direct riff on James Cameron’s The Terminator , with Sims acting as the T-800 (in the first film), and Cassandra as its Kyle Reese. In the subway train sequence, she pretty much says, “Come with me if you want to live,” to the three girls before Sims appears out of nowhere with his CW-ass Spider Suit to kill them.  Add the fact that Mary is carrying a future Peter Parker, who’ll eventually grow up to be Spider-Man, and you’ve got the blueprint for success. Clarkson is a competent director behind the camera, who’s proved herself countless times in television through Jessica Jones , The Defenders, Succession , and, most recently, Anatomy of a Scandal . With cinematographer Mauro Fiore, she has the chops to bring a Marvel version of The Terminator to life, provided the story is thrilling enough for the stakes to feel urgent, just like James Cameron’s film drew compelling protagonists and antagonists in a literal race against time.  So why in the hell did Sony enlist screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, who previously wrote the cinematic masterpiece known as Morbius , to bring this story to life? It’s almost as if they do not want to make a good movie and never want to be taken seriously as a studio bringing compelling spider stories to life. Of course, Clarkson is not to blame for the film’s cataclysmic failure. She tries to do her best with the shoddy material given, and Fiore attempts to infuse life and movement into a story that has none, even if the blocking is head-scratchingly incomprehensible, despite a few neat [practical] camera tricks.  Clarkson mostly focuses her direction on the chemistry between Cassandra and the Spider-Women, and it’s there that the movie works somewhat well. Despite risibly written lines, Johnson, Sweeney, O’Connor, and Merced aren’t entirely terrible and seem to have fun working together. Their bond feels natural and engaging, even if Sazama and Sharpless write lines that feel as if they’re spoken by an alien who is slowly learning human interaction. It’s probably a testament to the leads’ talents more than anything else: they know their performances must be played for laughs and fully revel in camp for most of the runtime. It’s also how Cassandra’s chemistry with Ben Parker works, even if Scott’s comedic talents are mostly underused here. And despite Johnson talking about how bad the movie is during her highly entertaining press tour, she is also not at fault for the film’s shortcomings and is the single best part of Madame Web. Johnson genuinely seems to care about the film and delivers a highly entertaining turn as Cassandra Webb for most of the runtime, only for her to mail it in during its horrendously executed climax, which sees a bunch of fireworks blow up without any sense of cohesion in its framing of action and geography. No, the real culprit for Madame Web ’s failure isn’t Johnson or Clarkson – or even Sazama and Sharpless – but Avi Arad, who has caused more damage to the Marvel brand than the MCU’s two most significant failures of last year. Believe it or not, a consistent streak of lousy superhero movies with no thought, care, or artistic expression behind the camera will lead to superhero fatigue much faster than last year’s Secret Invasion and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania . Already, Marvel Studios is seeing signs of life again with the positive reception of Echo , and the Deadpool & Wolverine trailer being the most-viewed of all time (add The Fantastic Four cast to that list, but we already knew who they were months ago).  Films like Madame Web hurt the Marvel brand because they’re lousy and only serve a purpose for Sony to hold on to the rights of crucial Marvel characters that would’ve otherwise reverted to Disney. The studio cares little about these characters, as evident in their on-screen treatment of complex characters like Michael Morbius in 2022 and now Madame Web. They will attempt to sucker audiences into seeing this dreary affair by showing Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, and Isabela Merced in costume during its trailer, even if they only wear those during two brief scenes in the finished product. Sony, specifically Avi Arad, has zero vision for their Marvel stories. Even if they hire competent filmmakers to bring Madame Web to life, they will never get past studio interference that completely botches their movie. The finished cut might differ significantly from the filmmaker’s original intentions. Arad has done this countless times and is the sole reason why his legacy will not be one of success but of numerous failures, as the man who rebooted Spider-Man three times within Sony, only for those franchises to peter out in the most hilarious of ways, because they’re led by a person who has no artistic vision, and only sees these iconic comic book figures as a moneymaking machine, without ever exploring the richly-layered nature of their characters.  However, I’d be lying if I said these movies aren’t furiously entertaining in all the wrong ways, and I will continue to pay money to see those disasters on the biggest possible IMAX screen. Perhaps I’m part of the problem, but these superhero films are no longer made. We desperately need producers like Avi Arad, who know they make lousy stuff and proudly boast about it. He may be permanently damaging the already thin reputation superhero cinema has been having for some time, but god, does he spearhead the most compelling piece of lousy cinema crafted since Tommy Wiseau’s The Room . No other superhero movie will ever reach the same level of unnatural, inhuman behaviors captured by Wiseau’s film as Madame Web . And we can all thank good ol’ Avi Arad, comic book cinema’s greatest menace, for that. Excelsior! Madame Web is now playing in theatres everywhere.

This content was originally published here.

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