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The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

Madame Web Review: An Unfortunate Time at the Movies

Madame+Web+Review%3A+An+Unfortunate+Time+at+the+Movies
Julian Ortiz

“Madame Web” directed by S.J. Clarkson and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless is unfortunately a disaster. From its clunky dialogue, unclear character motivations and bland, one-note characters, I fail to see why this film exists, let alone why I paid money to see it. I spent most of my time with the film either laughing for all the wrong reasons or bewildered at the sheer nonsense on screen. I can’t decipher what exactly the intention or overarching theme of “Madame Web” was trying to communicate. I think in the most basic terms this was an origin story to a character tangentially related to Spider-Man. Safe to say, “Madame Web” is another lackluster attempt by Sony to craft a superhero film. Further proving Sony cannot seem to make a good superhero movie without Spider-Man.
Back of the DVD Summary: Cassie Webb (Dakota Johnson) is a paramedic in Manhattan during the early 2000s who can mysteriously see the future just moments before it happens. These strange visions of the future eventually lead her to three young girls who are being hunted by Ezekial (Tahar Rahim) because his dreams are haunted by visions of these girls killing him. It’s never explained why Ezekial will be killed by the girls other than he’s the villain, so, of course, he will be. Cassie then has to undergo a transformation from reluctant paramedic, to protective maternal figure and stop Ezekial from killing the girls.
Given the bare-bones plot, it leaves little for the audience to anchor themselves to. None of the characters are relatable or have characteristics that make you want to root for them. Cassie as the lead is not very likable, not because she’s rude or hard to understand, but because she is so unphased by everything that’s going on. She has little human reactions to the insanity that’s whirling around her and essentially kidnaps the girls she’s trying to protect. She makes herself no more likable or less threatening than Ezekial who is trying to kill them.
What’s also frustrating about the film is there are attempts at themes and arcs, specifically a theme of found family, and taking responsibility. However, the execution doesn’t land and ultimately feels half-hearted at best. The villain Ezekial too is a one-dimensional bad guy who has no personality other than, “Those girls must die.” He makes no attempt at being threatening anyway, leaving his character with little to do. I am not sure what happened with the audio quality, but some of his dialogue was dubbed over and hard to understand. The plot itself was incoherent — things just happened with little reason or rhyme other than the writer wrote it. At no point did I feel like I had a foothold in the story or knew exactly what was going on.
Audiences are yet again served corporate sludge as a film, which is a shame because I like to think there were a great deal of talented artists involved. I cannot in good conscience recommend this film, even if it’s just to see how bad it is. I wouldn’t bother with it either when it comes to streaming. With the disappointing box office results so far, maybe Sony will get the message that they need to try harder to make quality superhero films.

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About the Contributor
Julian Ortiz, Staff Writer
Julian Ortiz is a staff writer with a particular focus on writing movie reviews. He is a JAMS major, creative writing minor. Coming out of Keizer Oregon, Julian loves to write, and to create. In his free-time he enjoys watching video essays on Youtube, going to the movies, writing, and talking way too much about storytelling.

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