Sony’s Spider-Man Universe Just Hit a New Low With Madame Web

Sony’s Spider-Man Universe Just Hit a New Low With Madame Web

Ever since Sony executives agreed to loan the Spider-Man rights back to Marvel in 2015, they’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the 900 supporting Spider-Man characters they’re left with. Their brilliant solution? Create an interconnected universe of live-action films centered around Spider-Man villains and supporting characters, minus Spider-Man himself — the very linchpin they’re meant to, you know, support. And the audience reaction hasn’t been great, to say the least.

Venom was polarizing, but it was still a commercial success, earning a whopping $856.1 million at the box office. However, the rest of the entries in the franchise didn’t do as well. Venom: Let There Be Carnage was a critical failure, earning a rotten 57% score on Rotten Tomatoes. And the less said about Morbius, the better. Now, Madame Web has finally hit theaters, and it is Sony’s latest installment in their weird Spider-Man Spinoff Universe, delivering exactly what everyone expected — another convoluted, nonsensical, and downright unenjoyable addition to Sony’s self-imposed mission of creating the most abysmal comic book movie catalog imaginable.

Madame Web Is Officially Worse Than Morbius

Sony’s Spider-Man Universe Just Hit a New Low With Madame Web

We all remember how bad Morbius was, right? The awful pacing, the awkward dialogue, wonky VFX, an underwhelming final battle, and a confusing and unintentionally hilarious post-credits scene that seemed to break the very rules of the movie it was referencing. And then there were the memes. “It’s Morbin’ time.” “One of the movies of all time.” “The first movie to make a Morbillion dollars.” We definitely thought Morbius was it. There was no way Sony could make a comic book movie worse than this.

But they’ve outdone themselves. Again. Madame Web is now the lowest box office opening for any Sony-made Marvel film, raking in a mere $25.8 million — even lower than Morbius, which opened at $39.1 million. It’s also the first Marvel character movie since 2015’s Fant4stic to not secure the #1 spot at the box office upon release. And it’s not just a commercial flop. Madame Web is also the lowest-rated entry in Sony’s Spider-Man Spin-off Universe, with a laughable 12% score on Rotten Tomatoes. This record was previously held by Morbius, with a 15% rating.

The Storyline Isn’t Winning Any Fans

Ezekiel Sims in Madame Webb

Right from the very first trailer, fans could sense the literary masterpiece that was going to be the Madame Web script. The trailer quickly went viral for introducing its villain, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), as the guy who was in the Amazon with Madame Web’s mom when she was researching spiders, right before she died. Thankfully, someone at Sony realized that one had to go. But even with that gem excised from the film’s final cut, the script is painfully bad.

Cassandra Web (Dakota Johnson), our supposed superhero-in-the-making, shows zero interest in the very people she’s supposed to protect. She just leaves three teenagers alone in the woods while a deranged Spider-Man knockoff hunts them. And do you know how Ezekiel finds the Spider-women he sees in his visions? He uploads his dreams to a computer and uses de-aging technology to create pictures of their teenage versions. But the movie takes place in 2003! Facebook wasn’t even a thing back then, and this dude‘s uploading his dreams to computers?

And just when the chase starts heating up, guess what Cassandra does? She decides to take a field trip to Peru to learn more about her lineage and powers, leaving the girls hanging (again) at Uncle Ben’s house. And yeah, if you didn’t know by now, Uncle Ben (Adam Scott) also makes a cameo in this trainwreck of a film.

Dakota Johnson Hasn’t Even Watched The Movie Herself

Dakota Johnson in Madame Webb

What’s even funnier than the film itself is the promotion surrounding it. From that meme-worthy trailer to accidentally unveiling the first look at the full Madame Web suit on a bottle of Ocean Spray, Sony seemed to be putting in zero effort for Madame Web. And the film’s lead, Dakota Johnson, carried this chaotic, nonchalant humor over to the film’s press junket as well.

On SNL, she quipped about the film being “like if A.I. generated your boyfriend’s perfect movie,” while on Late Night With Seth Meyers, she joked, “You don’t have to know anything about anything at all to watch this movie.” It’s hard not to read that as veiled awareness of the script’s “eccentricities”. In another interview with Josh Horowitz for MTV, she confessed to having seen only 4% of Marvel movies and proceeded to butcher the titles of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man films, giving us gems like “Spider-Man: Here He Comes” and “Harry Spider and the Goblet of Man.”

But the funniest bit of the press junket was her interview with Magic Radio, where she unabashedly confessed to not having seen Madame Web yet! And she admitted she wasn’t in any hurry to watch it either, saying, “I don’t know when I’ll see it. Someday.” It’s almost too funny to believe — even the film’s lead star, whose job is to drum up excitement and get people into theaters, hasn’t bothered to watch Madame Web.

Forced And Awkward Fan Service That Doesn’t Appeal to Anyone

Sony’s Spider-Man Universe Just Hit a New Low With Madame Web

It wouldn’t be a Sony Spider-Man Universe movie without a bunch of Spider-Man references and easter eggs thrown in with reckless abandon. But what makes them all the more cringe-worthy in Madame Web is the fact that they can’t outright mention Spider-Man or Aunt May, so they keep trying to “swing around” these names with some of the most awkward and on-the-nose references (yeah, you think that was bad? Wait till you watch Madame Web).

The most laughable bit was their struggle to refer to the Spider-Man-powered villain without uttering the name “Spider-Man”. Instead, we get gems like “Ceiling Man” or “some sort of spider… person”. And then there are the absolutely unhinged lines foreshadowing Peter’s powers and Uncle Ben’s eventual death — like how Peter never stops “leaping around in the womb” and how Ben is “dying to be an uncle.These forced references not only fail to resonate with fans but actively detract from the story. They scream desperation, a poorly veiled attempt to cling to the coattails of a character they can’t fully utilize.

A Superhero Movie With No Superhero Action

Sydney Sweeney in the Movie

The biggest criticism thrown at Madame Web has been its egregious lack of action despite being marketed as a superhero action film. With every poster plastered with images of the Spider-Women in their superhero costumes and every trailer teasing an epic battle between the Spider-Women and Ezekiel, we were primed for some epic fight scenes. Instead, we get… well, not much. The women barely don their costumes, appearing in them for mere minutes during Ezekiel’s nightmare visions of the future and in the film’s closing moments. Basically, if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve already seen all of the superhero action you’re going to get in the film.

And since it’s an origin story, they don’t even have their powers for the majority of the runtime. So, guess how they defeat Ezekiel? The first time, Madame Web runs him over with a stolen taxi. The second time? Madame Web runs him over with a stolen ambulance. The third and final time? A Pepsi sign falls on him. Yes, it sounds like a sick joke, but this is the sad reality of the current state of Sony Spider-Man Universe. If you’re interested in reading the chronology of Marvel’s female heroes leading up to Madame Web, check this out.

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