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Linden’s Cut: ‘Madame Web’ Review


Have you ever seen a trailer in which just by viewing it, you know it’s going to be bad? “Madame Web” fits into that category. When the trailer came out it got far more dislikes than likes. I went into “Madame Web” anticipating it to be a bad film but also wanted to give it its fair day in court.

“Madame Web” is S.J. Clarkson’s feature directorial debut starring Dakota Johnson (“Fifty Shades” Trilogy) as Sydney Sweeney (“Euphoria,” “Anyone But You”), Isabel Merced (“Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” “Instant Family”) and Celeste O’Connor (“Freaky,” “A Good Person”). Set in 2003, Cassie Webb (Dakota Johnson) tries to protect three women from Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim) who wants them dead for dull reasons.

There are a few pros in this movie. There is a semi-entertaining fight scene in a diner that features Brittney Spears’ iconic song “Toxic” in a creative way. There is also a scene where Cassie looks at her dead mother’s belongings which was, until she says something, a pretty well-done scene on its own.

Several flaws haunt this dull and forgettable film. First, the script. It’s just as bad as “Morbius” especially given that it’s from the same writers. The dialogue comes off as wooden, bland and extremely stiff. The characters don’t have any sort of personality and the chemistry between them is sorely lacking.

I know Johnson, Sweeney and Merced are not bad actors, and while I haven’t seen Celeste O’Connor in anything, I’m sure she’s a good actress and has performed well in other projects. Johnson, Sweeney, Merced and O’Connor aren’t awful in this, but they aren’t good either. They all look like they would rather be somewhere else and it doesn’t help that the characters don’t spark much interest especially that they have personal problems in their lives. This could be potentially interesting and it would give the audience to care as well as making the premise far better.

Cassie comes off as unlikable which makes it really hard for audiences to get behind her. For example, after getting Julia, Anya and Mattie to safety, she goes off to research her past further while telling them to remain for three hours in the middle of nowhere. What do the girls do later on? Disobey Cassie and go into a diner and attract attention shortly before Ezekiel comes in and tries to kill them.

What is the villain’s motivation? Kill the three girls who will kill him in the future. Nothing interesting resonates in this character other than the costume, which admittedly is pretty cool. His motivation is so bad because nothing about him is threatening or menacing. He just exists because the movie needs a bad guy.

Emma Roberts is also in this movie, and while the film could’ve been better without her, removing her entirely wouldn’t be able to salvage this. She plays as Mary Parker, Ben’s pregnant sister-in-law. You can already tell where this is going. Emma, you deserve so much better given that your aunt is an Academy Award winner.

The girls in the costumes are false advertising. They get into the costumes in the future whose purpose is to set up films that will probably never happen.

Overall, while “Madame Web” may not be as bad as everyone says it is, it still suffers badly from a terrible script, boring characters, a forgettable premise and a horrible villain. It didn’t anger me, but it’s not a film I will go back to rewatch. If you’re wanting to go to the theaters, just go see “Dune: Part Two” or if you want to see a great superhero, wait for “Deadpool & Wolverine”. Just save your money and skip this film unless you’re curious about how bad this movie is. “Madame Web” earns a C-.

Commentary writer Linden Lansberry can be reached at [email protected]

If you would like to submit a reaction to a piece, Letter to the Editor or other submission, please send it to commentary editor Price Wilborn at [email protected] or [email protected]

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