Close this search box.

“Madame Web” Is A Mixed Bag Of Superhero Fun

Superhero movies are everywhere these days, but “Madame Web” tries to put a fresh spin on the genre.
April 6, 2024
6:23 am
Madame Web

“Madame Web” is an uneven but mostly entertaining origin story riding high on its lead star’s charismatic performance.


Dakota Johnson is the MVP as Cassandra Webb, a regular paramedic who suddenly develops psychic visions after an accident. Turns out, she’s part of an ancient lineage of spider-powered clairvoyants tasked with protecting the future. When Cassie’s premonitions reveal three teenage girls (Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, Celeste O’Connor) will be murdered by a shady billionaire (Tahar Rahim) obsessed with altering destiny, she’s reluctantly thrust into the role of their unlikely superhero guardian.


Johnson brings such a likably wry, sarcastic edge to Cassie that immediately makes her stand out from typical brooding Marvel heroes. She nails the comedic exasperation of this ordinary person thrust into increasingly ridiculous situations completely out of her control. Cassie is just trying to keep her head above water as reality warps around her newly awakened psychic abilities.


The film really shines when leaning into the amusing dynamic of Cassie having to wrangle these squabbling teen girls while they’re on the run. Johnson has great banter and comedic chemistry with her younger co-stars, bringing out the script’s best snarky one-liners and improvised humor. There’s an entertaining buddy comedy vibe as this sardonic heroine gripes her way through contending with annoying youths while reality itself seems to be breaking around her.


Director S.J. Clarkson, with experience on Marvel TV shows like “Jessica Jones,” keeps things moving at a snappy pace. The action set pieces deliver some slick web-slinging heroics and inventive visual flair illuminating Cassie’s freaky premonitions with trippy editing trickery.


Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney

Where “Madame Web” gets bogged down is in all the convoluted mythology it tries to set up around shadowy organizations, ancient artifacts, and mystical spider lineages. We get hit with a fire hose of expository world-building details in heavy dialogue chunks that bring the fun to a screeching halt. The villainous Ezekiel Sims feels thinly rendered as your typical sinister billionaire waxing poetically about immortality.


An overloaded finale descends into garish CGI excess as the movie contorts to wrap up all its disparate plot threads in a frankly baffling climax full of twists and reveals that don’t quite land. You can sense the inevitable future franchise set-up being forcefully shoehorned in.


Still, any time “Madame Web” refocuses on Cassie just hilariously trying to survive her insane circumstances, it works. Johnson’s delightfully off-kilter performance as an every girl hero in humorously over her head is the real draw. The movie gets tripped up whenever it pivots away from that entertaining core.


Is it the most cohesive or memorable superhero story? Not quite. But “Madame Web” has just enough flashes of clever humor and enjoyably loopy psychic action to make it a decent enough addition to Sony’s extended Spider-Verse of Marvel properties. As unlikely big-screen heroes go, Cassandra Webb careens onto the scene as a charismatic work-in-progress that highlights Johnson’s star power, even when the surrounding mythology gets too tangled for its own good.


So while this particular franchise extension may not be destined for the upper echelon of the current superhero movie renaissance, Johnson’s delightfully offbeat work as Madame Web still makes it more than worth a look for those in need of a lighter, breezier character-driven adventure.


Madame Web


Release Date: February 14, 2024

Runtime: 1 hour, and 56 minutes

Streaming Service: Cinema

Director: S.J Clarkson

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, Celeste O’Connor, Tahar Rahim, Mike Epps, Emma Roberts, and Adam Scott

TNR Scorecard:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: TNR Content is protected !!









Alerts & Newsletters

© Rhythm Media Group LLC 2022