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Movie Review: Madame Web

Bella Lopez

“Madame Web” is liked by some and hated by most. After receiving a 12% on Rotten Tomatoes as of Feb. 25, I had to see why the Marvel fans and movie critics hated it so much. 

My opinion? I liked most (but not all) of it. 

It is not a breathtaking movie by any means. However, it did entertain me. “Madame Web” stars renowned actors Dakota Johnson, Adam Scott and Emma Roberts, as well as other up-and-coming actors, such as Sydney Sweeney, Isabella Merced and Celeste O’Connor.   The movie follows Cassandra “Cassie” Webb, played by Dakota Johnson, a paramedic working in New York City. While working on a car crash on a bridge, she falls off the edge into the water. Here, she drowns and dies for a moment. Before being brought back to life by her work partner, Ben Parker, she has an out-of-body experience, which is shown with amazing CGI visuals. 

For the days after, Cassie notices that things are repeating themselves, but no one around her notices. On the subway, she gets multiple visions of multiple repeated instances, including a train passing by, her taking her jacket off and most importantly, three teenage girls individually being attacked by a man in a black spider suit. Once Cassie realizes that these visions are predictions of the future and these girls will be attacked, she saves them. 

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Personally, I did not like this way of displaying the visions. I found the repetition of mundane future predictions to be redundant and useless. Wasting screen time on a passing train and various shots of Cassie’s continuously confused face created a dreadfully boring scene.  

The movie moves on to show Cassie working hard to save these three girls, Julia, Mattie and Anya from the man in the spider suit, as he determinately tries to prevent his predicted death that he constantly has visions of. 

I did find the progression of Julia, Mattie and Anya’s relationship to be quite realistic. They begin hating each other, then hate each other less and less until they love each other. In the end, they

love each other like sisters. They all come from broken families, leaving them comforted in each other and Cassie. 

It is eventually revealed to Cassie that her visions have a purpose. That purpose originated from a supposedly “healing” Peruvian spider that her mom spent the final months of her pregnancy looking for, with the purpose of healing unborn Cassie from a life-limiting disease. A man named Ezekial assists Cassie’s mom in her research. When Cassie’s mom finds the spider, Ezekial steals it for his own benefit and kills Cassie’s mom. Cassie’s mom is then saved by Las Arañas, a spider-like tribe in the Peruvian forest. As she is born, her mom is bitten by the spider, spreading its healing abilities to Cassie. Cassie’s mother then passes away peacefully, as the tribe reassures her that Cassie is protected. 

Through all of this, I found the story to be wildly interesting. Some may find it to be predictable, but it is still quite heartwarming and well done. I loved that Cassie was also able to meet her mom using her powers and give her a hug. She can tell her that she saved her, a skillful use of the time travel cliche. 

Ezekial has these powers because of this spider and his visions of prediction stem from it as well. He sees that the three girls will become superheroes and kill him, so he dedicates all his time and money to prevent it, selfishly seeking immortality. 

Of course, as timelines work, his predictions become true in their own way. The girls and Cassie work hard to fight him. In the final scenes, they defeat him and Cassie falls into the water once again. The girls save her using CPR, but she is left paralyzed and blind. This is when she becomes like the comic, Madame Web. 

Doing my post-watching research, I learned that Madame Web’s movie was based loosely on comics, as many movies are.  I also learned that this movie is not an official part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Madame Web” is its own universe, with a new and unofficial origin story for Peter Parker.  

I found this to be a fun take on the comics, bringing a sense of youth to the idea of Madame Web, as well as a feeling of feminism. The movie focuses on the origin of Madame Web’s feminist girl gang of crimefighters. As a feminist myself, this brought me a lot of joy. 

A heartfelt part of the movie I loved was when Cassie was in the hospital after the fight, and the nurse asked if the girls were immediate family. Cassie responds “Yes, they’re all mine.” This brought the movie back together, as it shows how much defeating a common enemy brings people together. After growing up with no mom and no lasting family, Cassie finds security in her girls, who we can predict will work to become the superheroes they are destined to be. 

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