Madame Web

In the 1970s, in the Peruvian Amazon forest, scientist Constance Webb searches for a legendary spider. As soon as she finds it, however, she is betrayed by Ezekiel Sims, who shoots her and steals the spider for himself. Constance cannot be saved even by the Arañas, a tribe endowed with mystical spider powers, who however will give birth to her daughter Cassandra. Thirty years later, in New York, Cassandra is an affectionless paramedic whose life is turned upside down when, following an accident, she develops the power to see into the future. She will thus find herself protecting three girls from Ezekiel, who in her dreams sees himself killed by a trio of future superheroines and tries by all means to eliminate them while they are still young and without powers.

An unfortunate attempt to exploit some minor characters from the world of Spider-Man, Madame Web wastes the charm of her protagonists in a story without spectacle, without passion and without tension.

Ridiculed since the trailer for its didactic dialogues, Madame Web leaves one astonished: how is it possible that no one in a major label had the good sense to reject the project starting from the absolutely mediocre screenplay? The reason is probably in the box office successes of the character of Venom, who certainly doesn’t boast better scripts or subjects, but Sony doesn’t seem to have understood that it’s one thing to bet on a protagonist well known and loved by the public and another to bet on unknown figures, who even in comics have always had short legs.

If Morbius at least had a long comic story and the eternal charm of the vampire myth (which in any case were not enough to save the film), the protagonists of Madame Web are truly the latest arrivals in the spider-verse. Illusioning oneself that the celebrity among young people of some actresses was enough to make them a Barbie-style manifesto of girl power was a huge mistake, and one that was also very predictable after the announced flop of The Marvels – which in any case boasted characters of a much different appeal.

Dakota Johnson tries to put the right disenchantment into it, so as not to be reduced to yet another reluctant superheroine but too many things don’t stand up: from the ease with which the girls are convinced that Cassandra Webb is saving them, to the dynamics between the three teenagers, up to various passages in which the screenplay tries to sweep under the carpet the obstacles it had raised shortly before. In fact, if Cassandra becomes a wanted man, to force her not to dump the three girls, and if the thing even gets widely reported in the newspapers so much so that a man reports the girls on the phone, then Cassandra deciding to go to the airport and leave for Peru cannot pass for something that escapes both the police and the villain. Even more absurd, in a superhero film, is the way in which the protagonist drives around for half a film in a stolen taxi without caring in the slightest to make up for the theft committed against a totally innocent person.

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