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Santaluces High School

The Tribe

Santaluces High School

The Tribe

Marvelously Mediocre: Madame Web Review

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Cole Montag
Display of Madame Web’s poster

Apart from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s Spider-Verse films, Sony has been trying to create a cinematic universe for a new Spider-Man over the past few years, but with the release of Madame Web on February 14th, I’m not sure they are trying anymore. While it isn’t a “genuine Chernobyl-level disaster” like the Rolling Stones claim it is, there is not a lot to enjoy about this film.

The film starts in the Peruvian jungle in ’73, with the pregnant Constance Webb and her guard Ezekiel looking for a spider rumored to have healing properties. Once Constance finds the spider, Ezekiel kills everyone around them and nearly kills her before taking the spider for himself. A local tribe known as “Las Arañas” rescues her, and allows a spider to bite Constance, saving her daughter Cassandra while she passes during birth. We cut to NYC in 2003, where an older Cassandra, “Cassie” Webb works as an EMT with Benjamin Parker (yes, a young Uncle Ben). On a call, she drowns but is revived by Ben soon after. After she wakes up from a strange and, quite frankly, useless sequence in her death, she starts to notice a “déjà vu,” which is eventually realized to be her seeing the future after failing to save her boss O’Neil.

We eventually learn Ezekiel Sims has been having visions of his death because of 3 Spider-Women, and kills an NSA agent, stealing her technology to try and locate them before they gain powers and kill him. He eventually identifies 3 teenage girls, Julia Cornwall, Anya Cortez, and Mattie Frankin, as what he sees in the vision because… he made a crystal clear photo of his vision and digitally de-aged them to find a match in New York’s camera systems… you read that right. Cassie ends up boarding a subway with the three girls before having a vision of an unknown man (Ezekiel) killing the three brutally in a costume that looks similar to a Spider-Man suit. She saves the three before he comes, but he leaves the subway, crawling on the ceiling, and killing some people in the station before the four women steal a cab and drive into the middle of the woods (also in New Jersey apparently).

That’s practically most of the movie too, Cassie saves the three teenagers a few more times before leaving to discover what happened to her and her mom in Peru. She learns that she has great potential with her powers before getting a butchered “With great power comes great responsibility” speech from one of the Arañas who saved her. She comes home, saves the girls some more, and they help her in a drawn-out “fight” with Ezekiel. He eventually ends up crushed by debris, and Cassie drowns again before the girls CPR her back to life, although she is now blind and disabled. The movie ends with the, now older, girls visiting her before they cut to a shot of the three in Spider-Women outfits alongside a projection of Cassie.

If you thought the summary was a little difficult to understand, with some pieces of plot missing, that is just the movie. Ezekiel, while having some fun action scenes, is not a good character by any stretch of the imagination. He doesn’t have a clear anything in the film, from whatever he did during the 30 years after he stole the spider, to any motivation he has other than preventing his eventual death. After stealing the spider, he somehow just has a bunch of money, and now does anything a Spider can except make webs. I thought I missed something during the film, so I looked it up, and he is just that underbaked.

He isn’t the only issue with the film either, the dialogue was just not great. “When you take on the responsibility, great power will come” is an actual line spoken in the film, along with “You won’t like me when I’m hangry,” “You know what the best thing about the future is? It hasn’t happened yet,” and “They’re teenagers now but in the future…”

Additionally, the CGI is not great, the cinematography is bad, most of the acting is subpar, and there are a lot of times in the film bordering on the line between superhero silliness and legitimate plot holes. The worst part about the movie though, is how little anyone wants to do with it. Nearly all of the cast have explained their distaste for the film long before it came out just to cushion the blow they knew was coming.

Overall, while there are a few enjoyable parts of the movie, and I didn’t actively hate it, it’s another mediocre entry in Sony’s failing repertoire of Spider-Man spinoffs that shouldn’t be rewarded with your time or your money. Unfortunately, there are at least 3 movies we know of that are in development, including Kraven the Hunter releasing August 30th, Venom 3 set to release November 8th, and El Muerto which may or may not be dead after Bad Bunny left production. I, along with other fans of Spider-Man, hope that after Lord and Miller stop adding to Miles’ story, possibly after Beyond the Spider-Verse, Sony either improves for the better or hands the rights to more competent filmmakers.

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About the Contributor
Cole Montag, Staff Writer
Hello there, friendly neighborhood pixel artist Cole Montag reporting to you! This year is a lot of firsts for me, especially for the school and the Tribe but I'm glad to be here nonetheless. Most of the time, you'll see me making art, gaming, and helping run the Chiefs ESports team (probably dealing with homework too, but I don't care for that). I'll usually write on pop culture and media so stay tuned for movie or game reviews. I've got nothing left to say, so if you want to see more from me, check out my articles or my pixel art on Instagram!

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