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‘Madame Web’ is unapologetically bad, forgettable

Madame+Web+is+unapologetically+bad%2C+forgettable
Collegian | Dylan Tusinski

“Madame Web” has masterfully spun a tangled mess of superhero Hollywood garbage that is void of all cinematic feeling and emotion.

“Madame Web” was released Feb. 14 to much critical disdain from film reviewers and the audience, receiving an astounding 12% on the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Madame Web follows Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson), a New York City paramedic who meets a ragtag group of teenagers: Julia Carpenter (Sydney Sweeney), Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced) and Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor). After discovering that the antagonist of the film, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), is attempting to murder them, they do everything in their power to prevent it.

“The overall plot is about as hollow as it could be. Watching the film’s trailer serves the exact same purpose in understanding the plot as going and watching the film.” 

That sums up the movie, really. Who knew the base premise of the film would spoil the entire movie because that’s all there is to it?

The movie has a run time of 1 hour and 54 minutes and cost $80 million to make, all of which was used to create one of the most lifeless and unenjoyable superhero movies to date.

The overall plot is about as hollow as it could be. Watching the film’s trailer serves the exact same purpose in understanding the plot as going and watching the film.

The opening 15 minutes feel out of place from anything the movie portrays later on and only serve as a minor plot point toward the end.

Johnson’s performance has as much depth as a kiddie pool. Her lines have such a monotone delivery that you would think she was being held against her will to perform in the movie. There were plenty of instances in the movie when Johnson delivered a line so poorly it was almost laughable.

In addition, the writing is flat-out bad. There are no instances in the film when the writing shines through, and it leaves the audience either cringing at a scene that’s supposed to be a tender moment between characters or rolling their eyes over a predictable plot point anyone could see a mile away.

One of my biggest gripes about the movie is we are shown that Cassandra is empathic and sincerely enjoys her profession as a paramedic and helping people in need, but when it comes to saving the lives of three teenagers from the aforementioned antagonist, she could not be more reluctant to help, which makes zero sense.

Another aspect of Cassandra’s character that is frustrating is the consistent reiteration of her superpower: being able to see into the future. After the third or fourth time, it is so frustrating to watch, it’s almost unbearable.

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There’s a scene in the movie wherein Cassandra looks into the future, sensing an imminent threat, and she then becomes confused and scared about these visions. The scene takes five minutes to show and serves as an enlightening moment for the character. The worst part is the movie played many scenes similar to this beforehand, which bores the audience because it’s so recycled.

The antagonist, Ezekiel, is a lifeless character. His motivations are muddled and obscured by a traditional bad-guy plot; his whole reasoning behind the events of the film is to get to the teenagers before they can get to him. That’s it. There is no further character development behind Ezekiel.

What does Ezekiel do for a living? Why is he so adamant about reaching the teenagers as quickly as possible when it’s not required? Why should the audience care about literally anything he does? A poorly written teenage fanfiction would have more character and depth than Sony’s Ezekiel.

The film has the classic premise of a superhero’s journey. However, there is nothing unique or present to diversify the plot. It’s just taking the formula, putting basic characters into it and sprinkling poor pacing to result in a headache.

This contributes to another frustrating aspect of this film: how utterly predictable it is. It wouldn’t take a genius to guess what is about to occur in the film minutes away.

The cinematography and editing are immensely horrendous as well in this film. The many unnecessary jump-cuts and quick transitions into spinning camera angles and quick zoom-ins leave the audience feeling overwhelmed and left with a strong sense of motion sickness.

There are no redeemable aspects to “Madame Web.” It’s not so bad that it’s good, like many people have said about Sony’s previous Spider-Man spinoff “Morbius,” which was released back in 2022. It’s just flat-out forgettable, bad and unenjoyable to watch.

Save the money and sanity by not watching “Madame Web.” It’s a tortuous experience. In fact, create a metaphorical restraining order for this film, and keep at least a mile between you and this steaming hot Hollywood cash grab garbage.

Reach Christian Arndt at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributor
Christian Arndt
Christian Arndt, Life & Culture Editor
Christian Arndt is this year's editor for the life and culture desk at The Collegian. Arndt joined The Collegian in the winter of 2023, when he started as an arts and entertainment writer, primarily focusing on movie reviews, local art installations and music-curated lists. Arndt is the second life and culture editor and is proud to step into this position. He is focusing on providing the best local coverage in the Fort Collins area with a focus on unique business profiles, important cultural events and fun local happenings. Arndt comes from Silverthorne, Colorado, and came to Colorado State University in the fall of 2021. He is a third-year and is majoring in journalism and media communication with a minor in English. He found his passion for writing during his English classes in high school, and eventually with the style he chose to pursue, he ended up finding a passion within journalism. Because he had no prior experience with journalism, he was adamant to join The Collegian and build up his experience and reputation there. Aside from writing for the paper, you can find him at the cinema, watching basketball, playing video games with friends, walking his adorable dog Penny Lane, snowboarding and listening to plenty of music. Arndt finds his role as an editor thrilling and looks forward to providing the utmost care and consistency with the content that comes out for the life and culture desk.

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