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What an earth has happened to super-hero movies recently?

Aquaman 2, Shazam 2, The Marvels, Blue Beetle, The Flash, Black Adam, Morbius, and now Madame Web – all supremely stereotypical – where has the quality-control gone?

This isn’t the worst film you’ll see all year – but it will come pretty close to it.

Headlined by Fifty Shades actress Dakota Johnson with the most wooden and uninspiring acting you’ll ever see. And it’s really bad. Not necessarily completely her fault with the dialogue, but so badly miscast it’s laughable.

And even she is still soundly beaten to the ‘Madame Web Worst Acting Award’ by Tahar Rahim’s generic villain Ezekiel Sims. This guy is ludicrously terrible.

Representing Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU), this offers some ‘fanboy’ service as part of the greater Spidey pantheon, by introducing Cassie Webb/Madame Web in a Professor X-esque role as she babysits three future Spider-Women – Julia (Sydney Sweeney), Anya (Isabela Merced) and Mattie (Celeste O’Connor) – who are being hunted by Sims.

The reason? He sees the faces of the three girls in his dreams, and wants to kill them before they fully utilise their powers in a ‘Minority Report’ fashion.

He’s also got links to Webb’s Mum, who he murdered in an Amazon rainforest in 1973 – while she was pregnant with Cassie – to steal a new form of powerful spider which gives him enhanced strength and abilities. Basically, turning him into an Evil Spider-Man.

Fast forward thirty years to 2003, and paramedic Webb discovers she has new ‘Spider-sense’ powers, and develops psychic capabilities which allows her to see threatening forthcoming events.

And when she sees the psychopathic Sims attack the three aforementioned teenagers in the very near future, she comes to their aid as a reluctant hero/mother figure. If a very poorly-acted one. Almost trying to be a Jessica Jones-type character, but embarrassingly not in the same league as the Netflix TV series icon.

A bit like with Morbius, there’s one or two action passable scenes thrown in – and there’s a few nice tidbits attached to Spidey lore – but this is undoubtedly a missed opportunity to really add important layers to the SSU web.

Let’s hope Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kraven the Hunter can save the universe (backed up by Venom), or much like with DC – after this and the Morbius disasters – it could be back to the ‘drawing board’ for Sony.

Because the only thing Johnson’s Madame Web should stick to – is the Red Room.


ESP Rating: 2/5


Gavin Miller

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

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

Running Time: 1 Hr 56 Mins

Director: SJ Clarkson


Go to for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux



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