Film reviewed by Cliff Homewood

The reviews are in:

“In its sheer mind-boggling awfulness, it represents the death of the superhero genre, the burning of the superhero genre to the ground and then the returning in the middle of the night to piss on the superhero genre’s ashes.” Kevin Maher, The Times.

“The ‘Cats‘ of superhero movies,” David Fear, Rolling Stone, “come back Morbius all is forgiven.”

“Cassie can either yell at people to move out of the way or hit them with a car. She spends the film switching between both options.” Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

“It’s a travesty, a disaster, a blight on the history of superheroes and cinema itself, I enjoyed the hell out of it.” Sam Adams, Slate

I have a history of enjoying supposedly bad films, I enjoyed Jupiter Ascending and John Carter (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, not so much).  If you tell me a film’s bad, I go in expecting it and enjoy the good. If you tell me a film is amazing however, I find myself disappointed by the bad, Black Panther’s snow break for instance.

The movie started and I found myself enjoying it, the cinematography’s good and it’s nice to have an ambulance driver as the hero for a change.  Her job automatically putting her in dramatic situations, and I found the blood covered hand scene at the beginning powerful.  I waited for the film to get bad. It never did. Yes, it has problems, coincidence was rife, just put it down to synchronicity, she didn’t seem to suffer from real life consequences for her actions. For example: She steals an ambulance at one point in her quest to save lives. What about the lives of those the ambulance was there to save? So a script of convenience, things happen in a predictable way like the hero will turn up in the nick if time. It’s what Tarantino calls a movie movie. But I’ve seen plenty of those that people have dug so what’s wrong with this one? I hope it’s not because it’s a mainly female cast. The fact it deals with time travel (or precognition) means I’m a sucker for it and forgive the fact there is a paradox, what’s a time travel movie without one?

I found myself emotionally involved with this film, moving me with moments of elation at the bravura way our hero would turn up. ‘Yes!’ Far better than the super trash we’ve had recently like Aquaman 2, Shazam! 2 and Ant-man 3.

Madame Web is similar to Nicholas Cage’s Next in her use of precognition, a film people prefer to forget (I quite enjoyed it).

Madame Web is based on a storyline by J Michael Straczynski (Creator of Babylon-5 which seemed to inspire Star Trek: Deep Space 9*). He’s not credited because the comic corporations use work for hire contracts where they retain all rights. It’s the price of writing for Spider-Man (Madame Web isn’t even in the story). Would it have been nice if they had anyway? His luck continues as the forthcoming Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire also rips off his work without credit. Maybe one day we will live in a universe where Michael j Straczynski is credited, not because they have to legally, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Dakota has pointed out this is not the script she signed on to, which was like a dark Terminator trying to kill Mary Parker to prevent the birth of Peter Parker. That would have been cool. The film retains the rescue mission premise but can see why the story might have been tweaked to be less of a Terminator rip off. Some have complained Madame Web is not relatable as a character. She has a social awkwardness which makes her relatable, she’s not cookie cutter and good for diversity.  I feel sorry for those who can’t relate to issues not their own.  Complaints also include bad dialogue. It’s not written by Shakespeare and does reference Spidey’s famous responsibility speech twice, but I had no problem with it. Others have complained that in the comics Madame Web is an old blind lady missing the fact this is an origin story set in the past (with plenty of lucrative advertising, fancy a Pepsi anyone?) In the present she is an old old lady of 50!  It is a shame to sit through Spider-Man films without Spider-Man due to rights, it just feels like Sony is asset-mining the Spider-man IP.

An industry insider stated, “On Wednesday night, you could actually watch advance purchase sales declining in real time as buyers were refunding their tickets. It really says something when you’d rather have Shazam! 2 numbers.” It despairs me that we line in a world where Fast & Furious movies do big box office, but female led superhero movies do not. Are cars more important than women? Whilst no Spider-man it’s no Morbius either. That film sucked the life out of you.

*The story goes Babylon-5 was offered to Paramount who sat on it then rejected it then lo and behold a similar Star Trek series appears. JMS sued but later met the DS9 guys and said they were innocent, it was probably some executive guidance.

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