Madame Web (Blu-ray)

Cassandra Webb is a New York metropolis paramedic who begins to demonstrate signs of clairvoyance. Forced to challenge revelations about her past, she needs to safeguard three young women from a deadly adversary who wants them destroyed.

April 29, 2024 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

With the success, or at least the past success, of the superhero movie you can bet that Hollywood is digging deep to find anything and everything they can turn into a movie. Case in point is Madame Web. Even me, a reader of comic books for several years (though not in quite a few) had never heard of this one and it wasn’t until a few minutes into the film that I finally figured out it was a Marvel film. Yes, the “heroes” are becoming so obscure these days, it’s hard to tell if they’re part of a universe or not. Evidently, this one is part of the Spider-Man segment and, by association, is part of Sony’s characters. I had no idea what to expect, but I saw Sydney Sweeney in the film and figured it might be at least worth my time. Was it?

Dakota Johnson plays Cassie Webb, an EMT in New York City who starts seeing visions of the immediate future after a near-death experience. These visions involve three teenage girls: Mattie (Celeste O’Connor), Anya (Isabella Merced) and Julia (Sydney Sweeney). The trio are expected to one day kill Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), someone with spider-like powers. Cassie attempts to rescue the girls and at the same time, manages to figure out how her newfound abilities tie into the bigger picture. It so happens that he was in the Amazon researching, you guessed it, spiders – hence his abilities. There’s a little more to it than that, of course, but I don’t want to take what remnant of a plot left and spoil it.

Madame Web might have been a lot more enjoyable if it were a lot better. Or a lot worse. At least then we could have some fun with it. But, it’s neither. It’s just kind of…there. That’s not to say the film is a total waste of time, the main stars (Johnson and the teen trio) do have fun with their roles and obviously realize that there won’t be any Academy Award nominations from their time here. Much like another Sony superhero title, Morbius, this one seems to be off in some far away place, yet still tied to a universe that might make sense. With multiple universes, dimensions and so forth, there really isn’t a “you can’t do that” moniker tied to any film, but I just couldn’t get into this one. And like some other Sony titles that deal with the MCU, I doubt we’ll be seeing any more of Cassie Webb – or her entourage.

Video: How’s it look?

To be sure, there’s not a lot to complain about when it comes to the way this film looks. Though a 4K version does exist, Sony sent the Blu-ray and I was just fine with that. The 2.39:1 AVC HD encode checks all the boxes and with four lovely leading ladies on screen for the majority of the time, I had very little to complain about. Detail is tack sharp, contrast is strong and the film has a very cinematic (pardon the pun) look and feel to it. Sony’s Blu-ray’s are among the best out there (and they should be as Sony invented the Blu-ray format) and this is certainly no exception. What the film lack in substance, it makes up for it with this presentation.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The included DTS HD Master Audio mix is nothing to balk at either. There are several fight/battle scenes in which the movie makes full use of the soundstage giving us a nice 360 degree effect. Vocals, as expected, are right on the mark as well. I found the majority of the action to be limited to the front stage, but surrounds come into play – notably during the final act. It’s a better-sounding track than I envisioned.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Gag Reel – Five minutes of giggling and outtakes. Can you handle it?
  • Easter Eggs – Director S.J. Clarkson narrates this 4 minute segment in which we see some other spider-related things.
  • Oracle Of The Page – This five minute feature gives us the main players in the movie as well as the adaptation from the comic books, their various powers and so forth.
  • Fight Like A Spider – Composed of the same group from the above segment, we get this segment that focuses on the stunts as well as the choreography of the fight scenes.
  • Future Vision – We get word from the production team about the genesis of the project, what it took to get it to the screen and so forth. It plays out like a glorified trailer…minus the suspense.
  • Casting The Web – Essentially that. We get some sound bytes from the main stars as the laud praise upon one another and so on. Yawn.
  • Deleted Scene – “You Died” is a 30’ish second scene that explains a bit more, but not much else. I don’t see why they couldn’t have included this in the movie.

The Bottom Line

With so many talented writers out there, I find it hard to believe how films like this get made. Perhaps had it not been a “Marvel” movie, it wouldn’t have. Oddly something I neglected to mention in my review, the film takes place in 2003 – a time when the superhero movie was in its infancy. Not that it matters, but I figured it was worth mentioning. Sony’s disc has a fair smattering of extras, though they (like the film) lack much substance. But it does look and sound good, so you’ve got that.

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