MADAME WEB

MADAME WEB

(director/writer: S.J. Clarkson; screenwriters: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Claire Parker/story by Sazama, Sharpless & Kerem Sanga; cinematographer: Mauro Fiore; editor: Leigh Folsom Boyd; music: Johan Soderqvist; cast: Dakota Johnson (Cassandra Webb), Sydney Sweeney (Julia Cornwall), Celeste O’Connor (Mattie Franklin), Isabela Merced (Anya Corazon), Tahar Rahim (Ezekiel Sims), Mike Epps (O”Neil), Emma Roberts (Mary Parker), Adam Scott (Ben Parker), Zosia Mamet (Amaria); Runtime: 116; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Lorenzo di Bonavetura; Columbia Pictures/A Sony release; 2024)

“Dreadful clairvoyant superhero movie that has trouble getting off the ground.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The female British filmmaker S.J. Clarkson (“Toast”/”Banshee”), with a number of TV credits, directs this dreadful clairvoyant superhero movie that has trouble getting off the ground. Clarkson co-writes it with scriptwriters Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, and Claire Parker. They base it on the story by Sazama, Sharpless & Kerem Sanga.

It’s a Spider-Man spin-off that tells the absurd enigmatic Marvel publishing’s standalone origin story of its superhero heroine, who first appeared in the comics in the 1980s as a secondary character. The role is played by Dakota Johnson as an aloof heroine, seemingly not concerned her dialogue would be a joke if it was funny or that her talent is wasted in such an empty role.

In 2003, Cassie Webb (Dakota Johnson) is a NYC paramedic who has a near-death experience and a sad back story. One day she attains the mental superpower to see into the future and change it. Her first use of these powers is to save three teenagers–Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney), Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced) and Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor)–from being targeted by the dangerous madman Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), who possesses spider-like powers. We learn he was in the Amazon with her pregnant mom who was researching spiders before she died. Through his powers, which tie in with Cassie’s, Sims had a strong feeling his powers would one day lead to his death.

Everything seems amiss in this dud, from the bland story, the poor editing and directing, and that an action pic could possibly have so little action.

If I could show off my limited clairvoyant abilities, even I could predict this stinker will flop at the box-office and with the critics.

REVIEWED ON 2/19/2024  GRADE: C