6 Creative Decisions Which DOOMED Sony Pictures’ Latest Marvel Movie

Madame Web arrived in theaters this week to dismal reviews and an overwhelmingly negative response from fans. We weren’t expecting much from the movie, but the fact it’s as bad as Morbius really doesn’t bode well for the upcoming Venom 3 and Kraven the Hunter

While it feels like some critics have perhaps been a little too harsh, Madame Web is undoubtedly a misfire. It has some redeeming qualities – Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, and Isabela Merced shine and there are some solid action scenes – but the biggest issues are undoubtedly with the story. 

In this feature, we’re taking a closer look at where it all went wrong for Sony Pictures’ latest Marvel movie. Ultimately, these creative decisions doomed a project which could have been an exciting new start for this live-action Spider-Verse.

Read through our Madame Web breakdown by clicking on the “Next”https://comicbookmovie.com/”View List” buttons below. 
 

6. The 2003 Setting

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There’s zero need for Madame Web to be set in 2003. It adds nothing to the story – yes, Ezekiel makes use of the then-new NSA tech but could have traded that for social media had the story played out in 2024 – and only seems borderline relevant for a somewhat memorable sequence featuring Britney Spears’ “Toxic.”

A Peter Parker Variant is born in the movie, meaning he’d now be 21. However, there’s nothing to suggest he has a future as Spider-Man and the timeline for that doesn’t line up with either the MCU or Sony’s other Marvel adaptations. 

Madame Web should have ditched the period setting and stuck to the present day. Why? Well, if either the title character or any of the Spider-Women appear in a future project, they’ll have to be aged up by a good two decades or more, a baffling move which confirms Sony didn’t consider the implications of heading to 2003. 
 

5. Ezekiel’s (Lack Of) Motivations

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Ezekiel’s basic motivations in this movie aren’t exactly complicated. He has a premonition of three costumed spider-heroes killing him so sets out – thanks to a seemingly photographic memory – to track them down and murder them before they can take him out.

However, it’s when you look beyond the surface that it all begins to fall apart. Madame Web begins with him killing Cassie Webb’s mother and stealing the mystical spider she hopes can cure her unborn daughter of myasthenia gravis. 

We never learn why Ezekiel wants the spider or what he does when he gains superpowers (which include a poison touch). He’s clearly wealthy, but the movie never explains what happened next, how those powers changed his life, or why he has a costume. As a result, the big bad is paper thin and underwhelming. 
 

4. Madame Web’s Origin Story

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Madame Web chooses to de-age Cassandra “Cassie” Webb and, in fairness, that’s not the worst decision in the world. We can’t help but think a better version of this movie would have seen an older Cassie guiding the Spider-Women from afar…still, it is what it is. 

Unfortunately, by teasing us with Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl, and Araña, this story inadvertently makes Madame Web’s origin story a chore to sit through. It takes an age for the paramedic’s powers to kick in and, when they do, we have to watch her struggle to figure them out (that’s solved by a laughable trip to the Amazon).

In the final act, Cassie can suddenly project herself to different places Doctor Strange-style, prompting the movie to solve the decision to cure her of myasthenia gravis by blinding the hero and leaving her wheelchair-bound, anyway. Now, she can project her consciousness from afar, fighting crime like a semi-solid ghost.

This whole origin story is silly, convoluted, and wholly unnecessary. Very much like the movie itself, in fact.
 

3. Mishandling Of Costumes And Superpowers

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That first trailer might have generated countless memes, but c’mon, the prospect of Madame Web guiding a group of Spider-Women in battle against Ezekiel at least had some potential (on paper, maybe, as the movie itself never looked very good). 

Sony had the chance to deliver a bona fide female-led superhero movie here. Instead, we get perhaps two minutes of those eye-catching costumes in a choppily edited flash-forward and then for all of 10 seconds at the end of the movie when Cassie teases them eventually getting powers. Someday. Maybe. 

Rather than wasting time in the Amazon or with a pointless Ben Parker cameo, Madame Web should have powered up its three younger leads and got to the point quicker. And don’t get us started on how dumb it is that Cassie has gone from clairvoyant to Doctor Strange-lite. 
 

2. Ties To Spider-Man

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Madame Web should have either directly tied into a past Spider-Man story or perhaps even a new one. After all, given the nature of the Multiverse, why can’t Sony’s Marvel Universe get its own Peter Parker? Well, beyond the fact Sony would f*** him up, of course.

Instead, as noted, the decision is made to introduce Ben Parker and his sister-in-law, Mary. The former works with Cassie and the latter is pregnant and ends up giving birth during the final act…to a baby who isn’t even named. Adam Scott is fine and Emma Roberts clearly doesn’t want to be there. 

We’re not going to blame her for that, but of all the Spider-Man nods to include…why this? Assuming the baby Peter grows up to be Spider-Man, he’ll base his costume off the deranged Ezekiel and be, what, the successor to three Spider-Women who are a good decade-and-a-half his senior?

It’s like the script was written by someone with half a brain and access to an A.I. generator. 
 

1. A “Standalone” Story

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We’ve alluded to this a couple of times but the decision to make Madame Web a “standalone” story is nothing short of baffling. Sony has reminded us on countless occasions that it has access to countless Spider-Man-adjacent characters; despite that, the studio is incapable of building a world around them. 

The one time they’ve tried, it led to Morbius‘ infuriatingly stupid post-credits scene which saw The Vulture attempt to recruit the Living Vampire to a heroic version of the Sinister Six. That aside, it still makes no sense to have not linked this movie up to the studio’s other live-action Marvel franchises. 

We’re not exactly expecting the MCU 2.0 from Sony. However, if Peter Parker is off-limits to them because of that deal with Marvel Studios, why not establish Spider-Woman to battle Venom or Kraven the Hunter? Apparently, that’s just too complicated for a studio with, appropriately, a 2003 mindset to superhero movies.