Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

MADAME WEB is somehow both not as awful as you’ve heard, and just as bad as you’re probably expecting.  

WEB stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who discovers she has the ability to see the future after a near-death experience. After Cassandra sees three teenage girls being hunted and killed by a mysterious villain, she decides to do everything in her power to save them – and discovers how the impending event is tied to her shadowy past (Something-something spiders with magical venom in the Amazon giving people superpowers). 

Hey wouldn’t it be amazing if Disney could figure out what to do with its women-led superhero films? Sure, sure – sometimes they get it right: I’m a big fan of CAPTAIN MARVEL, plus I actually found THE MARVELS entertaining, greatly enjoyed the BLACK WIDOW movie, and I love the series they’ve done on Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Hawkeye/Kate Bishop, and The Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff. 

But … where’s my standalone film about Valkyrie? Why did the women superheroes fighting in ENDGAME get less than 5 minutes of screen time? And HOW IN THE HELL did Thanos defeat Carol Danvers? NO I MEAN SERIOUSLY I AM STILL BITTER ABOUT THIS. 

My point is that MADAME WEB falls squarely in the “do better” camp of films about Marvel’s women. The story is a mess, the dialog is – well, at least it’s TikTok meme worthy – there are more bass drops in each action scene then there in a FAST & FURIOUS movie, and I was left deeply disappointed that we only get to see the trio of Spider-Women: Anya Corazón (Isabela Merced), Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor), and Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney) as their powerful, superhero selves in future “visions,” again, amounting to around 5 minutes of total screen time. 

Also why do I feel like I know more about the male villain, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), than I do about literally anyone else in this film, including the main character? 

This is no shade to S.J. or anyone in the cast. I truly think Johnson, Rahim, Merced, O’Connor, and Sweeney did the best they could with everything they had. I didn’t even mind the very unnecessary (and somewhat cheesy) appearances of Ben (Adam Scott) and Mary Parker (Emma Roberts) – they did just fine. Was Zosia Mamet totally wasted in this film? Yes. And Yes. 

Of course I’ll never know for sure, but based on the reshoots to realign the timeline from 1993 to 2003 in order for it to be a prequel to the Tom Holland Spiderverse instead of the Andrew Garfield Spiderverse (which makes for some confusing soundtrack choices), plus the fact that Dakota Johnson dropped hints about the end result being ‘drastically different’ then what she signed up for in interviews – this totally feels like studio execs panicking about a female-led film, directed by a women (S.J. Clarkson), not killing it at the box office and jamming some “new ideas” in there, ruining everything. 

All the extensive behind-the-scenes content on this release backs up my theory: the women trained for two months for those superhero scenes, and the film that the director and everyone in the cast who was interviewed describes seems vastly different from what we see on screen. I’m sure we won’t get a sequel to this, but if we do – can we just let it get made and released without all this insane down to the wire interference? 

I just want young girls to be able to see themselves on screen doing kick-ass stuff. That’s all. 

Digital and Disc Extras: 

  • Gag Reel 
  • Easter Eggs
  • Oracle Of The Page
  • Fight Like A Spider
  • Future Vision
  • Casting The Web
  • Deleted Scene