Critics Tear ‘Madame Web’ Apart: “An Embarrassing Mess”

in Entertainment, Marvel

Madame Web Rotten Tomatoes score

Edited by ITM

The latest joint venture between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures has officially arrived in theaters, and so far, things are looking pretty bleak for the Spider-Man spinoff.

The cast of 'Madame Web' gearing up to fight
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: Iconic Spider-Man Characters Revived in ‘Madame Web’

Madame Web (2024), for better or worse, has finally swung into theaters to little pomp and circumstance. Following a frankly bizarre press tour in which its star, Dakota Johnson, described her experience shooting the film as “absolutely psychotic,” among other things, the superhero flick is now earning scathing reviews from critics.

Directed by S.J. Clarkson, the movie stars Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a Manhattan EMT who develops clairvoyant abilities that allow her to see into the future. When a dangerous new threat arises in the form of Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), it’s up to her to save the lives of three super-powered young women, played by Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, and Celeste O’Connor.

Check out the trailer for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Madame Web below:

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Ahead of its widespread Valentine’s Day release, Madame Web currently sits at a measly 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 48 reviews), making it the next in a long string of Marvel and Sony collaborations to miss the mark with audiences.

While it’s almost a sure bet that the general public will be slightly easier on the movie, this still promises trouble ahead for Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU), which has undoubtedly struggled with its adaptations of comic book stories like Venom (2018) and Morbius (2022).

Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O'Connor, and Isabela Merced in a Chinese poster for Madame Web
Credit: Sony Pictures

And critics didn’t hold back with their scathing reviews of Madame Web online. The Hollywood Reporter called it an “airless and stilted endeavor,” writing that “its lack of imagination would be astounding if it wasn’t so expected.” Not exactly high praise!

Meanwhile, Variety dubbed the web-slinging SSU entry a “hollow Sony-made Spider-Man spinoff with none of the charm you expect from even the most basic superhero movie,” adding, “The script is confusing, the action stale and the visual effects cheap.”

Sydney Sweeney as Julia Carpenter in 'Madame Web'
Credit: Sony Pictures

Rolling Stone was perhaps the harshest with their assessment, writing, “Madame Web isn’t as bad as its somewhat botched promotional campaign might suggest. It is, in fact, way worse. A genuine Chernobyl-level disaster that seems to get exponentially more radioactive as it goes along, this detour to one of the dustier corners of Marvel’s content farm is a dead-end from start to finish. It is the CatsThe Movie of superhero movies.”

On social media, critics were even more vicious, with creator Matt Ramos taking to X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) to compare it to another infamous SSU flop: Morbius. And believe it or not, Jared Leto’s vampirish twist on “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” actually reined superior in his eyes.

morbius was better

YouTuber Cris Parker also had some less-than-favorable things to say about Madame Web, deeming it an “embarrassing mess” despite its “talented stars,” taking particular aim at its story structure, “awkward” editing, and clunky dialogue:

#MadameWeb is an embarrassing mess. Talented stars wasted on probably the worst comic book movie I have ever seen. Filled with atrocious dialogue, awkward editing, & all around laughable structure. I sat there baffled scene by scene someone approved this. The memes will redeem it

So, will the memes really be enough to save Madame Web and the rest of the SSU from certain doom? Well, it’s hard to say, but with Tom Hardy’s Venom 3 (2024), Tom Holland’s yet-unconfirmed Spider-Man 4 (TBA), and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kraven the Hunter (2024) on the not-so-distant horizon, Sony could lose massive amounts of money — and respect, at that — if their upcoming films fail to make back their multi-million dollar production budgets.

Given that Madame Web was never expected to fare exceptionally well at the box office, it’s not exactly surprising that it’s not off to a good start — with critics, at least. Sony’s reputation is already floundering, meaning one can only hope that Venom 3, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse (TBA), and other upcoming SSU entries will be enough to save it.

But who knows? Maybe Madame Web will have a surprising comeback when it releases in theaters tomorrow, February 14, 2024.

Do you have high hopes for Madame Web? Let us know in the comments below!

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