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6 Creative Decisions That Doomed Sony Pictures' Latest Marvel Movie

by Stewart Cole

Madame Web hit theaters this week to disappointing reviews and an overwhelmingly negative response from fans. We didn't expect much from the movie, but the fact that it's so bad Morbius it really doesn't bode well for the future Poison 3 and Kraven the Hunter.

While it seems that some critics were perhaps few very severe, Madame Web it is undoubtedly a failure. It has some redeeming qualities – Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O'Connor and Isabela Merced shine and there are some solid action scenes – but the biggest problems are undoubtedly with the story.

In this feature, we take a closer look at where it all went wrong for Sony Pictures' latest Marvel movie. Ultimately, these creative decisions doomed a project that could have been an exciting new beginning for this living Spider-Verse.

Read ours Madame Web analysis by clicking the “Next”https://comicbookmovie.com/”View List” buttons below.

6. The 2003 Setting

There is no need Madame Web set in 2003. It adds nothing to the story – yes, Ezekiel makes use of the then-new NSA technology, but he could trade it for social media if the story was set in 2024 – and it only seems marginal for a somewhat unforgettable sequence with “Toxic” by Britney Spears.

A variant of Peter Parker is born in the film, meaning he would now be 21. However, there's nothing to suggest he has a future as Spider-Man, and the timeline for that doesn't fit with either the MCU or Sony's other Marvel adjustments.

Madame Web he should have lost the period setting and stuck to today. Why; Well, if either the title character or any of the Spider-Women appear in a future project, they'll have to have grown up two or more decades, a confusing move that confirms Sony didn't consider the implications of the title until 2003 .

5. Ezekiel's Motives (Lack).


Ezekiel's basic motivations in this movie aren't too complicated. He has a premonition that three costumed spider-heroes are out to kill him, so he sets out – thanks to an apparently photographic memory – to track them down and kill them before they can take him out.

However, when you look beyond the surface, it all starts to fall apart. Madame Web begins by 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 gets superpowers (which include a poisonous touch). He's clearly rich, but the movie never explains what happened next, how those powers changed his life, or why he's in a suit. As a result, the big bad is paper thin and weak.

4. Madame Web's origin story


Madame Web chooses to wake up Cassandra “Cassie” Webb, and to be fair, that's not the worst decision in the world. We can't help but think that 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. It takes an age for the paramedic's powers to kick in, and when they do, we have to watch her struggle to understand them (this is resolved with a ridiculous trip to the Amazon).

In the final act, Cassie can suddenly be seen in different places Doctor Strange-style, forcing the film to resolve the decision to cure her of myasthenia gravis, blinding the hero and leaving her wheelchair-bound anyway. Now, she can project her consciousness from afar, fighting crime as a semi-solid ghost.

This whole origin story is silly, convoluted and completely unnecessary. In fact, it looks a lot like the movie itself.

3. Mishandling of costumes and superpowers


That first trailer may have spawned countless memes, but hey, the prospect of Madame Web leading a team of Spider-Women into battle against Ezekiel at least had some potential (on paper, perhaps, as the movie itself never looked like much good).

Sony had a chance to deliver a good female superhero movie here. Instead, we get maybe two minutes of these impressive suits in a shakily edited flash-forward, and then all of 10 seconds at the end of the movie when Cassie teases them about finally getting powers. Someday. It can.

Instead of wasting time on the Amazon or a pointless Ben Parker cameo, Madame Web she should have strengthened her 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


Madame Web should have either been directly connected to a previous Spider-Man story or maybe 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, apart from the fact that Sony would break him, 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 in the final act… a baby that 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 is that? Assuming baby Peter becomes Spider-Man, gets his costume based on the deranged Ezekiel, and becomes, what, the successor to three Spider-Women who are a decade and a half older than him?

It's like the script was written by someone with half a brain and access to an AI generator.

1. A “Standalone” story


We have mentioned it a few times but the decision to make Madame Web a “stand alone” story is nothing short of confusing. Sony has reminded us on countless occasions that it has access to countless Spider-Man-adjacent characters. Despite this, the studio is unable to build a world around them.

The one time they tried, it led to MorbiusThe infuriatingly stupid post-credits scene that saw The Vulture trying to recruit the Living Vampire into a heroic version of the Sinister Six. That aside, it doesn't make sense not to have this movie tied in with the studio's other live-action Marvel franchises.

We're not exactly expecting MCU 2.0 from Sony. However, if Peter Parker is off limits to them because of this deal with Marvel Studios, why not establish Spider-Woman to fight Venom or Kraven the Hunter? Obviously, that's too complicated for a studio with, appropriately, a 2003 superhero movie mentality.

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