The latest based on Marvel Hopeful blockbuster Madame Web was absolutely dashed in early reactions from critics and fans, who dubbed the film “an embarrassing mess” and “totally stupid and nonsensical.”
It has also been called 'the cats of superhero movies', in homage to the stinking flop released in 2019, where even the involvement of Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Jennifer Hudson and Idris Elba in the film adaptation of the mega musical by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber could not save.
Madame Web, starring Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney and scheduled for release on February 14, was kept secret from critics until the last minute, with the review embargo only lifted the day before.
Opinions, largely negative, were also shared on social media following the premiere of the film (which is not officially owned by the MCU) in Los Angeles on Monday night.
It's the fourth film in Sony's Spider-Man universe after Venom and its 2021 sequel Let There Be Carnage, as well as 2022's Jared Leto-led Morbius, which has a dismal 15% on Rotten Tomatoes across 283 reviews.
However, Madame Web doesn't seem to be faring much better, as at the time of publication it hovered at 16% among 55 critic responses.
Fifty Shades of Gray actress Johnson plays the titular role (not that she's ever been called that), aka paramedic Cassie Webb, who develops psychic abilities after an accident that allow her to see the future within the 'spider world' .
Rolling StoneDavid Fear writes in his review that the film is “a genuine Chernobyl-level disaster that seems to get exponentially more radioactive as it goes on,” much like “The Cats: The Movie of superhero movies.”
(Tell us how you really feel, David.)
He adds: 'The only surprising thing about this Spider spin-off is that someone, somewhere agreed to actually release it.'
About that, The wrapLex Briscuso is able to conjure up a description of Johnson as “aggressively fine” in her part, sharing: “She offers some solid moments of comic relief, but otherwise is so bland that not even her signature sarcasm can bring color to the role.” .'
It only gets worse from here.
“One of the worst films ever made, in any genre,” commented Sean O'Connell of CinemaBlend on X.
'The story makes absolutely no sense. The “action” is boring, with almost no cover. Dakota Johnson looks as bored as you can imagine. It makes Morbius look like the Dark Knight,” she added.
The account @CinemaTweets1 called it 'one of the worst films I've ever had the displeasure of watching', describing it as 'bad – and not so bad in the funny/catchy/Snakes-On-A-Plane bad sense, but just stupid and meaningless'.
YouTuber Cris Parker posted: '#MadameWeb is an embarrassing mess. Talented stars wasted in probably the worst comic book movie I've ever seen.
“I stood there dumbfounded, scene by scene, someone approved of this,” he admitted, before adding, “The memes will redeem it.”
Film critic Carson Timar called it “truly atrocious”, warning his followers to “avoid [Madame Web] at all costs', while @dbapz described it as 'VERY fun in all the wrong ways'.
However, @daveleedwnundr suggested that at least “a superb set of cheesy performances leads to an ironically enjoyable romp,” while noting that there was at least “one final joy in this clumsy adventure.”
The poor initial reaction to Madame Web makes it the latest in a long line of superhero films that have underperformed and disappointed fans, including The Marvels and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania from the Disney-owned MCU , as well as Shazam! DCEU's Fury of the Gods in evolution.
Madame Web will be released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 14th February.
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