Maybe Sony has seen the future. The studio behind Lady Teia – in which Fifty Shades star Dakota Johnson plays a paramedic with the power of precognition – released the film's review embargo on Tuesday morning, just hours before the first afternoon screenings of the standalone Marvel-based origin story. Directed by SJ Clarkson (Jessica Jones), what critics are calling the worst Sony-Marvel film since the similarly reviewed Morbius also features the big-screen debuts of future Spider-Women Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney), Mattie Franklin (Celeste O'Connor) and Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced).
Lady Teia debuted to mostly negative responses on Rotten Tomatoes and currently sits at 19% on the review aggregator. Just the vampire film led by Jared Leto Morbius, set in Sony's Spider-Man spinoff universe, received worse reception, with 15%. 2018 Poison and 2021 Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Starring Tom Hardy as the symbiote-clad lethal protector, it performed slightly better, with a 30% and 57% approval rating from critics, respectively.
“While Lady Teia may not contain the gripping tension, massive franchise connections, or painfully authentic verisimilitude of many of its modern contemporaries, it makes a compelling case that a story entertaining enough can still be found outside of these characteristics.” Comic critic Jenna Anderson writes 2.5/5 Lady Teia analysis. ”The charisma of its main heroines and the specificity of its premise keep it from being too boring, too silly, or too hopeless to ignore. For better or for worse, Lady Teia further illustrates that Sony's Spider-Man universe has potential when it doesn't try to be a modern cinematic universe and instead is a springboard for as many niche genre stories imaginable.”
Here's what critics across the web are saying about Lady Teia:
Variety: “A void made by Sony Spider man spinoff without any of the charm you expect from even the most basic superhero movie… Lady Teia I would never touch the relatively high-concept Disney-made Avengers films. The script is confusing, the action is stale, and the visual effects are cheap. A recurring device that places Cassie at the center of what appears to be a giant plasma ball, surrounded by static tendrils, is downright embarrassing. But guess what? Tickets still cost as much as they would for a more canonical Marvel film. So why settle for imitation?”
The Hollywood Reporter: “There is something so demoralizing about criticizing another underwhelming Marvel offering. What is really left to say about the ocean-floor disappointments and expectations created by mining this intellectual property? Every year, studio executives dig up minor characters, dress them in a haze of hype, and let viewers debate, defend, or dismiss the final product. Lady Teia It’s one of those recently exhumed efforts.”
Inverse: “[Sony] is so determined to revive the specific kind of superhero B-movie you'd find buried in the Walmart dollar bin that it simply sets its latest film in 2003 (complete with ridiculously 2003-on-the-nose needle drops and shoehorned pop culture references about how Cassie really wants to go home to “watch Idol“). But Lady Teia doesn't have the same charm of going bankrupt as Poison does, nor does it have the self-awareness to even lampshade its particular brand of cheesiness. Lady Teia is pretty much the worst movie you'd find at the bottom of the Walmart dollar bin – doomed to be forgotten as soon as it's seen.
IndieWire: “Dakota Johnson does his best to salvage a hilariously backwards superhero movie that feels like it was made in 2003… From the lack of stakes to the absence of style, and from the laughable CGI to the palpable discomfort with the rhythms and tropes of its genre , Lady Teia is a superhero movie that feels like it was made by and for people who have never seen a modern superhero movie.”
RogerEbert.com: “Lady Teia it's not the unmitigated disaster that its clunky trailer or its February timing would suggest. It's a low-stakes superhero origin story, with a thoroughly entertaining performance from Dakota Johnson at its center… in these comic book movie-saturated times, Lady Teia It's cheerfully breezy in its pacing, which helps make it a more enjoyable watch than some of the super serious end-of-the-world fare we often see.
Rolling Stone: “And the Cats: the movie of superhero movies. Not a single decision seems sensible. Not a single performance feels synchronized with the material.”
Lady Teia will be in theaters on February 13th.