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Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

Movie Review: Marvel Studios and Sony empowers women with “Madame Web”

Dakota+Johnson+empowers+women+through+new+superhero+movie+Madame+Web.
Photo by Sony
Dakota Johnson empowers women through new superhero movie “Madame Web.”

“Madame Web” is a movie worth seeing if you are a fan of Dakota Johnson or the idea of a sarcastic female superhero with precognitive superpowers. 

This movie comes from Sony and Marvel’s strange crossover of copyright claims. Sony has rights to the Spiderman character and comics, creating movies like “Venom”, “Morbius”, and now “Madame Web”. However, the best-known character, Peter Parker, has been given to the Marvel Universe (MCU). This makes “Madame Web” a movie outside the MCU but potentially adjacent.  

For those who do not know, the movie is set in 2003 and focuses on a 30-year-old paramedic named Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson) as well as 3 teenage girls as they are chased by who they call ‘the ceiling man’. The girls, Julia Carpenter played by Sydney Sweeny, Anya Corazon played by Isabela Merced, and Mattie Franklin played by Celeste O’Conner, have amazing wit and sass when dealing with very near-death experiences.  

A man named Ezekiel, played by Tahar Rahim and known as ‘the ceiling man’, is hunting down the girls because he has visions of them killing him in the future. Ezekiel is cursed because he stole a powerful spider from the Amazon when he was there with none other than Cassie’s mom and will do whatever it takes to survive. Including murdering 3 innocent teenage girls. 

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I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, other than the quite rude moviegoers to my left, I was laughing the entire time. The sarcastic comebacks of 3 teenage girls who are hungry and tired make the tense moments lighter. Cassie’s character is set on staying unattached and just surviving but ends up finding a found family and something worth fighting for. 

Plus, all the wonderful stunt driving is done by Johnson herself. From whipping an ambulance around a tight corner to speeding a taxi through a diner window, she was the one behind the wheel.  

More serious superhero fans have posted about how disappointing this movie was. According to Reason on one review, “It’s incomprehensible superhero-adjacent garbage, but at least the movie seems self-aware about it. There are several scenes devoted to the characters attempting to discern what’s going on—the sort of scenes that would usually serve as tidy exposition dumps—in which generally sensible questions are answered with lines like “What good is science?””  

While I understand that the way this movie introduces the various superpowers is less climatic than MCU favorites, I think it is more focused on the hero’s journey that Cassie and the girls are forced on. They may not be the critically acclaimed Iron Man character; Cassie is a compassionate person who has been avoiding the pain of her past for her whole life.  

I also greatly disagree with ScreenRants review where they say the movie is “rife with overly expository dialogue and lines that sound awkward and unnatural even when delivered by the movie’s biggest stars.” This movie and the actors utilize dry humor and sarcasm, perfect for a story about a pessimistic woman and three teenage girls. 

Maybe this isn’t the superhero movie with huge fight scenes, although the final fight is stunning, it is one full of female rage and empowerment. Maybe it has dialogue that is easy to expect, but the flow made it feel like the audience was closer to the characters.

I recommend going to watch this new movie, even if it may not fit into any cinematic universe so far, because it is chalk full of witty one-liners, wonderful acting, and healing generational trauma with found family. 

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Jia (Sophia) Buck, Culture Editor
Jia Buck is the culture editor and a reporter for Lindenlink Media. She is a freshman majoring in Communications with an emphasis on Journalism. Aside from writing, Jia loves strange historical facts, fantasy books, and anything creative. Jia spends her free time with friends or rewatching Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time.
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