“Descubre por qué ‘Madame Web’ podría ser la precuela perfecta de ‘Destino final’ más que una película de superhéroes”

Dakota Johnson, during the promotion tour of ‘Madame Web’, said that it was “as if AI generated the perfect movie for your boyfriend” and she wasn’t completely wrong. There are many moments that seem to be written by artificial intelligence – but that is nothing new in today’s blockbusters. The female cast seems to be aimed at satisfying the gaze of men eager to see fashionable beauties – oh, the suspicious CPR scene – rather than presenting a story of empowerment against a male villain. It gives the impression that the actress had to say something to justify how to approach her campaign for a dubious project, which is born within a general decline of the genre exemplified by the improbable universe that Sony is building from secondary Spider-Man characters. They stumbled considerably with the two ‘Venom’ installments, turning one of Marvel’s great villains into a crude bachelor party joke dump.

However, ‘Morbius’ takes the cake when it comes to its content. It is a poor translation of one of the most interesting dark characters, which is remembered on social media for a couple of Jared Leto and Matt Smith memes that make the movie seem even more absurd and ridiculous than it actually is. ‘Madame Web’ has not come to change the trend of this universe, but at least the accident that it represents of making a superhero movie that is not really a superhero movie is slightly more interesting.

How to make a non-superhero movie

Because ‘Madame Web’ can be seen as an unexpected consequence, a sign of the times, the final proof that Hollywood is not driven by ideas but by intuitions, data, and algorithms that ensure a certain profitability before proposing a new project. The original character, a blind old woman in a wheelchair with clairvoyant powers, has not made sense even for her own comic series in Marvel. However, Sony’s audacity to get their piece of the cake is unheard of. Nothing like hiring the duo of Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, better known as the responsible for ‘Gods of Egypt’, to shape one of the most absurd industrial operations in recent Hollywood history.

In a way, ‘Madame Web’ is like a kind of scriptwriting exercise where the professor has assigned the task of creating something with a character who is supposed to have the ability to see the future and three companions who must wear Spider-Woman-like variations of suits at some point in the film. What is the challenge? To create a movie that is not really a superhero movie, but rather the evocation of one. It is difficult to explain without spoilers, but the correct way to articulate it has to do with the idea of the possibility of a superhero movie that never really materializes. It is almost an experiment where the main heroine limits herself to letting destiny take care of the supervillain in scenes of visions that allow for the absence of the typical violence seen in traditional action scenes that we have witnessed month after month for the past 15 years.

Spidey’s Angels

In a way, the movie is telling us that the superhero film genre is broken, exhausted, and so overused that the only way out is… to stop making superhero movies. It seems that, in its shameless strategy of not delivering what it promises in the trailer, it is communicating that the salvation of the genre lies in relegating its most expected elements to a tertiary position and exploring other possibilities. Are they aware of all this? Probably not, but the only thing the producers are clear about is that they must include a scene with Sydney Sweeney dancing to Britney Spears’ “Toxic” while wearing a miniskirt on top of a diner table. And that’s because the movie is set in 2003, although it is barely noticeable in terms of the set design. However, in terms of staging, editing, and cinematography, it looks exactly like a cheap, forgotten, anachronistic product from that time.

It’s not surprising considering the director S.J. Clarkson’s experience in TV series, she seems confused here, as if this were the pilot for a CW series that will never happen. This laziness is transmitted in the almost sarcastic attitude of Dakota Johnson, who is aware that she is there just like everyone else, a “take the money and run” attitude that is resolved with a certain professionalism, but not without some irony.

It’s even more disappointing to see Tahar Rahim here, an actor destined to play a great villain, functioning on autopilot with a script that doesn’t even allow him to build a charming poolside guy with class. Adam Scott is also wasted and relegated to being the connection to the Marvel universe in an arbitrary way, just like all the other decisions. The connections to the Spider-Man universe end up being summarized in the most bizarre and scatological moment that could never be associated with the origins – in the most literal sense of the word – of Marvel’s most popular superhero.

A game-changer for superhero movies?

And that’s why the movie is an amusing eccentricity, more or less functional, that can be looked at with some fascination. It is more of a soft and family-friendly sequel to ‘Final Destination’ than a superhero production. The implausible technological means used by the villain to locate the girls he dreams of ending up with, in a prophecy-like manner reminiscent of Pontius Pilate, have technological implications that are so implausible that they seem to be making fun of the “scientific” and “believable” systems of ‘The Dark Knight’. There are trips from New York to Peru that happen in the blink of an eye, challenging the outdated transitions of the 2000s blockbuster era seen in ‘Aquaman’. There are action scenes that never actually happen, as if they are saying that what matters to the audience of this subgenre is no longer relevant beyond justifying a brand, some nods that connect a shared mythology, or the name present in comic book pages.

Perhaps ‘Madame Web’ was born to shamelessly expose that it no longer matters to tarnish what has been written in the golden pages of comic books, that “violated childhoods” are worth as much as the number of cinema tickets a studio can sell thanks to those who have at some point thought that seeing the adaptation of a tertiary or quaternary character was a good idea. It may be the most audacious and honest movie of the year, or perhaps the masterpiece destined to forever crash a genre that can’t find its way back to the cinema screens.,