Madame Web branded an ‘embarrassing mess’ as Dakota Johnson’s Marvel film finally surfaces

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Madame Web, the new Marvel adaptation starring Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney, has been castigated by critics in first reactions.

The film, released on 14 February, was not widely screened for critics ahead of its release, with the first advance verdicts only arriving after the film’s premiere this week.

Pundits have not been kind to the movie, however, with one writer describing it as an “embarrassing mess”.

Adapted from characters in Marvel’s Spider-Man universe, Madame Web sees Dakota Johnson play a woman who begins having visions of the future.

As well as Johnson and Euphoria’s Sweeney, the film also stars The Serpent actor Tahar Rahim, as well as Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott in a role rumoured to be Peter Parker’s “Uncle Ben”.

Madame Web takes place in the same continuity as the two Venom films starring Tom Hardy, as well as the 2021 Jared Leto flop Morbius.

While The Independent’s review of the film will not be arriving until after release, here’s a roundup of some of the reactions to the film from the few who have seen it.

YouTuber Cris Parker wrote: “#MadameWeb is an embarrassing mess. Talented stars wasted on probably the worst comic book movie I have ever seen. Filled with atrocious dialogue, awkward editing & all around laughable structure. I sat there baffled scene by scene someone approved this. The memes will redeem it.”

Sydney Sweeney in ‘Madame Web' (Screenshot courtesy YouTube/Sony Pictures)
Sydney Sweeney in ‘Madame Web' (Screenshot courtesy YouTube/Sony Pictures)

He did, however, praise Johnson’s humour, the “early 2000s aesthetic”, and Scott’s performance.

The Hollywood Handle described Madame Web as “a clunky, poorly-written, messy, and sloppy movie packed with some mediocre editing and performances”. In a tweet, the reviewer added: “Even though it had solid cinematography and an interesting concept, it couldn’t be saved due to its terrible execution.”

Writer and critic @bookblerd wrote: “I was not, unfortunately, successfully entertained. #MadameWeb is a series of misses and wasted opportunities and not just for obvious reasons...”

“#MadameWeb is yet another disappointing entry in the Sony Universe,” wrote YouTuber @cocognz. “Dakota Johnson is a stand-out, but unfortunately that’s not the case for the rest of the cast.

Dakota Johnson in ‘Madame Web' (Sony)
Dakota Johnson in ‘Madame Web' (Sony)

“Not as bad as I expected it to be, but it sadly falls short of what could have been a decent movie.”

The negative responses come amid wider disillusionment with the future of superhero movies, part of a trend that many have dubbed “superhero fatigue”.

In the last year alone, films including Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and The Marvels have all underperformed at the box office, prompting speculation that the genre’s commercial domination may be waning.

Madame Web is out in cinemas on 14 February.