One the most obscure and intriguing characters in the Marvel comics universe gets a feature in Madame Web. The film centers on a clairvoyant mutant named Cassandra Webb.
Madame Web stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic who races against time, trying to save people who have run out of it. Then one day, everything changes when her paranormal powers emerge. The heavy in the film seems to be a dark version of Spider-Man with all the powers of the hero we know, but put to a dark purpose. His name is Ezekial Sims, played by Tahar Rahim, and in the Marvel Comics universe, he figures prominently in the genesis of the red and blue web slinger as a superhero.
The film does appear to be a sort of prequel to the origin story of Spider-Man; the film features Adam Scott as Ben Parker, and Emma Roberts as Mary Parker. Plot elements are all over the place, with Cassandra Webb and Julia Carpenter (played by Sydney Sweeny) both manifesting some sort of spider-powers. This is intriguing as well, as Julia Carpenter is the civilian name of another unusual Spider-verse character, Spider-Woman. She is an outlier because she gets her powers not from being bitten by a radioactive spider, but by a blood infusion created by her father from spider venom which saves her life.
That the film feels smaller than other Marvel epics seems right. The Marvel universe is starting to run out of steam for creating mind-blowing blockbusters, as evidenced by the somewhat poor performance of The Marvels on its opening weekend, garnering not much more than $69M at the box office. By shifting to less well known stories, Marvel is free to tinker with the movie version of its universe to better tailor it for the motion picture medium, while at the same time scaling back their box office expectations per picture.
No release date for Madame Web has yet been set, though we should see it sometime in the early summer of 2024.
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