The journey of superhero movies capturing the hearts of viewers began in the 2010s, a period marked by major profitability despite intense competition. However, the decline of superhero movies is inevitable after dominating the global box office for so long.

In “Madame Web,” the dislike for the protagonists is so profound that viewers find themselves sympathizing with the antagonist. Over the years, there have been many works on this subject with qualities below audience expectations. In 2022, audiences were disappointed with Sony's “Morbius.” Two years later, the film production company continued to strive to meet audience expectations. However,, “Madame Web” still falls short of what Spider-Man fans anticipate.

Upon watching the film, many viewers may question why “Madame Web” was given the green light. Did anyone mention during the first script reading that the dialogue in the film is shallow and simplistic, to the point that even the most famous and talented actors cannot make the lines better? Has anyone critically evaluated the scenes and noticed the abrupt and irritating transitions?

The storyline of “Madame Web” begins with a scene of a pregnant woman staring at a spider in the Amazon rainforest. While holding a spider in her hand, she is threatened by a colleague with a gun to hand over the creature. Immediately after, he shoots the pregnant woman, and the lucky child is saved by a local tribe. The child grows up with the name Cassandra “Cassie” Webb, portrayed by Dakota Johnson.

Cassie's character is enigmatic. Despite being the protagonist aligned with the good side, her actions make it difficult for the audience to root for her. Cassie is a healthcare worker, but viewers rarely see her helping others. She even coldly rejects a painting that children drew for her. As an orphan, Cassie harbors resentment towards her family, a seemingly sympathetic detail that is difficult to resonate with in a superhero film.

With the aforementioned opening details, it can be inferred that the execution of the film is also clumsily done. First, the camera angles and cinematography are quite uncomfortable. Throughout the first segment, when Cassie's mother and colleague confront each other, the camera continuously makes confusing zooms. Additionally, the film has many dull jokes and unnatural dialogue.

Technically, the mouth movements of actor Tahar Rahim (Cassie's mother's colleague) do not sync with the sound, and this issue persists throughout the film. From another perspective, the film resembles a foreign film dubbed in English. If this flaw is due to changes in Tahar's dialogue in post-production and the producers didn't want to reshoot, then “Madame Web” certainly does not deserve an investment of $80 million. 

Apart from the bland screenplay, the expressive abilities of the cast are also weak, lacking emotion. Dakota Johnson is quite subdued in the film she stars in. The actress has been outstanding in works like “The Peanut Butter Falcon” and “Cha Cha Real Smooth.” However, “Madame Web” offers a dull, uninspiring role. As for the supporting cast, “Madame Web” gathers a group of young stars with potential to become Hollywood's focal points in the future. Sydney Sweeney (as Julia Cornwall) has impressed in teen drama series “Euphoria” and most recently in the romantic comedy “Anyone But You.” Isabela Merced (as Anya Corazon) has consistently made her mark in “Instant Family” and “Dora and the Lost City of Gold.” Celeste O’Connor (as Mattie Franklin) delivered excellent performances in “Freaky” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” All these individuals are talented in their own right. Unfortunately, director S.J. Clarkson failed to showcase what this trio could offer. Through Cassie's efforts to protect the three young girls from the antagonist, viewers can understand the screenwriters’ intention to convey that Cassie will find familial love through these girls. However, the film rushes through suspenseful developments, missing moments of tranquility and joy among the four characters, resulting in shallow emotional depth.

Who is responsible for Madame Web falling so short of expectations? Is it the screenwriters, the director, or Sony? Besides the unappealing content created by the screenwriters, it's worth noting that “Madame Web” is S.J. Clarkson's return to the big screen after many years working in television. However, with her accumulated experience, the directed scenes are poorly executed, sometimes lacking dimension or causing confusion. 

Regarding Sony, it must be admitted that the company has made efforts to maintain the popularity of the “Spider-Man” franchise through “Spider-Man 3” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” However, “Madame Web” marks a regrettable setback. In the released trailer, actors Sweeney, Merced, and O'Connor are seen wearing Spider-Man suits, sparking speculation that the superheroine would appear. And of course, this heightened audience excitement even more. Instead, “Madame Web” disappoints viewers by excluding any female Spider-Woman in the film. Perhaps Sony intends to give this superheroine a more significant role in the sequel, but with the current modest performance, the day of the female Spider-Woman's return seems far off.

For a theatrical release, the quality of “Madame Web” is still insufficient to compete with many other films released simultaneously. Despite being a superhero film, viewers are disappointed because Dakota Johnson doesn't have her own superhero costume. Her casual attire, even in the final battle, shows that “Madame Web” is just an ordinary action film rather than a superhero masterpiece.