The latest entrant into the Sony Spider-Man Universe (SSMU), Madame Web, starring Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney, brings a fresh perspective to the superhero genre, marking Sony’s first female-led Marvel movie. Directed by S.J. Clarkson, known for her work on Marvel’s Jessica Jones and The Defenders, the film expands the universe that includes other characters like Venom and Morbius.
In Madame Web, Dakota Johnson plays Cassandra Webb, a clairvoyant paramedic in Manhattan with the ability to see the interconnected spider world. The character represents a departure from her original comic depiction as an elderly, blind, and wheelchair-bound woman. Johnson’s Cassandra Webb is younger, more dynamic, and her powers seem to be both a gift and a burden. Her clairvoyant abilities set off a chain of events that significantly impact her destiny and that of several other women, one of whom is Julia Carpenter, portrayed by Sydney Sweeney.
Sydney Sweeney’s Julia Carpenter, aka Spider-Woman, was the second character to take up the Madame Web mantle in the Marvel comics. The trailer suggests that the film explores her journey before gaining her Spider-Woman abilities, hinting at her transformation and possibly setting up a future standalone film for her character.
A notable addition to the storyline is the character of Ezekiel Sims, played by Tahar Rahim. In the comics, Ezekiel is a wealthy man who acquires powers similar to Spider-Man. The film seems to offer a younger version of Ezekiel, opening up questions about his role as a potential antagonist against Madame Web.
The official synopsis of the film indicates that it revolves around Cassandra Webb’s standalone origin story, delving into her past and her connections with three young women destined for powerful futures. This narrative approach marks a shift from the typical superhero genre, focusing more on the suspense-driven thriller aspect.
Dakota Johnson expressed excitement about her role, highlighting the creative freedom that comes with playing a less-known character in the Marvel world. Her aim to make Madame Web a “very cool” and action-driven character echoes the enthusiasm surrounding the project. The film joins Sony’s growing list of Spider-Man spinoffs, following the success of films like Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Spider-Man: No Way Home, the latter being the highest-grossing film in Sony’s history.
Madame Web is set to swing into theaters on February 14, 2024, and promises to be a unique addition to the Marvel and Sony superhero franchises, offering a new perspective and expanding the narrative possibilities within the Spider-Verse.