Sony"s Latest Spider-Man Villain Disrespects Marvel"s Original Comics Origin

  • Madame Web introduces new Spider-Women but fails to elevate Ezekiel Sims, reducing him to a one-dimensional villain driven by fear and clichés.
  • Ezekiel Sims' complex, morally ambiguous character from the comics is lost in Madame Web's poorly executed portrayal, lacking empathy and depth.
  • Tahar Rahim's Ezekiel falls victim to bad dialogues, weak powers, and an unimpactful downfall, making him a forgettable villain in Sony's Spider-Verse.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Madame Web.
Madame Web weaves out a new chapter in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, but it gets entangled with a heavily underused Marvel villain, sabotaging the character and their origin. With Dakota Johnson leading the stellar cast of Madame Web, the movie marks the cinematic debut of several web-slingers with the alias Spider-Woman. Another character who gets his first live-action appearance is Tahar Rahim’s Ezekiel Sims, the ruthlessly paranoid millionaire who develops spider-like abilities and wears a costume reminiscent of Spider-Man himself. As Ezekiel plans to take down Madame Web and the Spider-Women from different universes, the movie crafts a drastic thematic and stylistic shift from his comic-book origins.
With many new Spider-Man heroes in Madame Web, the movie seemed like a positive step forward in creating a separate take on Marvel’s many alternate realities. But one-dimensional characters, awkwardly-paced dialogues, and glaring inaccuracies from the source material make Madame Web the worst Spider-Man movie. Another complaint raised by a majority of critics has to do with the movie’s main villain. Ezekiel plays out as a caricature of a superhero antagonist, thanks to formulaic punchlines and some irrational character motivations. This is only a shame given how nuanced the bare-footed wall-crawling villain (and occasional antihero) is otherwise in Spider-Man comics.
Related Every Sony Spider-Man Universe Movie Ranked From Worst To Best Sony's Spider-Man Universe is still getting its footing in the superhero genre with four divisive movies. Here's how they rank against each another. Ezekiel Sims Isn't A Textbook Villain In The Comics He Has Even Helped Out Spider-Man At Times Close Madame Web never truly fleshed out the morally ambiguous aspects of Ezekiel Sims, a villain who not only went head-to-head against Spider-Man, but also proved to be an unlikely ally and mentor to him. Possessing similar powers as Peter Parker’s alter ego, Ezekiel initially wished to be a superhero, but focused on his business instead, which grew into a multi-million dollar corporation. Upon discovering Spider-Man, a fifty-something Ezekiel believed that his spider-like abilities had a mythical connection. While it was a radioactive spider that bit Peter and turned him into Spider-Man, Ezekiel suggested that the spider purposely chose Peter before dying.
Ezekiel Sims was co-created by John Romita Jr., whose father endured as one of the quintessential Spider-Man artists in the 1960s.
Inversely, Ezekiel gained his powers through a ritual, but he still treated the superhero with great respect despite their different origins and morals. He referred to Spider-Man as a “true totem”, suggesting most of his other animal-themed villains were impostors. Ezekiel’s unlikely heroism is evident from how he sacrificed himself to protect Spider-Man from the vampire-like “totem hunter” Marlun. In the events between the Original Sin crossover event and Spider-Verse, Ezekiel also held Cindy Moon (Silk) - the second person to be bitten by a radioactive spider - captive to protect her from other totem-hunting threats.
Related Madame Web Left Out That Awful Amazon Line, But Somehow It's Still Not The Worst Moment In a fittingly unsurprising turn of events, Madame Web was filled with disappointing moments - but the "spiders in the Amazon" wasn't one of them. Ezekiel’s change of heart is a perfect example of the character’s gray areas, a crucial angle that Madame Web’s frustrating Marvel comic changes couldn’t capture. A particular highlight in his character evolution comes from The Amazing Spider-Man #508, when Ezekiel nearly killed Spider-Man only to rescue him later, realizing that while Spider-Man selflessly took on the responsibility of serving as New York’s protector, Ezekiel was using his own powers for merely selfish means.
How Madame Web Ruined Ezekiel Sims Formulaic Antagonist Tropes, Bad Dialogues, and Weak Powers Close Ever since the first trailer of Madame Web premiered, much conversation was around Ezekiel appearing much younger than his usual comic book avatar. Portraying this version of Ezekiel as a businessman struggling with his superpowers and corporate selfishness could have honored the source material. Instead, Ezekiel unfortunately joined the leagues of Sony’s Spider-Man movies’ bad villains, as Madame Web reduced Ezekiel to a one-dimensional villain who acts evil just out of fear of his nightmares. Believing that Julia Cornwall, Mattie Franklin, and Anya Corazon can kill him in the future, he relies on his prophetic visions to take down the three Spider-Women.
While establishing its titular heroine’s origins and a new backstory about a Peruvian spider tribe, Madame Web didn’t have enough time to evoke any empathy for Ezekiel. Instead, he was rendered both metaphorically and literally weaker, reducing his powers to the point he was able to foolishly fall into a trap and get crushed under a Pepsi sign. In his live-action debut, Ezekiel also fell prey to some of Madame Web’s worst lines, with the villain stating obvious exposition-heavy facts. As such, not even an acclaimed actor like Tahar Rahim could save the usually impactful Marvel villain.
> Madame Web
Director S.J. Clarkson Release Date February 14, 2024 Writers Burk Sharpless , Matt Sazama , Kerem Sanga Cast Dakota Johnson , Emma Roberts , Adam Scott , Isabela Merced , Sydney Sweeney


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