10 Things Spider-Man 4 Can Learn From Madame Web"s Negative Reviews

  • Madame Web reveals several lessons that Spider-Man 4 can learn from.
  • Madame Web's issues in terms of plot, pacing and characters all could be valuable for Spider-Man 4 to take into account.
  • Spider-Man 4 should focus on telling a superhero story without trying to distance itself from the genre.
With Madame Web failing to connect with critics or audiences, Marvel should pay attention to what went wrong when creating Spider-Man 4. Not only has Madame Web earned a record-breaking low box office for Sony, but it has also been unpopular with critics. Though some have defended Madame Web as campy fun, that isn't the reputation Marvel really wants for a major character in the MCU timeline like Spider-Man.
Some of Madame Web's pitfalls are directly linked to Spider-Man and the way in which the movie adapts the extensive comic lore behind the hero. Others are simply issues with the movie itself that could possibly apply to MCU's Spider-Man 4 if Marvel isn't careful. Whether the issues are with the in-universe narrative or the quality of the actual movie, Madame Web should serve as a clear warning for what to avoid in the upcoming MCU Spider-Man movie.
Related Madame Web Producer Defends Marvel Movie Not Connecting To Larger Sony's Spider-Man Universe One of the Madame Web producers opens up on why the latest Marvel superhero movie decided to exclude connections to Sony's Spider-Man Universe. 10 Madame Web Adds Too Much Lore To Spider-Man At Once Madame Web Introduced 5 Spider-Man Characters Close For a movie that insisted it was meant to be a standalone film, Madame Web adds a lot of lore to the world of Spider-Man before Peter Parker is even born. The movie includes glimpses of three spider heroes with distinct powers, super spiders from the Amazon and a tribe of spider people who care for them, the origin of Madame Web, and Peter Parker's birth. It also gives some backstory to Uncle Ben and his connection to Cassie Webb, aka Madame Web.
If this sounds like an overwhelming amount of Spider-Man lore for a single film, that's because it is. The standalone movie tries to cover more ground than many MCU films do in terms of introducing new heroes and adding backstory to others. Spider-Man 4 would do well to avoid trying to stuff too many characters from the comics into the movie, especially when audiences are hoping for a more grounded outing this time around.
Related Madame Web Movie Cast & Marvel Character Guide Madame Web, which is part of Sony's Spider-Man Universe, features a star-studded ensemble cast filled with famous actors in surprising Marvel roles. 9 Madame Web Following Peter's Fate Makes Him Too Important Madame Web Included The Story Of Peter Parker's Birth Another issue with Madame Web is one that it has inherited from Marvel Comics. Peter Parker's real-life popularity has convinced Marvel that the character himself should be cosmically important to match. Madame Web follows this trend by not only having Cassie following Peter's future with her visions, but seemingly allowing Uncle Ben to die to ensure Peter becomes Spider-Man. This makes Peter's origin less random happenstance and something more significant.
Part of the appeal of Spider-Man in many of his most popular iterations is the idea that he is an average person and that anyone could have ended up with his powers by chance. This is arguably something reflected in Holland's Peter Parker, who manages to juggle being a humble, reletable figure and a talented superhero. As such, introducing more high-concept elements like Madame Web or things from the comics like Spider Totems would seemingly be a step in the wrong direction at a time when audiences are expecting street-level stakes in the MCU hero's future.
8 Spider-Man 4 Should Tell A Superhero Story Madame Web Tried To Distance Itself From Suphero Media Close Madame Web seemed like it wanted to tell a different type of story within a superhero universe. Unfortunately, its strong ties to Spider-Man and other heroes made the movie exist in an uncanny in-between capacity, where it wasn't a superhero movie but also had to include recognizable elements from its franchise. This created unusual tonal shifts between scenes that were genuinely tense, like the train encounter with Ezekiel Sims, and scenes that were over-the-top action, like the literal fireworks factory.
Spider-Man is a very classic superhero, so it would only make sense for Spider-Man 4 not to try to play with other genres like Madame Web did. Even if this idea could be done well with other properties, Spider-Man works best when sticking to a more traditional superhero narrative in terms of genre, and there are other MCU installments that are better suited to this kind of experimentation.
7 Madame Web Has Too Many Characters To Establish Madame Web Included 4 Spider Heroes Close Madame Web tried to set up a lot of different characters in a single movie. This ended up making certain characters, like Ezekiel, or Anya, feel underdeveloped. Fewer characters would have allowed the movie more time to properly explore them and their relationships with one another, which could have helped the movie feel less hollow.
Spider-Man 4 could be at risk of making a similar mistake. After the memory wipe in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Spider-Man 4 may need to introduce new characters to the supporting cast. Marvel should be careful not to go too overboard, and to make sure they dedicate enough screen time to these characters' motivations and relationship with Peter.
6 Spider-Man Villains Should Be More Unique Ezekiel Sims Is Just Evil Spider-Man The version of Ezekiel Sims in Madame Web felt pretty generic, as he was essentially just an evil Spider-Man with poison instead of webs. Even his costume was reminiscent of Spider-Man's, making him a somewhat bland looking villain as well. These could be forgiven if he had particularly strong characterization, but he doesn't, limiting the antagonist's capacity to engage audiences.
When it comes to choosing a villain for Spider-Man 4, Marvel should stick with someone more unique. That could mean someone visually interesting, like Scorpion who was set up in Spider-Man: Homecoming, or just an interesting character like Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin. It would also be smart to have Spider-Man interact more with the villain, as Madame Web barely shows Ezekiel and Cassie actually meeting outside of visions.
5 Spider-Man 4 Needs More Human Moments Than Madame Web Madame Web Didn't Leave Enough Time For Character Moments Exciting action and eye-catching fight choreography is one appeal of a superhero movie, but it isn't everything. It's important for a superhero movie to take time for more human moments, so audiences have a way to connect with the otherwise larger-than-life story. One reason Madame Web fails to connect with audiences is because it doesn't have enough human moments that feel genuine. Often, a chance to relete and connect to the characters in the movie is ruined by clunky dialogue or the characters making strange choices for the sake of the plot, like dancing on tables when they're in hiding.
Luckily, Spider-Man 4 already has a leg up on Madame Web in this regard, because audiences already care about Peter Parker from previous films. However, now that Peter might not have his core group of friends and family, it will be important for the movie to create new meaningful connections between him and other characters. Even a well-established character could struggle to connect with audiences if they never feel like a real person throughout an individual movie.
4 Madame Web Has Glaring Production Errors Madame Web Had An Issue With ADR And Camera Work Questionable narrative choices or generic villains are the types of errors that can be expected from some big-budget superhero movies. However, movies like Madame Web can usually be counted on to be polished enough that general audiences don't notice things like bad ADR or camera work. Unfortunately, Madame Web fails to meet this expectation, including moments like Ezekiel talking while his mouth is closed in the scene where he kills an NSA agent.
With fresh talks of superhero fatigue plaguing the MCU, Marvel cannot afford to let a major movie like Spider-Man 4 hit theaters with these types of errors. Sony has already started to earn itself a bad reputation between Morbius and Madame Web, and Marvel would be smart to avoid a similar stain on their brand. As a major movie for both studios, hopefully Spider-Man 4 will avoid these snags when it is being assembled.
3 Spider-Man 4 Needs To Distance Itself From The SSU Sony's Spider-Man Universe Has Churned Out Too Many Failures Custom Image by Nicolas Ayala Madame Web isn't the first Sony Spider-Man movie to be critically panned. Morbius received similarly negative reviews, and even Venom: Let There Be Carnage received its own fair share of bad press despite being financially successful. This trend for Sony's movies needs to be something Marvel is aware of, both in terms of thinking about Spider-Man 4 as a movie by itself, and in terms of thinking about the ties Spider-Man: No Way Home made between Sony's universe and the MCU, which is likely worth either ignoring going forward, or actively addressing in order to put distance between the franchises.
2 Madame Web's Trailer Did The Movie No Favors Madame Web's Trailer Poisoned The Well For The Movie From the time Madame Web's trailer dropped, the movie was being lampooned. Though some just refused to give the movie a fair shake, moments like the infamous "spiders in the Amazon" line were pretty indicative of the type of bad dialogue audiences could expect from the finished movie. A trailer for Spider-Man 4 will be much more hotly anticipated than Madame Web's was, leading to much higher expectations. Marvel will want to ensure the trailer shows off the movie's best qualities, so audiences don't go into the movie anticipating some flaws.
1 Spider-Man 4 Needs To Trust Its Audience Madame Web Included Too Much Expository Dialogue Several issues with Madame Web, like its bad ADR and clunky dialogue, stemmed from its distrust in its audience, with many details being over-explained to the audience despite the movie already visually communicating the same information. This bogged the movie down in exposition and made it feel like it was talking down to the audience, especially in instances like Cassie talking to her cat as an audience stand-in.
The MCU has done a good job introducing some weird concepts to audiences while trusting that they can follow along. Spider-Man 4 should continue this trend of trusting audiences' ability to understand what's going on. Otherwise, it could end up with clunky bits of expository dialogue like the ones in Madame Web.


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