Death by Pepsi

“This is not a kidnapping,” shouts Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson) to the three teen girls she did, in fact, kidnap. But it’s the same lie spoken to the audience suckered into seeing this thing, stuck in a seat for two hours, less their $15 ticket be wasted on a walkout.

Consider this: At least Sony released Madame Web. That’s more than can be said for Warner and their recent Catwoman, which was apparently such a catastrophic failure, the studio used the film for a tax write-off without a single viewer laying eyes on it.

Consider this: At least Sony released Madame Web

Maybe Sony saw another Morbius, another recent Sony-produced Marvel travesty so obnoxiously awful, it turned into (and continues to be) a widely shared meme. Any publicity is good publicity, supposedly.

Madame Web isn’t Morbius; miserable as Morbius was, it wasn’t outright boring. Madame Web is. In looking over the post-2000s Marvel output, only the dreary Fantastic Four deserves more derision, but it’s close.

This is such an obviously disjointed movie, set in 2003 apparently for the nostalgic soundtrack, but also trying to mimic the twisty, nauseating camera work that defined much of the decade. Unlike Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films though, which often utilized similar tricks, Madame Web is a clear lower-grade facsimile.

Imagine the coincidence of being a baby whose mother died during childbirth – in the Amazon rainforest – and the odds of that baby being the protagonist to the villain who also ended up in New York 30-years later. What are the odds that Webb, a paramedic, has a chance to steal an ambulance with seconds left to save her friends because it so happens the next door neighbor called one at the same time? And what of that neighbor who is now waiting for a replacement vehicle? Being set in 2003, Madame Web brings up dated nervous energy about the post-9/11 NSA.

If there’s a memorable moment anywhere in this sloppy, repetitive debacle, it’s the villain, and that’s only because he dies under blatant produce placement.

Video

There’s an unusual edginess to the image, as if sloppily upscaled rather than a true 4K source. It’s subtle, but just enough to be noticeable. The look is sharp, but just imprecise. That gives Madame Web a consistent look of digital-ness, including noise that tends to fill the backgrounds (that’s handled decently by the encode).

Color is a strange one, filtered through an amber haze, create somewhat pallid flesh tones, while all of Madame Web takes on an unnatural hue. Primaries drift just off their peaks toward the nearest warmth. The same often goes for the drained, flat black levels that do everything they can to avoid true black. While clearly the intent, it leaves Madame Web murky, dry, and unappealing.

As for detail, it’s fair. Definition doesn’t impress compared to most modern movies, overall rudimentary. It’s odd as the ringing makes Madame Web look sharper, yet there’s no genuine gains in texture or fidelity.

Audio

Jungle sounds make an immediate impact, with animal calls flowing outward and upward. Meanwhile, the score drops intense low-end to add mood. Action scenes fill superlatively, with sounds at an industrial fire scene capturing opening/closing doors, activity all around Cassie, and sublime low-end drops for drama. Cassie’s visions provide ample rear and height ambiance too. The subway provides a lively soundstage, from loudspeakers calling the next train to trains on other tracks panning by the listener.

There’s a great simple moment where Cassie drifts a taxi after smashing through the window, and glass left on the hood flies off in every direction. It’s fantastic directionality. The finale in a fireworks factory is just sensational. It’s a shame the LFE doesn’t elicit the same excited response; it has moments of strength, but otherwise flattens.

Extras

A gag reel at least makes something on this disc interesting. There’s a deleted scene, easter eggs, and four featurettes make up the bonuses.

Madame Web
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
1

Movie

A truly astonishing failure, Madame Web makes countless errors in every aspect of its filmmaking.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 30 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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