Madame Web: The Future is What You Make It

The latest Marvel universe film is not one you’d expect. It’s Sony’s take on another character from the world of Spider-Man, Madam Web, a precognitive woman who first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1980 thanks to comic legends Denny O’Neil and John Romita Jr. She’s able to see the future in its possibilities, and uses that power to help the good guys (and gals) succeed in defeating evil. In this film, which stars Dakota Johnson as Web, she’s pitted against Ezekiel Sims (the creation of Romita Jr. and J. Michael Straczynski), a rich megalomaniac who killed her mother and now wants to eliminate three Spider-Women who defeat him in his visions of the future.

Like other Spider movies, this one has moments of humor, and plenty of excitement. Johnson and the actresses playing the three young Spider-Women-to-be (Sydney Sweeney, Isabella Merced, and Celeste O’Connor) mesh well together, joining Adam Scott (as Ben Parker) in providing the heart and soul of the film. Tahar Rahim plays Sims, and he’s menacing and threatening even when he’s not physically challenging the women in the film. [The most off-putting part of the film is the post-filming dubbing that the editors chose to make to Rahim’s lines. Sometimes, it seems like you’re watching a foreign movie that’s been dubbed in English!]

While the film is a superhero action flick, it’s stuffed with themes that are empowering. As Web learns about how the powers that she’s inherited, she comes to wrestle with the Spiderverse ideals of power and responsibility. She and the three young women she protects (and mentors) use their powers for good, while Sims uses his selfishly. But it’s beyond that: it’s a thematic visual about how in a world of rich men with power and money want to control everything, the women are aimed at allowing others to live out their lives freely. [Sims and his techie henchwoman have a sidebar about the way that governmental technology paves the way for everyone to lose their freedom and privacy. It’s dead on.] There’s thematic substance about the families that we come from, and the families that we create because of our own choices and needs. And there’s more than a passing notice given to what it means to look to the future, know the future, and control the future.

None of us want to experience pain or suffering. We’d rather life goes blandly along, peacefully and comfortably. We don’t want to die. But in reality, our lives are something that we have some but not all control over them. Through faith in Jesus, we have the ability to rest in the promises God has made, but we can only do the best we can with the time we’ve given (thanks, Gandalf) in the service of God and other people. Hopefully, when faced with choices like Web’s, we choose to serve others, even if it causes us to risk our own comfort and safety. It’s what we should do.

Available now, the Blu-ray and DVD come with exclusives, like the gag reel, Easter eggs, “Oracle of the Page,” “Fight Like a Spider,” “Future Vision, “Casting the Web,” and deleted scenes.

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