Skip to Content
Defector At The Movies

Everything I Remember About ‘Madame Web’

dakota johnson in a red leather blazer looking confused
Image via Sony

Dakota Johnson, one of our country's greatest accidental comedians, is starring in a new movie called Madame Web. On account of my passion for cinema (trash), I journeyed to the good theater (reclining seats) last night to see this movie with some friends. I ate an entire bucket of popcorn. I laughed so hard that my abs are sore today.

It is almost impossible to recap this movie. The plot was clearly rewritten several times during the filming process and is nonsensical. The whole thing seems to have been filmed on a single soundstage. I genuinely feel bad for the actresses who agreed to this movie clearly expecting to make a superhero film and instead made a movie about a time that Peter Parker's uncle's co-worker hung out with three teens.

I asked someone (Luis) to explain to me how Madame Web is not a true Marvel movie. He did a good job, but I became bored immediately and my brain could not retain that information. But understanding anything was not a key part of watching Madame Web, which is a camp movie comprised of 150 one-liners that do not go together at all.

Immediately upon leaving the theater, the movie began to dissolve in my memory like it had been a dream. I must write what I remember down; what a shame it would be to lose those two hours of my life.

Here are some moments I would like to remember:

  • In the first scene of the movie, we are introduced to a native group in Peru called "Las Arañas." Later in the movie, Dakota Johnson looks at her mother's journal and whispers "Las Arañas." Beautiful.
  • How did Dakota Johnson, a baby, get out of the jungles of Peru where her mother died, and back to the United States with a briefcase full of her mom's most treasured posessions?
  • The motivation of the villain of this movie is that he keeps having a dream that three teen girls are killing him. They are dressed in superhero costumes in the dream. This only occurs in his vision of the future. At no point does anyone in this superhero movie wear a superhero outfit. Dakota Johnson wears a red leather blazer and jeans the whole time.
  • The first time she puts on the red leather blazer and jeans, she is on her way to a funeral.
  • To find these teen girls, the villain has a one-night stand with someone in the NSA and then poisons her and asks for her password. As she is dying she is whispering random-ass letters and numbers that he does not write down.
  • The villain's tech assistant is played by Zosia Mamet.
  • The villain's voice has some of the worst ADR I have ever seen. His voice did not match with how his mouth moved and also it sounded like he recorded his lines from inside a moving car.
  • I am still unclear why Dakota Johnson becomes able to see the future. It is either that she died (cardiac arrest) or that she fell into the East River. I'm not sure which was the important part because the movie did not explain.
  • She does not have a web. There is no web.
  • The two most iconic lines from the trailer—"Her web connects them all," and "He was in the Amazon with my mom when she was researching spiders right before she died"—do not appear in the movie. Eat shit, Sony.
  • Dakota Johnson goes to a baby shower for her coworker's sister. There are all these allusions to the baby's name. I had no idea what was going on. The birth of this child is treated like the Birth of Christ. Later, my friend Dana explained that this is because the fetus in the movie is going to be Spider-Man. If Peter Parker being in utero is such a big part of this movie, how come no one ever says his name in the movie even after he is born?
  • You could tell how many reshoots there were because Dakota Johnson's bangs looked different in every single cut.
  • A pivotal part of the plot revolves around the idea that there is a duffel bag filled with flare guns inside every ambulance.
  • Dakota Johnson, who is wanted for kidnapping three teenage girls, stealing a taxi, and running it into a diner, announces at one point "I need to go to Peru," and then goes to Peru.
  • When she gets to Peru, she finds the place where her mother was by carrying a map that clearly says MAP OF PERU on it, and holding up a picture of a creek.
  • She does find Las Arañas, who tell her that her thread doesn't begin with her. Then Dakota Johnson goes back into the past and learns that her mother didn't hate her after all. Her mother was trying to find a cure for baby Dakota's neuromuscular disorder. It is already clear she is cured because her mom was bit by the spider during her birth, but still she has to say the line "but I don't have a neuromuscular disorder."
  • The whole movie "took place in 2003." This is made clear by Dakota Johnson saying "I want to go home and watch Idol," two Beyoncé album ads, and the use of the song "Toxic" at a pivotal plot point. Otherwise, the year is irrelevant.
  • Dakota Johnson gets hit in the face with a firework while she is underwater. This makes her blind, but does not damage her face.
  • To keep the girls safe, she drives them to New Jersey and leaves them in the woods?
  • At one point, the teen girls are in the woods, walking literally on top of what appears to be an CGI campfire that was added in post.
  • No one in this movie has ever heard of the trolley problem. The whole aim of the movie is to keep these three very normal and not special girls safe from this man who wants to kill them. In the process, a dozen or so people die.
  • In the climactic fight scene, Johnson splits into three versions of herself. I still do not know how this is connected to her ability to see the future.
  • All of this is true. All the foreshadowing about an "S" being important turns out to be for naught. This is because she can change the future or something.
  • At the end, when Dakota Johnson is blind in the hospital, the nurse asks if all three of these girls are "immediate family." Johnson smirks and says, "They're all mine."

Great movie. I laughed a lot. Her web connects us all, Amen.

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter