Madame Web has arrived in a new trailer for the latest entry into Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. The character, most known for her appearances in the 1990’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series, is premiering in live-action for the first time. But what exactly does the new trailer tell us about the upcoming film?
The Future is a Web of Knowledge
Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades franchise) stars as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in the Fire Department of New York who, after attempting to rescue a victim of a car crash, becomes a victim herself upon becoming trapped in a vehicle and falls into the waters below a bridge. Saved from death by her fellow paramedic, played by Adam Scott, Cassandra learns that she has precognitive abilities.
Now, attempting to save the lives of several New York citizens, Cassandra becomes embroiled in a race against time against Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), who is attempting to stop the origins of three future Spider-Heroes: Anya Corazon/Spider-Girl (Isabela Merced), Mattie Franklin/Spider-Woman III (Celeste O’Connor), and Julia Carpenter/Spider-Woman II (Sydney Sweeney).
Using her precognitive abilities to keep them safe while also diving into her past, Cassandra must forge a relationship with the three future heroines if they intend to survive a deadly present.
Further details were revealed in past months by reputable film reviewer Daniel Richtman aka DanielRPK who broke the story of Madame Web back in August. According to DanielRPK, Madame Web will find Cassandra Webb attempting to save Julia, Anya, and Mattie and uniting them in an attempt to save Mary Parker, Peter Parker’s mother in a very Terminator-esque film.
Like many, this film introduces at least five characters from the Spider-Man mythos that many people (myself included) have very limited knowledge of. So, allow me to try to explain these characters in as simple terms as I can.
Starting with Madame Web aka Cassandra Webb. Most commonly seen as an old woman who has a neuromuscular disorder, Madame Web has the abilities of a clairvoyant and precognition, allowing her to become a successful medium. Forced to be permanently connected to a life support system designed to resemble a web, Cassandra was able to be a supporting character to Spider-Man, able to help him find and defeat several villains through the use of her abilities.
Next, we have Julia Carpenter, aka Spider-Woman II, and Madame Web II. Julia became a lab experiment after signing up to participate in an “athletic study”, gaining a powerset similar to Spider-Man’s. However, unlike Spider-Man, Julia is able to spin what she calls a “psi-web”, a web of psionic energy that allows her to swing and crawl on walls like Spider-Man. Following the death of Cassandra during a clone arc (don’t ask), the mantle is passed on to Julia who uses her psionic abilities to save lives.
Then we have Mattie Franklin, aka Spider-Woman III. The niece of J. Jonah Jameson, Mattie took up the mantle of Spider-Woman following Julia dropping it in favor of Madame Web. Mattie initially gained the powers of Spider-Man through The Gathering of Five, a cult-like ritual that was initiated by Norman Osborn. When Madame Web’s granddaughter Charlotte Witter absorbed the powers of all three Spider-Women, Mattie was able to reabsorb the powers and become the definitive Spider-Woman of the universe with the help of Madame Web and Jessica Drew (The original Spider-Woman).
Up next we have Anya Corazon / Spider-Girl/Arana. Noted for being of Latina descent, Anya was caught in a mystical battle between two cults called the Spider Society and the Sisterhood of the Wasp, where she was mortally injured. Saved by the Spider Society’s leader, Anya gained the powers of Spider-Man and became the superhero known as Arana. She met Madame Web through a forced team-up following an attempt to resurrect Kraven the Hunter (comics are weird man).
Finally, Ezekiel Sims. Portrayed as a supporting hero in the comics, Ezekiel was one of the first chronologically to gain spider-related powers, but in an attempt to become the first Spider-Man, found his way blocked by the one thing that stops many from becoming awesome heroes: CAPITALISM. By the time he was ready to become Spider-Man, Peter Parker became the hero. Now, instead of becoming a costumed hero, Ezekiel intended to help Spider-Man combat various different villains attracted to his “mystical energy” as a so-called Spider-Totem. Ezekiel also found and “helped” Cindy Moon/Silk before giving his life to save Peter following his revelation of his selfishness.
The Live-Action Catapult
So, with Spider-Man’s continued struggles with what has colloquially become known as the Spider-Verse, the question lies in which universe Madame Web takes place in. Certain hints and clues lie in the details of the trailer that may not confirm the universe we’re in, but the universes we’re not in.
For example, Cassandra Webb’s paramedic uniform has the letters FDNY, which stand for the Fire Department of New York. One of the simplest ways for films and media to say that we’re in an alternate reality is to switch up the letters of organizations, such as how in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the New York Police Department is labeled as PDNY instead of NYPD. Since the letters aren’t in NYFD order, we can safely eliminate Earth-1610, the Ultimate Universe.
Another detail to note is in the diner at the beginning of the trailer. The diner, called the 4 Star Diner, originally appeared in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #30 in April 2001. This comic happened to be the first comic to officially introduce Ezekiel Sims to the Spider-Man mythos. Further easter eggs are revealed by looking at the other occupants of the diner, with some wearing outfits bearing the logo of Midtown High, the same school that Peter Parker attended.
The majority of the trailer focused primarily on the main protagonists fighting against evil Spider-Man (literally), leaving very few details and hints to further universe tie-ins. That said, there is a scene from the trailer where Cassandra attempts to protect herself underneath a PepsiCo. sign during an attack by Ezekiel. This sign was also seen during Spider-Man: No Way Home when Sandman escapes from Happy’s apartment during the battle between Peter and Green Goblin.
The Web is Spinning…
Sony has been really hard at work to give us amazing Spider-Man-related films over the last few years. With next year set to release three films in their Spider-Man Universe, Sony has multiple opportunities to win the fans back to their side following the disappointing outing of Morbius in 2022.
Madame Web releases in theaters on February 14, 2024.
About Madame Web
Release Date: February 14, 2024
Director: SJ Clarkson
Screenplay by: Claire Parker & SJ Clarkson
Story By: Kerem Sanga
Based on the Marvel Comics
Producer: Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
Executive Producers: Adam Merims, Claire Parker
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, Isabela Merced, Tahar Rahim, Mike Epps, Emma Roberts, Adam Scott
“Meanwhile, in another universe…” In a switch from the typical genre, Madame Web tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel publishing’s most enigmatic heroines. The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who may have clairvoyant abilities. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women destined for powerful futures…if they can all survive a deadly present.
Madame Web is to be followed by Kraven The Hunter in August and the hotly anticipated Venom 3 next October. Madame Web releases exclusively in movie theaters on February 14th, 2024. For more news on Sony’s Spider-Man Universe as well as breaking news and reviews on movies, TV, video games, and other entertainment media, follow us on Twitter: @The_Illuminerdi!