Director of ‘Madame Web’ Addresses Absence of Origin Stories for Spider-Women: “It Wouldn’t Do Any of Them Justice”

Madame Web
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Just days after its release, ‘Madame Web’ finds itself struggling to gain traction. With a meager 13% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a lackluster 54% audience score, the film is deemed “rotten” by many. Box office returns reflect this disappointment, with a reported first-day earnings of only 6 million.

Amidst this underwhelming reception, both the cast and director are engaging in damage control efforts. Dakota Johnson has publicly stated that the final product deviated significantly from her initial expectations. Notably, fans have voiced concerns over the absence of origin stories for the Spider-Women, despite their prominent presence in the trailer, fully suited and displaying superpowers.

In an interview with ComicBook, director S.J. Clarkson addressed this omission, explaining the rationale behind the decision to limit the portrayal of superpowers for the Spider-Women to dream sequences. She also hinted at how this narrative choice might influence future chapters of the ‘Madame Web’ saga.

Well, I thought it would be a bit greedy to do four origin stories. That’s not really fair, is it? I’ve got to share it. Come on. I mean, first and foremost, it’s Madame Web, right? But I hope the exciting thing about it is, this is a tease. And I think the origin story of the girls, we’re given, hopefully, a hint of the spirit of who they are.

Clarkson further elaborated that encapsulating four origin stories within a single film presents significant challenges.

But that’s a lot of story to tell, I think, in one [movie]. And I think it wouldn’t do any of them justice to try and sort of crowbar or cram it all into one movie. So I think it’s Madame Web’s, and here’s kind of the development of something else underneath it.

While Clarkson’s point about the feasibility of incorporating all origin stories within a single film is valid, the marketing strategy for the movie should have been more transparent. The emphasis on Spider-Women already possessing their powers and donning costumes in promotional materials created unrealistic expectations. Initial images and trailers suggested a much larger role for superpowered Spider-Women than what actually transpired on screen, with their appearance limited to a mere 40 seconds.

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Despite the disappointing reception, Dakota Johnson has expressed willingness to reprise her role in a potential ‘Madame Web’ sequel, although the likelihood of such a sequel remains uncertain given the film’s initial performance. Nonetheless, there is a collective desire for more exploration into the Spider-Women’s narratives, as ‘Madame Web’ left numerous unanswered questions.

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