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Blu-Ray : Worth a Look
Ranking:
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Release Date: April 30th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2024

Madame Web

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: M. Enois Duarte 
Starring Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, and Tahar Rahim, Madame Web is a laughable mess that's arguably better enjoyed as an unintentional comedy or satire of the superhero genre while having little to do, if at all, with the Tom Holland Spider-Man franchise or anything related to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings the superhero flick to Blu-ray with an impressive audio and video presentation, but a mediocre set of bonuses makes the package another case of "bad flick, good disc" that's Worth a Look at best.

OVERALL:
Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc, Region Free
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Length:
116
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.39:1
Audio Formats:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Special Features:
Featurettes, Gag Reel, Deleted Scene
Release Date:
April 30th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

After what felt like one of the longest weeks at work this year — yes, I do have a "day job" aside from writing, or more recently complaining, about movies — I was ready to chill and enjoy the latest in an endless stream of mindless superhero flicks. With a beer in one hand and some buttery popcorn at my side, I sat down to watch Madame Web, the most recent entry in Sony's Spider-Man Universe. Only, the infamous web-slinger is nowhere to be found in this 116-minute catastrophe. Yet, we are nonetheless mind-numbingly reminded of its web-like link to the franchise with the cameos of nine-month-pregnant Mary Parker (a terribly bland Emma Roberts) and a soon-to-be-uncle Ben Parker (a meh Adam Scott). Frustratingly, these are not the only examples of filmmakers continuously and blatantly nudging audiences with wink-wink cultural references, like a cobweb of pandering that smacks you in the face with its sticky ickiness. 

But before I get ahead of myself, I'm barely sipping my beer and munching on a few popped kernels when I quickly realize that I'm about to watch a strong contender for one of the best worst movies in a long while — the sort of expensive bad movie that potentially could grow into a cult favorite. A few minutes in, I am baffled at seeing a pregnant woman (Kerry Bishé) traveling in the Amazon in search of a mysterious spider with the healing properties that apparently give Cassie Webb (a suitable Dakota Johnson) her mutant psychic powers. And for some bizarre reason, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim) turns up as the central villain, who later dons a nearly identical black Spider-Man costume that is never explained nor are his abilities (insert a confused face meme here). Seeing Sims in this story, which was conceived by the same people responsible for the equally awful Morbius, has me wondering if they've ever read the Spider-Man comics. 

Then, during Sims' betrayal, I'm laughing loudly at the mystifying handheld-style camerawork of S. J. Clarkson in her directorial debut, comically and pointlessly zooming in and out on the actors in what should be a pivotal dramatic exchange. And Clarkson's direction only gets worse as the script jumps thirty years later to find Cassie working as a paramedic alongside Ben. Her directing is further complemented by the obnoxiously amplified teal-orange cinematography of Mauro Fiore (Training Day, Spider-Man: No Way Home), obviously meant to exaggerate the red and blue colors surrounding our supposedly reluctant yet soon-to-be hero. That heroism not-so-subtlety blossoms when Cassie's clairvoyant visions oblige her to save three teenage girls (Sydney Sweeney as Julia Cornwall, Isabela Merced as Anya Corazon, and Celeste O'Connor as Mattie Franklin) from Sims' murderous rampage by dumping alone them in . . . 

Some random forest in New Jersey? And, as teens are bound to do, draw attention to themselves by awkwardly swaying back and forth — I wouldn't dare call it dancing — atop a table in a diner? For a bunch of teenage boys?

From the script and dialogue to the entire production itself, just about everything is wrong with Madame Web — better enjoyed as an unintentional comedy rather than a genuine superhero actioner. Or as Clarkson would prefer to call this laughable mess, a "psychological thriller." Better still, this dumpster fire is nearly littered with so many familiar superhero movie tropes that it feels more like a satire of the genre, jumping from one hilarious scene to the next even more ridiculous scene. The production is so mediocre and amateurish that it seems made by recent film school graduates, flimsily strung together by practically every gaffe students are typically taught not to overuse. And they clumsily remind the audience every few minutes that this origin story takes place in 2003 — just in case you've forgotten. It also features some of the worst, very noticeable ADR work, more stereotypical of a 70s low-budget exploitation flick than a big-budget Hollywood release, earning it my vote for the best laughably bad movie in a long while. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings Madame Web to Blu-ray on Region Free, BD50 disc inside a blue, eco-elite keepcase with a code for a Digital Copy and a glossy cardboard slipcover. After several skippable trailers, viewers are taken to an animated screen with menu options along the bottom, music and full-motion clips.

Video Review

Ranking:

Madame Web debuts on Blu-ray with an outstanding, near-reference 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode boasting razor-sharp details throughout. Fine lines and objects are very well-defined, from the stitching of costumes and individual hairs to the small features of the city streets and buildings. Facial complexions are healthy and natural with lifelike textures, exposing the pores and minor wrinkles in the cast. The teal-orange cinematography comes off pretty strong, bathing the action in strong fiery oranges and warm golden yellows while reds and blues remain richly saturated and vibrant. Although contrast appears somewhat muted and restrained, whites are clean and brilliant during daylight exteriors. Presented in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, black levels are accurate and inky rich, providing the image with appreciable depth and an attractive cinematic appeal. (Video Rating: 90/100)

Audio Review

Ranking:

The superhero adventure flick swings into home theaters with an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. The design delivers a terrifically engaging and broad soundstage with superb channel separation and balance. For a solid majority of the time, the background is continuously active and crowded with a variety of noises, from the chatter and commotion of city streets to the debris of action sequences. The atmospherics flawlessly move through the surrounds with discreteness and convincing effectiveness, nicely expanding the soundfield and enveloping the listening area. All the while, the mid-range exhibits distinct, room-penetrating clarity during the loudest segments. A robust and periodically wall-rattling low-end provides a palpable feel and presence to the action and the music. With a clear, precise dialogue in the center, the lossless mix is an impressive complement to an otherwise terrible movie. (Audio Rating: 92/100)

Special Features

Ranking:

The Blu-ray disc comes packed with a mediocre and largely dull set of supplements.

  • Casting the Web (HD, 9 min) 
  • Future Vision (HD, 7 min) 
  • Fight Like a Spider (HD, 6 min) 
  • Oracle of the Page (HD, 5 min) 
  • The Many Threads of Madame Web (HD, 4 min) 
  • Gag Reel (HD, 5 min) 
  • Deleted Scene (HD, 1 min)

Final Thoughts

From the script and dialogue to the entire production itself, everything that could go wrong does in Madame Web, the latest entry in Sony's Spider-Man Universe that's not directly associated with the Tom Holland franchise or frankly, related to anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Starring Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney and Tahar Rahim, this laughable mess is arguably better enjoyed — or more like tolerated — as an unintentional satire of the genre or one of the best bad movies to come out of the big-budgeted Hollywood assembly line. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings the superhero flick to Blu-ray with an impressive audio and video presentation, but with a mediocre collection of supplements, the overall package is just another case of "bad flick, good disc" that's Worth a Look at best. 

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review

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Also Available on 4K UHD