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Madame Web

The Madame Web character first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man comic book in 1980. Cassandra Webb/Madame Web is an elderly woman with a neuromuscular disease and is connected to a life support system that looks like a spider’s web. She is a mutant with precognitive and clairvoyant powers who is an ally of Spider-Man. Madame Web serves as an origin story for the eponymous character, though it changes elements of her backstory significantly. Dakota Johnson plays Cassandra ‘Cassie’ Webb here.

The Spider-Women

In the movie, Cassie meets three young women: Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney), Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor), and Anya Corazón (Isabela Merced), who are all destined to become superheroines. Julia is based on Julia Carpenter in the comics, who unwittingly becomes the subject of an experiment to create a superhero with Spider-Man-like powers. Mattie, who is the niece of Daily Bugle editor J Jonah Jameson (alluded to in the movie’s dialogue, but doesn’t actually appear here), gained her powers through an occultic ritual, in which her father, Madame Web, and Norman Osborn/Green Goblin were participants. Lastly, Anya was recruited by sorcerer Miguel Legar to be part of the Spider Society, with him transferring some of his powers to her. In this movie, all three characters have yet to gain the superpowers seen in Ezekiel’s visions (see below).

Ezekiel Sims

The movie’s villain, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #33 in 2001. The character is a wealthy businessman who draws his powers from the Great Weaver, who is one of the Spider-Totems: multiversal supernatural beings connected to a mystical force called the Web of Life and Destiny. Madame Web ties Ezekiel’s origins to Cassandra — he accompanied her mother, Constance (Kerry Bishé), into the Peruvian Amazon in search of a rare spider and ultimately betrayed the latter. Ezekiel has premonitions of being attacked by three costumed superheroines, which is why he pursues Julia, Mattie, and Anya. The movie depicts him in a Spider-Man-like costume, which he does not wear in the comics (the Earth-4 version of Ezekiel does wear a different Spider-Man suit).

Ben Parker (Adam Scott, right)

Ben and Mary Parker

Cassie works as a paramedic alongside Ben Parker (Adam Scott), who would go on to become Uncle Ben, a key figure in the story of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. She also attends the baby shower of Ben’s sister-in-law, Mary (Emma Roberts), who mentions how the baby is “leaping around” in her womb. That said, the movie stops just short of mentioning the name Mary and her husband Richard (who is referred to but not seen in the film) have picked out for their baby: Peter. Later in the movie, Mary’s water breaks as she is in the back of a car during a chase scene.

“With great power comes great responsibility”

The line “with great power there must also come — great responsibility” first appeared in the closing narration of Amazing Fantasy #15, the 1962 comic book that introduced Spider-Man. In later comics, this was made into a motto that Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, as depicted in the 2002 Spider-Man movie. In Madame Web, Cassie journeys to the jungle where her mother died and meets Santiago (José María Yazpik), a member of the Las Arañas, a secret tribe with spider-based powers. He tells Cassie, “When you take on the responsibility, great power will come,” playing on the famous phrase.

Movie Listing
Madame Web

A paramedic with clairvoyant abilities is forced to confront her past. She connects with three young women destined for powerful futures...if they can all survive a deadly present.

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