Madame Web (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

After a couple of Venom films and a Morbius, Madame Web is the latest swing and a miss in Sony’s Spider-Man-less Spider-Man universe. Granted, Tom Hardy has pulled in high numbers with his wild take on Eddie Brock, and who knows, maybe the upcoming Kraven the Hunter will spin this web of missed opportunities in a more vital direction. However, as it stands, for all the merit that could come with a film designed to be relatively standalone and focused on strong female characters that would ideally appeal to a teen girl audience, missing the mark in so many ways does no one any favors, and likely keeps Peter Parker swinging in a different direction.


(Note: This review was originally published on February 16, 2024, at We Live Entertainment.)

While anyone at least a little comic book savvy (or those who remember their Spider-Man cartoons well enough) likely recalls the character of Madame Web as being a blind, elderly woman who sits in a fancy chair and passes along cryptic clues to our favorite web-head, this is a film that wants to go over how someone rose to be in this position. Set in 2003 (a loosely applied date, as several elements suggest this was not always the year the movie was supposed to be set in), the goal of Madame Web is to establish how a paramedic-turned-clairvoyant will lead a team of Spider-Women (Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, and Celeste O’Connor) to take on various bad guys. Why we need a whole movie to establish this, rather than get straight to it, emphasizes one of the key issues in this film and why it feels like a regression for 2024 comic book/superhero movies.

Having to go through the motions means watching Madame Web stumble through a series of scenes we’ve seen in plenty of these movies by now. Whether it’s the opening sequence where Dakota Johnson’s Cassandra Webb is born that is straight out of Blade, the awkward realization of having new powers that recalls Daredevil, or the eventual teaming up of seemingly unconnected characters being sought after by another, akin to X-Men, we have all the usual beats in place. Now, of course, many of these films, good and bad, all lift many of the same plotlines to get through their origin stories. Madame Web, sadly, opts to clumsily take its turn, not unlike Fantastic Four (pick one) or Ghost Rider.

It’s evident from the get-go, as we are quickly introduced to the film’s villain, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), whose entire performance appears to have been badly redubbed. Add to that a poorly rendered CG spider, and my hopes for this film to at least top Morbius were quickly dashed. Cut to the film’s 2003(ish) present day, and you have Johnson and Adam Scott’s Ben Parker (aha!) doing their best to at least have fun banter before things take a turn. There’s probably something to be said about a paramedic whose abrasiveness and desire to be left alone is only countered by a strong sense of duty. However, that’s undone by the movie’s inability to show Cassandra as a hero we actually want to root for.

At times like these, one would want to at least be able to say something along the lines of, “For all its flaws, Johnson holds onto her dignity,” or whatever, but that’s not the case here. Detached in a way that suggests “this isn’t the film I signed on for,” Johnson hits a few necessary beats early on, only to become a character either annoyed by those around her or making a choice to leave the annoying characters around her to solve the mystery of why said irritants are being targeted. It makes her an odd superhero, and Johnson joins the other cast members by delivering lines in the style of “fifth attempt during Zoom re-recording” sessions.

Read the rest of the review HERE.


Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Even when keeping the bland cinematography choices in mind, this at least benefits from being a 4K Sony release. The UHD presentation does a fine job presenting the film as intended, which includes some nicely detailed work anytime these characters step outside. The few moments of action and the visual effects-heavy moments do well in being seen cleanly and clearly. It all makes for a transfer that does all it can to deliver.

Depth: There is plenty to appreciate about the sense of depth here, as the way we see people crawling on walls and a constant barrage of vehicles crashing into things adds to the sense of dimensionality.

Black Levels: There are a lot of indoor settings and nighttime scenes that speak to seeing an optimal amount of steady black levels, and it’s true. No sign of crushing.

Color Reproduction: It may be a drab story with boring composition, but there are a lot of colors on display. Costume design emphasizes the bright primaries this film has going for it, which are reflected well here.

Flesh Tones: Rich textures allow facial close-ups and detail to shine.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing in sight.



Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English DTS-HD TrueHD 7.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Francais, Español

Dynamics: Sony doesn’t disappoint with its Dolby Atmos track. Plenty of work goes into the various settings this film clumsily travels to, so at least it all sounds great.

Height: The end of this film has some areas to go in this regard, as the attempts to pull off action that pushes characters around the screen and uses Cassie’s visions decently enough from an audio perspective.

Low-Frequency Extension: The LFE output is fine here, though it only really comes to life toward the film’s end.

Surround Sound Presentation: All the speakers have a chance to shine here. As the film builds its adventure into grander areas, there is plenty for the viewer to take in, with the action that largely involves driving and doing what’s needed in this regard.

Dialogue Reproduction: Every line reading can be heard.



Perhaps the poor box office performance didn’t help, but Sony has not supplied a release full of extras compared to their other Marvel releases. A few featurettes but nothing that substantial come in this package. A commentary would have been neat, though I can only wonder how much can be said regarding a movie that has clearly been altered over time.

Features Include:

  • Future Vision (HD, 7:02) – A standard EPK with the cast and crew
  • Casting the Web (HD, 8:59) – A look at the film’s casting choices.
  • Oracle of the Page (HD, 4:57) – Some focus on the original comics.
  • The Many Threads of Madame Web (HD, 4:01) – Easter eggs are revealed.
  • Fight Like a Spider (HD, 5:58) – A look at the film’s action sequences.
  • Gag Reel (HD, 4:59)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 0:57)
  • Blu-ray Copy of the Film
  • Digital HD Copy of the Film



There’s been very little redeeming value in the Spider-Man-less Sony Spider-Man Universe, and given recent news, this may be the last year audiences will have to deal with any of it. Deciding whether Madame Web is better or worse than Morbius is probably more fun than watching either film. However, if you go forth and watch this film, it looks and sounds solid on 4K, even if the extras leave much to be desired. If you’re going to get caught in this web, it’s not empty, just unfulfilling.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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