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‘Madame Web’ Review: Any Way You Spin It, Dakota Johnson’s Marvel Entry Feels Superfluous

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Peter Debruge Chief Film Critic When I was a kid, my mom steered us toward toys that looked like G.I. Joe or Transformers action figures, but weren’t.

Their faces were wack, the joints all wrong, such that the limbs didn’t move right, or else they popped out altogether. Sure, these off-brand imitations cost less than the real thing — that made a difference on my meager allowance — but no amount of imagination could turn my busted GoBots into Optimus Prime.

Now, if 10-year-old me could’ve predicted the future (the way Cassie Webb can), he would’ve seen this disappointment as valuable practice for a movie like “Madame Web,” a hollow Sony-made Spider-Man spinoff with none of the charm you expect from even the most basic superhero movie.

The title mutant — who’s never actually identified by that name — hails from the margins of the Marvel multiverse, which suggests that, much as Sony did with “Morbius” and “Venom,” the studio is scrounging to find additional fringe characters to exploit.

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