Marvel’s hotly-anticipated live-action film Madame Web released its trailer yesterday, which includes a star-studded cast with the likes of Fifty Shades Of Grey’s Dakota Johnson and blonde bombshell Sydney Sweeney from Euphoria.
Dakota Johnson, 34, stars as the title’s superhero, who starts off as a normal New York City girl, a paramedic named Cassandra Webb, later encountering villain Ezekiel Sims.
However, after suffering a near-death experience, Cassandra finds herself inexplicably endowed with an ability to see into the future.
As she begins to embrace her developing superpowers, she connects with three other woman she has been linked to by mysterious chance.
The trailer starts with Cassandra walking into a diner, confronted by the supervillain Zeke, played by French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim, 41, shortly after.
Pure evil: Paramedic Cassandra is confronted by the supervillain Ezekiel Sims, played by French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim
Fans may remember Tahar playing ‘the bikini killer’ Charles Sobraj who preyed on Western tourists travelling on the hippie trail of South Asia during the 1970s, from BBC‘s drama The Serpent two years ago.
His character Zeke, who has the same basic powers as Spider-Man sports a darker uniform than his counterpart, and begins to terrorise the diner in the trailer uploaded to YouTube by Sony Pictures Entertainment.
He and Cassandra are instantly locked in brutal combat – and matters soon take a turn for the worst when he grabs a table knife and drives it into her abdomen.
Flash to Cassandra outside the diner, as the audience realises the whole fight scene has just been her glimpse into the future if she dares walk into the restaurant.
Cassandra decides against a course of action that ends with her getting stabbed, whispering: ‘Let’s try that again,’ before opting for another route.
The trailer then flashes back to Cassie’s origin story as a jobbing EMT trying to rescue a man from a car wreck on a bridge.
In the course of her attempts, she horrifyingly winds up trapped in the car herself as it slides through the torn-up railing and plunges into the water below.
Once, before attending to a gruesome collision in the city, she had a vision of the whole scene playing out and thus already knew her patient ‘was gonna die.’
Old school villain: Ezekiel Sims first appeared in Marvel comic The Amazing Spider-Man in June 2001, making his character 22 years old
Cassie in a flash has a vision of Zeke entering the carriage and strangling each of the defenseless women one by one.
Thinking fast, racing to prevent the vision from becoming reality, Cassie persuades the women to get off the subway before Zeke arrives.
Once they are all safe, Cassie takes Mattie, Anya and Julia into the woods to explain the bizarre set of circumstances that led to their coming together.
‘I can see the future,’ says Cassie matter-of-factly, prompting Mattie to surprise her by throwing something at her before vamping: ‘She didn’t see that coming.’
It turns out that the four women from the diner and Zeke – the supernatural figures in the story – are interlinked by a strange spiderweb of personal history.
Cassie discovers that Zeke, aka Ezekiel Sims, ‘was in the Amazon with my mom when she was researching spiders right before she died.’
They scarcely have time to marvel at the coincidences before being caught up in a battle to survive against Zeke’s machinations.
Cassie’s superpowers, it turns out, are not restricted to clairvoyance – with just one hand she manages to stop a massive piece of falling debris from crushing Julia, played by Sydney Sweeney.
The source material: It remains unclear as to how close the film will stick to its source material. Madame Web is largely depicted in the comics as an elderly woman who is connected to a life-support system in the shape of a spider web
She will need all the superhuman abilities she can get, inasmuch as her mortal enemy Zeke appears also to be able to look forwards in time.
So Cassie hurtles through a dizzying array of action sequences, to the point Mattie accuses her of ‘showing off’ and she drily replies: ‘Maybe a little.’
The new movie, out February 16, 2024 was created for Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, not to be confused with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man franchise.