Dakota Johnson’s Web Will No Longer Connect Us All

"I had never done anything like it before," Johnson told Bustle. "I probably will never do anything like it again because I don’t make sense in that world."

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Dakota Johnson’s Web Will No Longer Connect Us All

In the weeks since its Valentine’s Day theatrical release, Dakota Johnson’s Madame Web has become something of a cult favorite, primarily for being an almost endearingly bad movie. This feat was achieved through its comically weak script, comically dry acting, comically unconvincing visual effects, and weeks of Johnson’s comically bizarre press tour. But unfortunately, in classic Cassandra Web fashion, Johnson has seen the future of Madame Web and she is not in it: In an interview with Bustle published Tuesday, Johnson seemed to bow out of the franchise in which she portrays the titular madame whose web connects us all. 

“I had never done anything like it before. I probably will never do anything like it again because I don’t make sense in that world. And I know that now,” Johnson told the outlet, adding that she understood why Madame Web was “ripped to shreds” and called the movie a “real learning experience”

This interview alone doesn’t tell us what the Madame Web franchise’s future holds or whether this future exists at all. (Incidentally, the movie’s future-facing conclusion seems to suggest not one but multiple sequels.) But it certainly makes clear Johnson would very much like to be excluded from any sequel. The actress further suggested that the finished product of the movie wasn’t what she’d expected. (Granted, she’s also said that she hasn’t seen it yet but may do so “someday.”) “Sometimes in this industry, you sign on to something, and it’s one thing and then as you’re making it, it becomes a completely different thing, and you’re like, ‘Wait, what?’” Johnson said. She added, “Of course it’s not nice to be a part of something that’s ripped to shreds, but I can’t say that I don’t understand.”

Johnson also doubled down on her previous criticisms during the Madame Web press tour about big studios and how movies are made today: “My feeling has been for a long time that audiences are extremely smart, and executives have started to believe that they’re not. Audiences will always be able to sniff out bullshit,” she said. Movies “are made by a filmmaker and a team of artists around them,” Johnson explained. “You cannot make art based on numbers and algorithms.”

This is all very fair and in the spirit of supporting everyone as they follow their dreams, I support Johnson wriggling her way out of whatever contract or sticky little web that Marvel-slash-Sony or whichever major studio might have her in as the Madame Web. But I’m still sad about it. I respect that the entertainment industry is pretty bleak when movies like Madame Web can be made while projects that are a tad bit more meaningful stall. But I’m also eternally drawn to the fun dumpster fire of a truly bad movie like Madame Web, a movie that’s so bad that it becomes an instant classic. I’ll never forget the moment I witnessed a CGI edit so silly that I didn’t think any of it could get any sillier but then—bam!—the next scene had Dakota talking to her cat in a stilted monotone voice at such a pivotal moment that all everyone in my theater could do is rise up from our premium reclining AMC seats and clap. These are the experiences we need. 

Yes, as a society, we probably need more movies like Parasite and Poor Things and Everything Everywhere All at Once. But I need Madame Web—particularly Johnson in Madame Web—and that should count for something…

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