Cube Critics discuss ‘Madame Web’ and ‘The Iron Claw’

Two movie stills side by side
Dakota Johnson (left) and Sydney Sweeney in "Madame Web" and Zac Efron in "The Iron Claw."
Courtesy of Sony Entertainment and A24

Cube Critics Jacob Aloi and Sam Stroozas discuss “Madame Web” and “The Iron Claw.”

The following is a transcription of the audio heard using the player above, lightly edited for clarity.

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MPR News Art Reporter Jacob Aloi: This movie was so horrible, like I can’t even like begin to describe how much I hated this movie, and I paid money to see it. And with that, my name is Jacob Aloi.

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MPR News Digital Producer Sam Stroozas: And I’m Sam Stroozas.

Aloi: And this is the Cube Critics.

So. Sam, this week I saw “Madame Web,” which is the newest addition to the Sony Spider-Man universe.

Now, this is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s produced by Sony and made by Sony. And the reason why it’s not part of the MCU is because there’s some legal dealings with who owns the rights to who can make movies about Spider-Man and characters associated with Spider-Man.

So anyway, this is part of the “Venom” universe, the horrible “Morbius” movie that’s part of this universe as well. And this one is called “Madame Web.” It stars Dakota Johnson as a woman named Cassie Webb, who gains powers through mystical means, and she gains the ability to see the future and is tasked with saving three high schoolers — who may get powers in the future — from being murdered by an evil billionaire, I think.

This movie was confusing and bad. I’m just going to say it, it was pretty terrible. It very much reminds me of “Morbius” and all of those horrible Spider-Man Sony movies.

There’s nothing really redeeming about it other than it’s a fun hate-watch. The CGI is terrible. The audio is terrible. Everything about it from beginning to end is really rough and hard to watch. So “Madame Web,” in theaters if you are a glutton for punishment.

Stroozas: So, I’m talking about a movie that I did see a month ago, but it’s definitely one that I’m still thinking of: “The Iron Claw.”

So it is a true story of a family of wrestlers in the 1980s. It stars Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White. I feel like Zach did amazing. I’ve known he has been a star since “High School Musical” — one, two and three. And I just feel like he’s finally getting a lot of recognition. The soundtrack was really great. I’ve had it on repeat, lots of vibes like “Tom Sawyer” by Rush.

I don’t really care about sports that much, obviously. But immediately I was sucked into the whole movie. It is just this beautiful narrative of brothers and family. And what it kind of means to have toxic masculinity rule your life so much. And to kind of decide how things have to work out not — only in your personal life, but also in your professional life.

I’ve seen a lot of people compare it to kind of a “Little Women” or “Virgin Suicides,” but for men. So I feel like that tracks a lot because I feel like a lot of people don’t understand what those movies feel like. But this is a really good example of just the masculinity.

And so many people in the theater were just crying. It was a very intimate and personal movie. And for me, it was really disappointing that Zac was not nominated for any awards because I think it really did solidify his career in my eyes. And again, it was very beautiful.

I think people that know more about wrestling than me will understand it a bit more, but I still had a great time.