When Does Madame Web (2024) Take Place?

Marking the superhero’s first cinematic appearance, ‘Madame Web’ charts the adventures of Cassandra Webb, an NY paramedic gifted with the powers of clairvoyance who embarks on a mission to save the lives of three young girls. The film establishes an origin story for the character, as well as her three companions, Julia Cornwall, Anya Corazón, and Mattie Franklin, all of whom share similar paths as future spider-themed superheroes. In contrast, Ezekiel Sims, another spider-powered individual, becomes the narrative’s antagonist who scrambles to change his perceived future with the use of current technology. However, the film’s unique novelty around the same contemporary technology might lead viewers to wonder about the film’s periodic setting.

Madame Web: A Superhero Origin Story of the Early 2000s

S.J. Clarkson’s ‘Madame Web,’ an unconventional take on a ‘Spider-Man’ story, is set in the early 2000s, particularly the year 2003. The tale’s beginning finds its titular character, Cassie Web, as a loner New Yorker who grew up in the foster system after her mother’s tragic death in the Amazon forests. In her young adulthood, the woman works as a professional Paramedic beside Ben Parker— whom comic book fans will recognize as Peter Parker’s uncle. Nevertheless, the woman’s story remains entirely yet unentangled from any other on-screen superhero stories. Instead, Cassie, Julia, Anya, and Mattie each helm their own origin stories within the film.

Notably, the most evident signifiers of the film’s 2000s period setting come from its technological un-advancements, with characters frequently utilizing non-smart flip phones. Furthermore, the story enforces numerous pop-culture references from 2003, such as an impossible to miss to Beyonce poster and a fight scene choreographed to Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” in-universe labeled as a new hit. Furthermore, the film’s costuming also depicts more visual evidence of the era.

Ngila Dickson, an Academy-Award-Winning costume designer who previously worked on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, was the head of the costume department for ‘Madame Web.’ “The movie is set in 2003, which I have to say was a terrible fashion time, “she joked while discussing the film in a conversation with British Vogue. “It was a really interesting [time] to go back into; it was very chaotic – we were not at our style best.” Nevertheless, despite the fashion challenges of the era, Dickson infused period-appropriate elements in each character’s wardrobe, highlighting their personal style alongside the cultural norm of the time.

Consequently, the film constantly reaffirms its timeline, perfectly conveying the setting of the early 2000s. Interestingly enough, in doing so, the film— defined as a superhero origin movie— also mirrors the pop-culture relevance of superhero movies in real life. While superhero movies have been around for a long time, the early 2000s saw the rise of certain fan favorites, such as Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy or the early ‘X-Men’ series. Thus, whether intentionally or not, ‘Madame Web’ ends up relating to the same through its 2003 period setting.

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