The spectacular multiverse movie that has the MCU beat
If 2022 wasn’t weird and existential enough, this year will see. It’s a vanity that delights in the idea of our connection to an infinite number of parallel universes, which means that there are other versions of ourselves living different, but not necessarily better, lives.
It’s a concept that A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once wholeheartedly embraces. The exuberance and thrill shown throughout the film’s beautifully shot ride through the multiverse is a true spectacle of weirdness and joy. In my eyes, this is the definitive multiverse movie and one of the best movies of 2022.
Many are eagerly waitingwhich continues the dimension diversions of to further expand the . However, Everything Everywhere All at Once uses the concept of the multiverse to focus on the story of a family just trying to get through tax season – and saving the many universes in the process.
The film begins with Evelyn Wang (played by Michelle Yeoh) trying to get her life and her failing laundry business in order before a trip to the IRS office. As she deals with stress, taxes and getting along with her family, the body of her husband Waymond (played by Key Huy Quan) is hijacked by a parallel universe Waymond. According to the other Waymond, the multiverse is on the verge of collapse due to an interdimensional being searching for this version of Evelyn. Ultimately, THAT Evelyn isn’t a special chosen one, but rather an incarnation of Evelyn “living her worst self.”
I do my best not to spoil the beginning of the film, because the less you know the better. After the first 20 minutes, what follows is a spectacular action-comedy film that channels The Matrix, but with the style of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and similar momentum to James’ The Terminator. Cameron. Yet this film is not a classic sci-fi pastiche, but rather these influences come together to form a totally original whole.
Primarily, the film shows a lot of affection for 1990s Asian cinema, especially the works of Jackie Chan and Wong-Kar Wai. The action scenes are choreographed in the vein of classic action movies like Super Cop and Police Story, all of which are great showcases of physical comedy and kung fu action. But the most dramatic scenes channel the quiet, intimate moments of movies like Wong-Kar Wai’s In The Mood for Love or Chungking Express. These, along with allusions to Western fiction, all seem like disparate elements, but it all adds up to such an exciting and touching mix to watch unfold.
The true centerpiece of the film is Michelle Yeoh. In Everything Everything All at Once, she delivers an impeccable performance as an ordinary middle-aged naturalized American citizen who dreams of what life could be like if she made different choices.
This notion is the hook of the film, and we see some really bizarre moments where Evelyn enters another life and picks up skills and knowledge along the way. On a meta level, this movie spotlights Yeoh’s career as an international movie star and icon, which adds even more weight to his performance. There’s never been a movie like this where Yeoh flexes her comedy, drama, and action movie muscles effortlessly, and it’s been a real treat to watch every scene she’s in.
In many ways, Everything Everywhere All at Once feels like a tribute to Yeoh, showing how talented and often underused she is. But it also delivers great moments for its supporting cast, including Key Huy Quan. This is his first major role after his early retirement due to classification after his roles as Data in The Goonies and Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Quan does indeed play multiple roles in the film, and he deftly jumps between his different Waymond incarnations. One is a shy, self-doubting middle-aged husband, another is a badass resistance fighter who channels the swagger and ease of Hong Kong-style action movie heroes. His scenes are satisfying to watch, and it’s natural to show physical comedy and bond with Yeoh during the movie’s more dramatic heights.
Jamie Lee Curtis, playing Deirdre, is also a fantastic antagonist in the film. An IRS auditor with strong “Karen” energy, Deirdre is imbued with interdimensional powers. Curtis also plays against type as a villain relentlessly stalking a victim. Other stars include James Hong as Evelyn’s aging father and Joy, Evelyn’s daughter (played by Stephanie Hsu), whose different incarnations tie into the film’s emotional arc.
Another reason the movie does so well comes from the creators themselves. The film is directed by Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, get it?), who previously worked on the bizarre but still touching comedy Swiss Army Man and the infamous music video for DJ Snake and Lil’ Jon’s Turn Down for What. That “go-for-broke” energy from their previous works carries over to Everything Everywhere All at Once, and really elevates much of the humor and action into crowd-pleasing moments.
The directors’ style is to push the boundaries of what’s real, almost to the point of venturing into a surreal live-action cartoon. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a surreal film, but it still uses it in the service of its characters. It grounds the film in its emotional core, family, and living with regret. Above all, it is a story of an immigrant living in America, which resonated with me as someone whose relative traveled to a foreign country to make a living.
In the film’s darkest moments, he crosses the boundaries of nihilism when confronted with the infinite nature of the universe, but he ultimately embraces the gift of being alive, even just for the short time we have. have, to be with the people we love. It’s an incredibly vital message, especially for a film that balances steamy action scenes involving villains licking walls or rushing to sing Ave Maria to gain interdimensional powers (this makes perfect sense in the context of the movie).
Everything, Everywhere, Everything At Once is so unorthodox and experimental for an action comedy, and I dug it for it. He puts a lot of his cast in unusual scenes that are so out of the norm for them, and it pays off so well. Lately, there have been comments about the current state of the movies, with sequels and other tie-ins taking center stage. This movie is one of the few to totally punch above its weight to stand alongside the big movies of the year.
It’s a movie that embraces the weird, and that’s such a great quality to have in a movie at this time. There’s a lot more I can say, but you better just watch it yourself. It’s a stunning, hilarious, and just touching film about family, taxes, and the multiverse, and it’s a must-watch for 2022.
Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and more
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