Film & TV

‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is a Grand Multiverse Spectacle

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Multiverses are all the rage now. 

Whether it be recent releases like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” or upcoming movies like “The Flash,” studios are keen to use alternate realities as a reason for their intellectual property crossover events. From directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, professionally known as Daniels (“Swiss Army Man”), “Everything Everywhere All at Once” joins the growing list of multiversal movies.

This movie sets itself apart from other ones in its lack of reliance on IP, making it the best multiversal movie made in this universe and every other one. 

Tensions are high in the Wang household, where husband and wife Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and Waymond’s (Ke Huy Quan) laundromat is audited by the IRS. At the IRS building, Evelyn finds out from an alternate reality Waymond that parallel universes exist and multiversal threat Jobu Tupaki plans to destroy as many universes as they can.

It’s up to Evelyn to save her world and millions of others as she channels her alternate forms, each possessing different abilities than her. 

Staying true to its title, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is an excessive movie — it’s an action-comedy, mind-bending experience, kung-fu romp and family drama all at once. Because of its frantic nature, there’s never a dull moment from start to finish.

There are some truly extraordinary moments — including scenes with hot dogs that must be seen to be believed — which makes this a one-of-a-kind movie. In another sequence, Big Nose, played by a great Jenny Slate (“Parks & Recreation,” “Venom”), fights Evelyn with her dog as a weapon and is one of the funniest action scenes in a film. 

By making the audited Evelyn “The One,” she now joins characters like Neo and Luke Skywalker in the “chosen one” Hall of Fame. But this Evelyn’s life is a series of “what could have been’s” versus her alternate realities living out their dreams. It’s a unique decision by Daniels and it pays off in the emotional climax. 

Courtesy of A24 The A24-produced film is a “future classic,” according to A&E writer Aqib Rasheed.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a future classic because of Daniels’ incredible writing and a career-best performance by Yeoh (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Crazy Rich Asians”). This movie doesn’t work if not for Yeoh’s magnetic and eccentric performance. Her comedic timing is spot on but her talents are fully on display in the action and emotional scenes.

The action is inspired by the films of Stephen Chow (“Shaolin Soccer,” “Kung Fu Hustle”) and Daniels do an incredible job of showcasing Yeoh’s excellent martial arts abilities. On the flip side, there’s a wonderful vignette inspired by Wong Kar Wai’s “In The Mood For Love,” which deserves its own movie. Both Yeoh and Quan (“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” “The Goonies”) are great as Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung stand-ins.

Quan is electric as Waymond, especially as a fast-talking and confident Alpha Waymond from the Alphaverse. Stephanie Hsu (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) gives a versatile performance as Evelyn’s daughter Joy and the great James Hong (“Blade Runner,” “Mulan”) is a delight as Gong Gong, Evelyn’s father. 

The technical aspects of the movie are as good as the performances. Paul Rogers’ editing is tense and sporadic, giving rise to a supercharged pace. Larkin Seiple’s imaginative cinematography is terrific with some intimate and claustrophobic angles and shots.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a story about a Chinese immigrant and Daniels make a masterstroke of a decision by having a large amount of Mandarin, Cantonese and Chinese fusion dialogue. It lends authenticity and sensitivity to the story they’re trying to tell and is a tactic more movies should employ.

Most multiversal films have surprising or shocking moments, but these come in the form of cameos or character reveals. This movie doesn’t have those and doesn’t need them — it’ll have the viewers in awe of the spectacle that it is. There hasn’t been a movie like this and it’ll be hard to see someone other than Daniels topping it.

The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) better watch their back — the Michelle (Yeoh) Cinematic Universe is in town. 

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” rated R, releases in theaters April 8.

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