A Multiverse Without Intellectual Property – by Alec Dent
Everything everywhere all at once just released in the US two weeks ago, and even with the majority of the year to come, it’s already guaranteed a spot on every top 10 list from every movie critic in the country. It’s so good. It’s trippy, it’s breathtaking, it’s a take on the multiverse that makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s current attempt to bring the concept to the big screen boring.
The Basic Premise: Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) finds the monotony of her life upended when an alternate version of her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) contacts her to warn her that a multiversal threat is tearing timelines apart, and she may being the only one who can stop her because her unique life of rejection and failed dreams places her in a good position to access other, more successful versions of herself in the multiverse. Stunning visuals, brilliantly choreographed fight scenes and an unexpected number of laughs ensue.
I don’t want to go into more detail than that. To do that would be to ruin a movie that I expected to be good and still surprised me. Yeoh shines as a frustrated middle-aged Evelyn who suddenly gets another chance to live out every dream she’s ever had. Her chemistry with Stephanie Hsu, who plays her daughter Joy, and Quan is amazing to watch; his family forms the heart and much of the comedy of the film. Hsu’s dual role as Joy and antagonist is both fun and menacing, and it’s fun to see Quan, who you might recognize as Indiana Jones, Short Round or Data’s sidekick. from The Goonies— back to acting after retiring from acting 20 years ago.
The trio – plus Jamie Lee Curtis as IRS Inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdra and a whole host of other powerful supporting characters – engage in some of the best fight scenes Hollywood has done since the first. Matrix film. They are innovative and smart and they feel real in a way that so many movie fights don’t these days. If CGI was used, it is not apparent.
Between fights, the characters bicker and talk about things every family does. Intergenerational conflict causes the Wang family to reflect not only on their family discord, but also on deeper issues. Everything everywhere all at once is part family drama, part fish-out-of-water comedy, part sci-fi thriller, part metaphysical thinker, and part a million other things. In other words, it lives up to its title. It’s the most creative movie Hollywood has produced in a long time, just as funny, if not funnier, than anything Marvel and Disney release without the IP studios having come to believe it’s necessary to that the films succeed, and infinitely more interesting. and beautiful to look at.
When people complain that much of what Hollywood does these days is just sequels, reboots and remakes, Everything everywhere all at once is the type of film they would like to do more. Go see him. Reward originality.