A24’s Everything Everywhere All At Once is getting some rave reviews in movie media circles, and for good reason. Although its multiverse premise seems like a product of the Marvel alternate universe trend, it delivers something highly original and entertaining.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a mouthful of a title. The movie seems to do that on purpose, as the film is a lot to take in so quickly. It stars Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan as laundromat owners on the verge of divorce. They are also facing an audit with an IRS and family troubles with their daughter.
If that wasn’t enough to deal with, Quan’s character quickly transforms from a meandering husband to a martial arts expert in a blink of an eye. It becomes known that Quan’s character is taken over from an alternate version of himself and has to save Yeoh’s character from an otherworldly being hunting her. She quickly has to gain the skills of the other versions of herself to face this greater threat.
This film is best experienced going in blind, as there are so many great surprises and scenes. There are tons of fight scenes using ridiculous weapons or jumps to alternate dimensions. For instance, there is a wildly hilarious scene involving a butt plug (and that’s all I’m going to say regarding the subject). Even though the story follows a linear structure, there are plenty of scenes that jump to different universes where alternate life paths are explored.
While the plot is nothing too complicated or unique, there are some fantastic scenes and performances throughout the whole movie. Yeoh is finally granted a long overdue starring role in this fantastically fun film. She is great as an immigrant mother scolding her daughter, played by Stephanie Hsu, and it is especially great seeing her evolve into the alternate versions of herself–sometimes in the same scene. In the end, it all culminates in Yeoh using all of her specific skills to save the day.
Another standout was Ke Huy Quan. It was a delight to see a major motion picture with Quan in the spotlight. Best known for The Goonies and playing Short Round in the Indiana Jones series, Quan said he returned to acting after seeing the success of Crazy Rich Asians. He grandly returns, stealing every scene he is in.
While this is no Marvel film by any standards, there are some major influences and overlaps. Both Yeoh and Hsu play roles in Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as well as producer credits from multiple Marvel project directors Anthony and Joe Russo. It definitely has the flash and cinematics worthy of a billion-dollar MCU project.
If you have a chance to see EEAAO, it is most definitely worth a watch in theaters. There are so many scenes by the famous directing duo, Daniels (Swiss Army Man, The Death of Dick Long), that prompt great audience reactions. If you’re looking for an excuse to return to theatres, this should be the movie to experience it with.