Marvel has familiarized fans with the concept of the multiverse, a metaphysical theory that sees a collection of parallel universes with alternate realities collide with our own. Marvel superhero superstars Doctor Strange and Spider-Man have both tripped the light fantastic in recent films. Joining them on a cinematic full tilt boogie trip into other worlds is Michelle Yeoh, star of the full tilt boogie sci fi mindbender “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” now playing in theatres.
The action begins in a suburban Southern California laundromat run by Evelyn Wang (Yeoh) and husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan). The couple have a meeting with the IRS and the situation is dire. “You may only see a pile of receipts,” says bureaucrat Dierdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis), “but I see a story. I can see where this story is going, and it does not look good.”
The meeting takes a weird twist when Waymond shoves Evelyn into a broom closet, sending her off to another dimension to battle an evil spirit called Jobu Tupaki, armed only with a Bluetooth headset.
“I’m not your husband,” he explains. I’m another version from another universe. I’m here because I need your help. Across the multiverse I’ve seen thousands of Evelyns. You can access all their memories, their emotions, even their skills. There’s a great evil spreading throughout the many verses. And you may be our only chance of stopping it.”
And away she goes, off on an adventure involving multiple Evelyns as a chef, a martial arts expert and movie star. As she verse-jumps, she must absorb the powers of all her alternate personalities and bring them back to the IRS offices.
“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is the most aptly titled movie of the year. A frenetic assault on the senses, it is a wild and woolly adventure where the quirk factor is turned up to 11 and literally anything could happen. A universe where everyone has hotdogs for fingers? Check. A heartfelt conversation between two sentient rocks? Check. A bagel that contains the secrets of the universe? Check.
You can say a lot of things about “Everything Everywhere All At Once” but you can’t say you’ve ever seen anything quite like it before. An eye-popping reflection on the power of kindness and love to heal the world’s problems, it is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. The directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, known collectively as The Daniels, mix and match everything from family drama and tax problems to martial-arts and metaphysics into a whimsical story that moves at the speed of light. The result is a singular film that milks intentionality out of its madness.