Action Comedy

SXSW Review: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

March 17, 2022Ben MK

Creating a blockbuster film franchise is all about synergy. And as far as comic book movies are concerned, nothing screams synergy more than having a shared multiverse. Whether it's the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony's Spider-verse, or the DC Extended Universe, it seems that every single big budget tentpole these days has been carefully constructed to connect and crossover with everything else. But with Everything Everywhere All at Once, the filmmaking team knowns as the Daniels are aiming to turn the notion of the multiverse on its ear — and the outcome is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Starring Michelle Yeoh as a stressed-out laundromat owner named Evelyn Wang, the story centers on a high-stakes multiversal conflict where the good guys — led by a version of Evelyn's husband, Waymond, (Ke Huy Quan) and elderly dad (James Hong) from a universe called the Alphaverse — are trying to stop the bad guys — led by the Alphaverse version of Evelyn and Waymond's daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu) — from bringing about the end of every universe in existence. In order to do so, however, Alphaverse Waymond needs a special weapon, and he thinks he may have found it in our universe's Evelyn, who's "so bad at everything" that her potential is limitless. Meanwhile, the Waymond that Evelyn knows has grown more and more unhappy in their marriage and is trying to build up the courage to ask for a divorce, while the Joy that Evelyn knows has grown apart from and resentful of her mom. All of it comes to a head one day, during a meeting between the Wangs and hard-nosed IRS auditor Diedre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis). And if Evelyn is to save the multiverse, not only will she have to defeat the waves of enemies sent to kill her, she'll also have to find a way to mend her relationships with her family.

It may sound like a lot to cram into one film, and in some ways it is. However, Everything Everywhere All at Once steps up to the challenge in a big way. Ridiculously cartoonish, action-packed and over-the-top, this is a movie that draws you in with its head-popping concepts, whiz-bang execution and all-in attitude. What's most surprising, however, is the heart-filled emotional wallop of its final act. Yes, the spectacle of it all will most likely leave you with a huge grin on your face, but you might even find yourself leaving the theater misty-eyed as well.

Everything Everywhere All at Once screens under the Headliners section at the 2022 South by Southwest Film Festival. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 19 min.

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