Depending on where you look, Everything everywhere all at once is a sci-fi, comedy-fantasy, comedy-drama, dark comedy family adventure. None of these descriptors on their own would provide an accurate expectation for the film unless accompanied by its action movie designation.
Whether in the middle of film or in the sandboxes of video games, fans of action-oriented media have been prepared to expect an almost standardized narrative trajectory – our hero will spend some time orient before engaging in a series of battles, culminating in a consummate boss battle. We are conditioned not to overinvest in the fight or chase scene that punctuates the first act, nor in the twist, the nadir of the situation or the exploded building that animates the second. We know the sternness of the coolness in each of these moments should be considered a mere appetizer for the jaw-dropping awesomeness the creative team has reserved for the finale.
Even if that’s not the creative direction the team had in mind. If they prefer the second act to be where the artistic flags are best planted or think the tour de force flourishes are best served with the opening credits, they will be judged for how they sound that last one. bell, fair or not. For some franchises, their action-picture identities are wrapped up in these climaxes. The Terminator franchise will die on a hill of smoldering industrial debris. A star wars The film will most likely end with a battle involving many ships. While audiences may want something new for an action movie’s ending, assuming they’re emotionally tied to the same grand finale might be a safer bet.
It is not a trap of franchise cinema, as much as a characteristic of genre cinema. A must-have feature of the action genre seems to be this video game-like escalation in enemy “difficulty.” Across the slices, sure, but also just across the genre. It’s a friendly competition for form, as much as a competition for public money. Whether Fast and Furious will swing a muscle car on a grappling hook, then Impossible mission will hang its star upside down from an airplane in flight. Everything everywhere all at once moves everywhere as if preparing for this kind of competition as usual, eager to throw his hat into the ring of legendary, climactic shows or martial arts movie climaxes.
The film begins with Evelyn (michelle yeo) and Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan) showing us the bickering and stagnation of their pre-divorce lives, including running a business under audit by the IRS, harboring a stepdad/stepdad unimpressed with life choices of Evelyn and the management of a girl suffering from his whole being to be seen for who she is and not who they want her to be. This is a first set of well-executed comedy-drama beats that feel honest, but audiences are primed for it to be a setup for action, which technically it is. But, it’s just not everything it is.
The story engines really begin to hum when, at the IRS office, Evelyn is contacted by Alpha Waymond from another universe – a pivotal universe – who informs her that the All-Universe War is on. course, and that she must not only participate but lead the charge.
Therefore, the movie really feels like it kicks off when a group of security guards – galvanized by a reckless misunderstanding – descend on Evelyn in that same office, and Alpha Waymond snaps into fanny pack punches. , a ballet exhibit that gives us our first look at the directors fight scene style The Daniels Reserve. It’s all shot candidly, without overly frantic editing, and this cohesive display of physicality is as exhilarating as it is ridiculous. From there, it’s on. Multi-verse, jaw-dropping, jaw-dropping exposition scenes flow in and out with inventive action scenes that heighten the danger and implications of the characters each time. The more Evelyn learns about otherworldly versions of herself—each of them more self-actualizing than herself, for better or worse—the greater the weight of her own disappointment with her life choice is heavy. Every fight with plug-powered henchmen and Jamie Lee CurtisAggressive tax inspector Deirdre feels like Evelyn is fighting against herself.
Each fight sees slightly reimagined characters, sees an increase in the number of enemies; each a barrier to break down before we can move on to the next place, setting or world. Once the main antagonist, Jobu Tupaki, is introduced, the existentialism of the material and its visual presentation becomes wilder, especially in the second act. Jobu is bored, vengeful and cruel. She is a variant of Evelyn’s daughter, Joy, a girl steeped in disappointed depression and self-hostility, fueled by her mother’s inability – all versions of her mother – to come to terms with her sexuality and identity. . The Daniels build to such a gonzo crescendo of deconstructionist mayhem that, by the third act, the audience is ready for their version of a Kill BillCrazy 88 clinch style, or a “heavy brawl” like The Matrix Reloaded. But what the Daniels have in store is something more touching and moving.
It becomes clear that the human drama surrounding the bursts of action is not the potatoes but the meat. By the time we reach the “combat” of the third act, the storyline has set up multiple obstacles to our heroes’ ultimate victory, and all of them carry emotional weight. Through her other selves, Evelyn is confronted with realities that strike as heavy revelations about herself. Knowing that his other talents would have paid off adds to that shock. To overcome it, she must accept her life choices. He is his final boss. She sacrificed herself for her husband, more than she knew, and this husband wants a divorce. Her daughter’s anger is fueled in part by the acceptance Evelyn continues to hold back. Joy’s foot soldiers are anonymous people deployed as weapons, deactivated only by being given something they really need, no matter how obscure. Help with their torticollis or the smell of their wife’s perfume.
These are the blows Evelyn must deliver; plus the bonds she must establish with her husband, Deirdre and Joy, and the forgiveness she must reserve for herself. These are ingredients used to prepare the climax of our action movie. Instead of skipping scenes of multiple protagonists in multiple locations, engaging in very costly battles on multiple fronts, we have Evelyn, vulnerable with the people she loves. Being emotionally generous to herself, while engaging in some of the best martial arts photography on the silver screen in years.
The energy of the performance makes the moments of face-to-face dialogue – like Waymond’s plea for kindness – truly touching and epic. When Evelyn decides to “fight” her enemies with some of Waymond’s kindness, it’s a gauntlet that’s on. It’s a reminder that action film also has different schools, different leagues, and it’s important to make the dramatic elements feel as labored as the cinematic spectacle that drew us in.
Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis on ‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once,’ The Daniels and How They Filmed the Movie in 30 Days