Everything Everywhere All at Once — Marvel-esque Greetings From A24

Fantastic films do not always find an approach to their audience's hearts: for some representatives of the latter, fictional universes seem too pretentious, strange or disconnected from reality. Especially when it comes to the new A24 project which presents a great variety of such universes — from the one in which you can defeat an opponent with literally one little finger, to the one where the main characters appear as pinatas. The story told in Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) gives us a glance at the life of the person who is completely dissatisfied with their fate and thus gets indifferent to everything.

by Anastasia Ageeva


Evelyn, with her family consisting of a mumbling husband Waymond, careless LGBTQ+ daughter Joy, and a sick father in a wheel-chair, owns a laundromat. When they come to the bank to check their financial condition, they are unable to explain side spendings on karaoke and other entertainment. So, it's time to declare their bankruptcy, but then salvation appears out of nowhere — and Evelyn finds out the truth about the multiverse. Alpha-Waymond opens up her eyes on the infinity of variations of the world around. But only Evelyn from our reality is able to keep all the worlds from plunging into chaos.

On the whole, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a collection of the most eccentric ideas of its creators, complemented with a great sense of humour and fresh visuals. From the first minutes, cameraman Larkin Syple and editor Paul Rogers create a perfect symbiosis around the protagonist conveying the pace of her life — it shocks and makes even the most stress-resistant viewers squirm on the chair. It is not surprising that it is this variation of Evelyn who is able to save the multiverse from the Great Evil — you should just try juggling family, tax problems, and business and sublimating the desire to send everyone to hell.

Eclectic stylization of every episode as a different genre of cinema does not seem excessive as well — it is needed to shake up your mind and reset it, as it happens with Evelyn. The character discards everything that clogs her mind in order to understand what really matters. Directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Steinert offer the viewer to look at everyday life from a completely different perspective by making the film in the form of extremely dynamic comics. In one of the universes, evolution has gone along a different branch — and yet, even with unusual limbs, people find a way to stay close to ones they love and care for them.

In fact, this is the main message of the film. The characters articulate it towards the end when the visual attraction slows down. The viewer is not ready for such a change of optics — and the idea quickly slips into the heart, like a fragment of Voldemort's soul into young Harry. It resonates there with many voices, and one of them is definitely Evelyn's.

Nevertheless, the love, which is praised to heaven in this film, is not always in caring and staying close at any time, but it is also in the ability to let go, remove the shackles from loved ones, and give them a chance for an independent life with all its troubles and mistakes. After all, only when we don't feel the limits, we can understand what matters.

The concept of the multiverse has been on popular culture authors' minds for the past few years. It has been addressed in the fourth phase of Marvel (by the way, the producers of Everything Everywhere All at Once are Russo brothers), in the animated series
Rick and Morty (2013 -...) and in other big and small projects. All those phenomena are designed for a different target audience, but they have one common goal — to show us a great variety of ways how we can live our lives. We just need to believe in ourselves.

It happens with Evelyn, who finds herself alone with the responsibility for thousands of worlds. There, as it seems, she is completely established, unlike in the reality where she has to live bearing the burden of everyday life. Only towards the end of the story she realises that all those variations of her were going to understand their essence along the same thorny path. Just looking from different perspectives makes them more glossy.

Putting together all the emotions from this film is as difficult as coming up with an unpredictable action which could transform you into a completely different variation of yourself. Despite the fact that while watching the brain has to work at the speed of light to understand what is going on on the screen, articulating something after the film ends is like describing a colour to a visually impaired person. While outwardly Everything Everywhere All at Once resembles "videogamed" Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), its essence cannot be described with a couple of sentences with a consistent narrative — it just needs to be felt. Therefore, the creators did not even bother to give the film a slogan. Come up with it by yourself! Just do it!

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