[MINOR SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness]
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a masterful science fiction action-comedy about a Chinese immigrant who is suddenly thrust into a massive multiversal conflict. The film is incredibly wacky and odd, yet it is striking an unusually strong chord with audiences. Despite the tangential premise, the film is nothing short of genius on every level. The filmmaking on display is exceptional. The storytelling makes your jaw drop. Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and Stephanie Hsu fill the theater with their emotional and charming performances. Most importantly, Everything Everywhere All At Once‘s ambitious philosophical themes are the most incredible thing one can imagine. Via a quick-paced sci-fi tale featuring an everything bagel and a googly-eyed rock, Everything Everywhere All At Once comprehensively debunks nihilism and cynicism. The film currently has a 4.6 on Letterboxd, the third-highest average rating of all time and highest since 2019’s Parasite, one of my favorite films ever, became a Oscar sensation. This is a similarly monumental ordeal – not since Parasite has the cinematic art been so deftly twisted into something refreshingly new. It’s incredibly difficult to properly express in words why this experience is such a necessity. It transcends mere description; no amount of words can fully sum up such an ordeal. I implore you to see Everything Everywhere All At Once at the Palm Theatre or Downtown Centre as soon as you can. There is not a soul on this planet who has regretted it. It’s 4½ stars on the Rea-ting system, and could become 5 stars upon rewatch. One of the most charismatic and inventive films of all time.
Another multiversal sci-fi action flick is the newest MCU movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. When placed next to All At Once, it’s terrible. With a script a thousand times less clever, and exhaustingly powerful characters, it’s nauseating that the film made almost a dozen times more money than All At Once (on track to be the highest grossing A24 film of all time). The cameo castings were also minorly frustrating, but that’s another conversation entirely. However, as a Marvel entry, Multiverse of Madness isn’t terrible. Directed by Sam Raimi, campy horror extraordinaire, there are a multitude of interesting directorial choices on display here. This Lovecraftian flair makes it probably the most visually inventive of Marvel’s canon. Elizabeth Olsen gives a deliciously maniacal performance, and newcomer Xochitl Gomez is surprisingly competent as America Chavez, a superpowered girl who can spontaneously travel throughout the multiverse. At the end of the day, Multiverse of Madness is entertaining yet unsatisfactory. Literal demons and runes and at least two more alternate-dimensional planes are introduced to a universe that already has five types of gods. The clear lack of an effective script combined with these absurdly fantastical elements exhausted me. I give Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness 2 stars, a harsh rating that nonetheless reflects my thoughts on this convoluted and unfocused film that still has its redeeming qualities.