Movie Reviews

Everything Everywhere All At Once Multiverse Explained

Warning: Contains spoilers for Everything Everywhere All at Once.Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s multiverse somehow stands out in an era where multiverses have become all too common. Written and directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as the Daniels), the film dives deep into the concept of the multiverse, unleashing its chaos on its unsuspecting protagonist and turning her world upside down. The sci-fi adventure has been praised by critics for its story, characters and visualization of what multiple universes look like. In fact, Michelle Yeoh won the 2023 Golden Globe Award for best actress in a musical/comedy for her lead role as Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once, while Ke Huy Quan got his first nomination in the best actor in a motion picture category.

Everything Everywhere All at Once bagging two awards at the 2023 Golden Globes and getting nominated for several more underscores how effectively and uniquely it tackles the multiverse, a concept that has been touched on in a plethora of media. The concept itself is based on a hypothetical — that multiple universes exist simultaneously, each of which is composed of the same elements that make up our own world. The multiverse theory has taken root in works of science fiction, with movies, TV shows, and comics tapping into the concept to create their own rules and variations on fictional multiverses. Everything Everywhere All at Once centers the multiverse in its story about Evelyn Wang, a Chinese American woman who is tapped to save the multiverse from potential destruction thanks to her daughter’s doppelgänger, Jobu Tupaki (Stephanie Hsu). The film’s version of the multiverse has plenty of its own rules and introduces some fascinating ways to allow its characters to move from one plane of existence to another.

Related: Everything Everywhere All At Once: Bagels & Googly Eyes Meaning Explained

In Everything Everywhere All at Once’s multiverse, the Alpha-Verse is the cream of the crop. The residents of the Alpha-Verse know the most about the multiverse, its rules, and how to tap into each one because they are first to have discovered its existence. Crucially, the Alpha-Verse was the first to develop technology to track the direction of the other universes, as well as the ability to mentally tap into the other parts of the multiverse. It’s possible the Alpha-Verse was the original universe before all the other splits happened — somewhat similar to the MCU’s Sacred Timeline. After all, each parallel universe is created after a decision is made by someone that then branches off, so it’s likely the Alpha-Verse is one of the older universes.

Their technology was created, however, to track, observe, and learn about the multiverse without interfering with its balance. The origin of the Alpha-Verse in Everything Everywhere All at Once offers a better explanation as to why they are the main universe among several. Whereas in Marvel and DC comics, the multiverse system is a numbered one and there’s no reason given as to why the main universes — such as DC’s Earth-Prime — are the primary ones. Indeed, the Daniels have crafted a film that allows audiences to understand the thought process behind the Alpha-Verse and why it is considered the primary universe. This is one of the reasons why Everything Everywhere All At Once is considered one of the best science fiction movies of 2022.

Everything Everywhere All At Once‘s multiverse — like in any good sci-fi adventure — is governed by particular rules. Everything Everywhere All at Once may have an extensive multiverse, but the characters can’t do whatever they want at will. With the use of Alpha-Verse technology, people are able to verse-jump, but it’s not exactly how it sounds. Alpha-Verse Waymond, for example, can’t simply jump from one universe to another through teleportation, nor can he physically hop from one multiverse to another at whim. Rather, verse-jumping is the ability to tap into a doppelgänger’s consciousness from another parallel universe and take control of their mind for a short time. This is done without the other person realizing, which is why Waymond doesn’t remember anything after his Alpha-Verse counterpart has abandoned his consciousness and moved back into his own.

This is similar to Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange dreamwalking into variants in other universes, and just like dreamwalking, verse-jumping across Everything Everywhere All At Once‘s multiverse requires some effort. The verse-jumpers have to find a way to slingshot their mind across the multiverse and into whichever consciousness they need at the time. The Alpha-Verse technology calculates precisely what is needed; usually, the verse-jumper is required to do something fairly weird and ridiculous to accomplish it. Declaring of love to one’s enemy or a sharp object being shoved up one’s butt are just a few of the strange situations the characters find themselves in. Moreover, Evelyn, Alpha-Verse Waymond, Everything Everywhere All At Once villain Jobu Tupaki, as well as other characters, have to wait for their headphone-like verse-jumping devices to turn green before they’re allowed to jump to ensure a complete and safe entrance into a doppelgänger’s consciousness. Otherwise, as Evelyn quickly realized, the verse-jump will rattle her mind and blur the lines between each jump.

Related: Everything Everywhere All At Once Editor Shares Multiverse Secrets

Alpha-Verse Joy is the first to be able to access the multiverse at will because Alpha-Verse Evelyn pushed her daughter to experiment with verse-jumping. When it came to be too much, Alpha-Verse Joy’s (or Jobu Tapaki) mind couldn’t heal between jumps and it split her consciousness across the multiverse, allowing her to verse-jump at will and tap into her doppelgänger’s’ minds simultaneously. Evelyn’s mind came to be the same by the end of Everything Everywhere All At Once. After verse-jumping so often — and doing so without being completely ready or allowing her mind to heal from a previous jump — Evelyn’s consciousness also became split as she tapped into all the versions of herself throughout the multiverse.

The multiverse is a concept that has been explored in several mediums, including comics, TV shows, and other movies. The animated series Rick and Morty has grappled with the multiverse, seeing its main characters interact with different versions of themselves. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse also successfully delved into a multiversal plane that saw its lead, Miles Morales, interacting with various iterations of his superhero moniker. Most recently, Spider-Man: No Way Home opened up the gateway to the multiverse after Doctor Strange’s spell went awry, bringing in several villains who knew Spider-Man’s identity. In the world of comics, as is typically the same with its live-action counterparts, not every universe has a set of doppelgängers. Another earth could be just that, another earth, with different people and diverse in aesthetic, but all existing within the same bubble.

What distinguishes Everything Everywhere All at Once’s multiverse from the typical superhero/sci-fi fare is the explanation behind its existence. The world in the film is primarily cause and effect. Each parallel world is the same in many respects, but a new universe is formed every time someone makes a choice that deviates from a certain trajectory. Kung fu Evelyn became an actress because she chose not to leave her parents behind to marry Waymond; the hot dog universe exists because of an evolutionary change in humanity’s past. This is a big part of why Everything Everywhere All At Once‘s multiverse is arguably better than both the MCU or the DCEU. It isn’t that the various worlds in the multiverse exist separately or are exact mirrors, but they are all birthed in connection to a previous world. It also continues growing, like a tree and its branches, linked together by its roots. It gives Everything Everywhere All at Once a unique take as it looks at the multiverse and its many facets with a new eye.

While it may seem at first glance that Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s multiverse satirizes how popular sci-fi and fantasy is obsessed with the idea of multiple universes, it’s actually not intended as a parody. Alongside Rick and Morty, The Witcher, and Marvel and DC movies, Everything Everywhere All At Once is part of a wave of contemporary media that uses the multiverse concept as a narrative device. However, compared to all these other movies and shows, Everything Everywhere All At Once’s deeper meaning shines because it’s a one-shot, low-budget film that somehow manages to pull off the most compelling exploration of the multiverse in recent history.

Related: Does Everything Everywhere All At Once Have An End-Credits Scene?

Although the humor behind the movie makes it seem like a parody, Everything Everywhere All At Once is a serious film about finding meaning in the vast meaninglessness of the multiverse’s infinite possibilities. Ultimately, the movie stands out in contemporary sci-fi/fantasy because it cleverly uses the idea of multiple universes to craft a humorous yet sincere story that actually gets to the core of why scientists and philosophers came up with the idea of the multiverse in the first place — humanity’s endless search for life’s meaning. Indeed, Everything Everywhere All At Once is not a parody of the MCU’s Multiverse/alternate timelines or any other popular mainstream multiversal story — but the superhero and sci-fi genres can certainly learn a thing or two from how the Daniels used the multiverse to tell a story that’s relatable to every family.

Next: Best Movies Of 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button