Multiverse movies seem to be all the rage right now in Hollywood, well, at least in the comic book movie industry. Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness premieres in May, Spider-Man: No Way Home was a critical and commercial success, DC's upcoming The Flash film, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse are just some of the entries that have used this idea as a plot device.
One of the biggest issues people seem to have with movies these days is that nothing feels original, and it's a fair criticism. Most films that dominate at the box office are, as Martin Scorsese would put it, "theme park rides." It's a Marvel movie, a DC film, or any of the other massively successful franchises that people either love, tolerate, or have grown to hate.
Many films that use this narrative tend to struggle under the weight of it. The comic book films that have used it are lucky enough to have the franchises they are a part of to fall back on, should they fail. If it doesn't, then the ability to pivot back to what works and what people expect is not difficult.
So, how does an original IP like Everything Everywhere All at Once set itself apart from the rest? Like the others, it relies on a similar narrative device, uses impressive and outlandish special effects, and probably leads to just as many questions as it does answers.
This movie succeeds because it is, at its heart, a film about the power and importance of family and the struggle of remaining optimistic in the face of unending disappointment and nihilistic attitudes towards life and love.
Life beats you down, but even if it does, the ones that love you will always be there to pick you up when you fall. In the words of modern-day poet and philosopher Dominic Toretto, "You don't turn your back on family, even when they do."