Hollywood finds new life exploring the magic of the multiverses

Movie magic shines its complex brilliance in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ and ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’, both released in the springtime of 2022.

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Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios. Doctor Strange managing the multiverses in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’.

Photo Courtesy of A24. Evelyn Wang uses her chaotic powers in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once.’

What would human existence look like if we ventured further out of our universe, beyond theorizing space aliens, and found ourselves belonging to different timelines altogether? Welcome to Hollywood’s latest fascination, the multiverse. This spring, two major films have been released in theaters, both heavily centered around this fantastical prospect of multiversal expansion. A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once and Marvel Studio’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness debuted less than two months after each other, marking this as a strange coincidence yet welcomed by fans and critics alike.

In short, Dan Kwan and Daniel Schneibert’s Everything Everywhere All at Once is split up into three acts that correlate to the film’s unique title. Evelyn Wang, played by the sensational Michelle Yeoh, is in a predicament managing a laundromat with her husband, with whom she is in the process of divorcing while trying to support her daughter. During an IRS audit, Evelyn’s husband morphs into a space trooper (not in a Star Wars way), and she has to dive into the obscure multiverses of googly eyes and hot dog fingers to save her universe’s reality from the antagonist, Jobu Tupaki. It is messy and colorful like any multiverse movie should be, and I’m willing to bet it will be an Oscars darling.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness displays a more Disney-friendly approach to the big screen, but director Sam Raimi amps up the horror to an extent where it pushes the PG-13 rating to its max. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) deals with the repercussions of Spider-Man: No Way Home that was speculated to have opened up the multiverse. However, it very well could have been Loki and Sylvie from the Loki Disney+ show. Because of the tie-ins with other Marvel Studios projects, this film needs a more thorough explanation. Wanda Maximoff, last seen in the WandaVision series on Disney+, has been usurped by the Scarlet Witch, who is possessed by the Darkhold, the spell-book of the damned, so to speak. She is hunting down America Chavez, a young teen who can open portals into a myriad of multiverses so that Wanda can reunite with her kids. Doctor Strange connects with Chavez and becomes aware that the Scarlet Witch doesn’t have the best intentions, so he joins the fight to protect America. This movie presents a wide range of memorable cameos, jump-scares, and theories to formulate, mostly due to the negligence of the other possible forces that opened up the multiverse that probably wasn’t just Doctor Strange… ugh, I need to let go of this Mephisto theory, but I just can’t. His prominent role in the comics is too relevant in all of these storylines we’re seeing!

One thing is for real: whether it is pure movie magic or somewhat accurate, the multiverse is alive and well in Hollywood. CBC News interviewed astrophysicist professor Adam Frank, who believes we have little-to-no evidence that the multiverse exists but says that it doesn’t have to interfere with fantasy, “I don’t mind if my science fiction plays with the ideas that are kind of fringey or even wrong. Their job is to tell me a good story.” Good storytelling is the empowering essence of Hollywood, and these films won’t provide an experience less than utterly compelling. Start making your Oscar predictions by seeing Everything Everywhere All at Once and formulate your future Marvel theories with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. You won’t be disappointed.

Everything Everywhere All at Once and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are playing in select theaters now.