Meewella | Critic

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Tag: Michelle Yeoh

QuickView: Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)

“Every rejection, every disappointment has led you to this moment.”

Waymond Wang

Perhaps the most joyful exercise in unleashed creativity since Kung Fu Hustle, the multiverse-bending action comedy Everything Everywhere All At Once deserves to be seen by everyone everywhere. Although the film draws inspiration from all manner of pop culture sources, it is neither derivative nor mere pastiche. Rather, the writer-director duo “Daniels” use these as a common language and as ingredients to produce a unique heady concoction that uses the concept of the multiverse to explore the theme of nihilism and how to counteract it. I am loathe to reveal anything more of the plot which unfolds like a vertiginous roller-coaster ride. Unlike their feature debut Swiss Army Man, the Daniels seem now more confident in the emotional weight of their story rather than continually undercutting its tone with puerile humour. Central to this success is a sublime performance from Michelle Yeoh, a veteran of Hong Kong martial arts cinema who deftly adapts to Everything Everywhere‘s variously comedic, emotional and action beats. Returning cinematographer Larkin Seiple (whose CV blends films like I Just Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore with music videos like Childish Gambino’s This is America) delivers visuals that are as much a kinetic assault on the audience as the fight choreography. It can at times be messy and silly, but Everything Everywhere All At Once is, above all, a very welcome breath of fresh air.

9/10

QuickView: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

“You can’t outrun who you really are”

Wenwu

The real start to Phase 4 of the MCU, Shang-Chi provides a new lens through which to tell a familiar superhero origin story. Like Black Panther, Shang-Chi fully embraces its ethnic roots through not just casting but the underlying mythology and martial arts as well as the costuming and visual style, with contrasting elemental powers. It is not quite so successful a package but it demonstrates that Marvel is (belatedly) fully committed to a diverse roster of characters. Perhaps the film’s greatest assets are Eastern cinema veterans Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh. Although Wenwu is an antogonist driven by a single purpose, Leung’s performance provides nuance and pathos, even if the end of his arc is underwhelming. Awkwafina’s role will be divisive, but it provides a helpful grounding presence amidst characters already familiar with what is unfolding. A surprising attempt is also made to rehabilitate one of the MCU’s more controversial villains and I will be curious to see how it is received. With superhero action becoming increasingly formulaic, the martial arts choreography feels genuinely fresh (particularly in the beautiful opening sequence) and it does not devolve into CG monsters and blasts of power until the very end. Where Black Widow‘s attempt to tie up loose ends underwhelmed, Shang-Chi shows far greater promise for Phase 4.

8/10

MCU Phase 4: Black Widow | Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings | Eternals | Spider-man: No Way Home | Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness | Thor: Love and Thunder | Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2022 Priyan Meewella

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