From there, the movie unfolds with a series of set pieces that find the Wilsons battling and running from their incredibly familiar foes. It's a relentless chase that only gets more gruesome as it goes, but Peele blessedly refuses to abandon the medium that made him a star with Key and Peele. Nearly every scene is infused with moments that break up the terror with humor. These interruptions rip through the bloodbath in the form of music cues ("Good Vibrations" and "Fuck tha Police" make surprising bedfellows), and the warm interactions between the Wilsons, specifically Gabe, Zora, and Jason. Duke, who stole scenes in Black Panther, continues to do so here, fully embracing Gabe's dorky dad vibes.
By virtue of the plot, Nyong'o exists somewhat in isolation from that camaraderie, but what she does in her dual roles is nothing short of remarkable, and the extent to which she's layered these portrayals isn't full clear until the film's final moments. Her doppelgänger's strained, cracking voice will be oft-imitated but never recreated. It's perfectly calibrated so that every time you might find it ridiculous, the voice effectively starts to haunt. As Adelaide, Nyong'o exudes a tormented ferociousness while deftly wielding a fire iron. Still, she never fully shows her hand, leaving us to wonder just how deep her trauma goes.
Peele fully unveils his convoluted mythology in the third act, and while it's easy to poke holes at some of the logistics of what he describes, his points couldn't be clearer. In both references and format, much of Us feels like an excavation, and maybe even an exorcism, of Peele's childhood influences, all in an effort to make a grand metaphor about the callousness of America and its class system. Our current pop-cultural landscape, from Stranger Things to Bumblebee, has gone a long way to present the '80s as a more innocent time. Us highlights the insidiousness of the Reagan era, even while acknowledging that, yeah, the movies were pretty great.
Like any abandoned rec room filled with kitsch from the past, Us is a little messy in spots, but you'll certainly have a blast spending time in its crazy, fucked up, delirious world, even as you stop to consider how pervasive evil really is.