Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a 2010 film directed by Edgar Wright, and starring Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The movie is based off the acclaimed comic book series of the same name, and it follows a young bass guitarist who must battle his girlfriend’s seven evil exes in order to date her. Overall, although it’s a style over substance, Scott Pilgrim is surprisingly great, and easily one of the best comic book movies ever made.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World follows Scott, a 22 year old punk bass guitarist living in Toronto. After meeting an American girl named Ramona Flowers at a party, he becomes instantly smitten and the two start dating. However, it’s soon revealed that in order to continue dating Ramona, Scott must battle the league of evil exes, a group of super-powered weirdos who all dated Ramona at one point in her life. It’s important to note that this movie makes zero sense. Characters have powers such as telekinesis from being a vegan, or even teleportation from being goth. This is based off the comic books, as both draw elements from classic video games.
I really liked this movie. First off, it’s absolutely hilarious. It’s very self aware with it’s humor, and breaks the fourth wall a couple of times. It almost feels like Deadpool in a sense, although Scott never talks to the audience, and it’s a lot less vulgar than that movie. Still, the humor here is excellent. At one point, Scott questions why one of his friends is able to “bleep” out her curse words when speaking. At another point, upon realizing he’s not fighting for Ramona, but rather fighting for himself, Scott suddenly hears, “Scott gained the power of self-respect,” and pulls a katana out of nowhere. This movie is full of things like that, and they’re much funnier than I can describe here. Additionally, this movie has a lot of punk rock in it. Just like the comics, Scott is part of a band called “Sex bob-omb,” and for most of the movie they’re competing in a Toronto Battle of the Bands. And the punk songs that the band plays, while not genius, are still a nice touch, and make the movie feel unique when compared to other similar comic book movies. The acting in this movie is nothing particularly special. Scott is supposed to be a sort of wimpy loser, and understandably they cast Michael Cera for the part. He’s basically just doing an adult version of his character on arrested development, but still, he works. The rest of the cast is fine, but everybody’s playing weirdo exaggerated characters, just like the comics. Ironically, Ramona’s the only person who feels “normal” in this movie, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fine in the role, although she really isn’t given many scenes to show any incredible acting talent. But let’s be real, this is a comic book movie, you don’t watch a film like this expecting the acting to rival Citizen Kane.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, just like the comic book, also has a surprising message underneath it all that isn’t cliche or usually seen. The movie is about Ramona’s baggage following her into the future with her relationships, and as such, the movie is trying to tell the audience that past relationships shouldn’t determine future ones. I quite liked this message, and it felt unique among all the “you can change the world” message tropes.
There are a couple of complaints I have with this film. For one, the fights can be a little disorienting at times. It’s sort of 50/50. Some of the fights are actually very good, such as between Scott and Lucas or Scott and Todd. However, the final battle with Gideon uses a lot of close up shots, and the main Gideon has a pixelated Katana that sort of has a weird afterimage effect. This felt really disorienting, at least to me, but it really wasn’t too much of a draw from the movie as a whole. The other problem has is that they hired the worst script editor ever. There are a lot of jarring little continuity errors in this film. For example, Scott will walk into a cafe wanting to talk to his sister, only to order a coffee when she leaves. Why did he want to talk to his sister, why didn’t he pursue her to talk, and what’s the point of this scene? Another example is how Scott never drinks, yet during his fight with Lucas Lee, he tried to take him up on an offer to “get a beer,” only to get sucker punched. The editor did a terrible job with correcting the script. Thankfully however, the humor of this movie allows the audience to overlook little errors like that.
Overall, despite not being the cleanest movie by any sense of the word, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is nonetheless a well intentioned and well adapted comic book movie. It’s a lot of fun, it’s unique, and watching this movie with friends is hilarious. It’s worth checking out and it deserves more attention.