Beware, there may be spoilers, so read at your own risk.
At first glance, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World seems like a quintessentially Edgar Wright film: there are voiceovers, quirky editing and sharp writing galore, but as you delve deeper into it’s characters and plot, it becomes more than just your average action film.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World follow Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), a young man just in his 20s, as he is torn between his 17-year-old girlfriend Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) and Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a mysterious yet endearing girl he
stalked met at a party. However, Ramona has a deep secret: her next lover must first defeat her 7 evil exes.
The first thing that struck me with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was the design, which I found absolutely brilliant. From the retro rendition of the Universal logo to the ‘pee bar’ to the ‘vs.’ popping up on the screen every time Scott fights an ex, the style of Scott Pilgrim is unparalleled, which made it a very unique but downright enjoyable viewing experience. The design is definitely a hearken back to the age of retro video gaming, and to be honest, a cameo appearance from Pac-Man (or Puc-Man as he was originally called) wouldn’t have been all too surprising.
Unfortunately, the plot of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is quite a mixed bag. There’s plenty of character development, and Scott really changes over the course of the 112-minute film. He has to make some big decisions, and I really like it when a film that originally appears quite shallow on the surface ends up having some deeper moments. It was scenes such as Scott’s epiphany after his death, and his subsequent selection of Ramona to be his partner, that gave the film another dimension rarely seen in Wright’s other work. However, the film did get incredibly tedious around halfway through due to the repetitive nature of the story: having to fight 7 evil exes. The first few fights were very entertaining, my personal favourite being the fight with Lucas Lee (Chris Evans), but other fights tended to drag or just be uninteresting. That said, this only really applies to the few fights around the 1 hour mark, because after that, action is ramped up to 11 again and the film becomes a thrill ride.
Surprisingly, acting was also generally good. Micheal Cera was fantastic as Scott, and it was great to see an actor generally typecast as a nerdy teen playing, although also nerdy, an action hero. He really pulled off the emotional scenes with Ramona and Knives, but was also typically hilarous when the film needed him to be. I particularly liked Chris Evans as skater Lucas Lee, because he played a role unlike what he has done before. Admittedly, at that time Evans was not famed for his portayal of ultra-patriotic Captain America, but comparing his performances in this and in the Captain America series, it really shows his range as an actor, and in a way I’m glad he is not renewing his contract with Marvel because he can now delve into deeper things.
It’s hard to talk about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World without mentioning its soundtrack. The main characters are in a band called the Sex Bob-ombs, and their music is played very frequently throughout the film. I’m not 100% sure whether or not Michael Cera was actually shredding on the bass, but even if he wasn’t, the music is incredibly well-made and incorporated excellently into the film. Songs reflect the characters’ emotions superbly, something that has become cliche in modern films, but in this case it is done uniquely, making Scott Pilgrim stand out from the crowd. And who can forget that amazing Battle of the Bands scene? WOW!
However, I did take a bit of an issue with the film’s ending scenes. There were some parts, for example the introduction of Nega Scott, that I originally felt very annoyed with, because, just after the film’s climatic fight scene, I was ready for it to end. I was relieved when the two Scotts walked out as friends, but to be honest it wasn’t necessary at all, and probably would’ve been best on the cutting room floor. I have to commend the film in some way, because when Knives returned and Ramona started walking away, I genuinely thought Scott was going to stay with Knives, which enraged me. It felt as if the whole film would’ve been for nothing: something which Knives cleverly pointed out, and I was very happy when Scott went of with Ramona, and this shows just how attached I had become to the characters, due to the convincing performances of Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ellen Wong.
Overall, I had a pretty good time with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Yes, there were scenes that enraged me, parts that felt unnecessary, but beyond all that, the film had heart and was clearly made with a lot of love and affection, something that can’t be said for most blockbusters these days (I’m looking at you, Michael Bay). Although it didn’t do great at the box office, the film has found a cult audience which it truly deserves. Scott Pilgrim fought the world, and the world sat up and paid attention.
I give Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 8 out of 10.
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