Movie: Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Production Companies: Marc Platt Productions, Big Talk Films, Closed on Mondays Entertainment, Dentsu
Director: Edgar Wright
Producers: Eric Gitter, Nina Park, Marc Platt, Edgar Wright
Scriptwriters: Michael Bacall, Edgar Wright
Main Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Brie Larson, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick
Release Date: August 25th 2010 (UK)
Running Time: 112 minutes
Scott Pilgrim vs the World is maybe the perfect example of a modern cult film. Despite a phenomenal cast, featuring two actors who went onto MCU stardom, and a great director in Edgar Wright the film failed to make its budget back. However, in spite of all this Scott Pilgrim vs The World is one of Edgar Wright’s best films and one of the funniest films of the 2010s. So, without further ado, let’s get into the review of the film.
When Scott met Ramona
The film opens in Toronto with Scott Pilgrim (Cera), a bassist in an unsuccessful indie garage band Sex Bob-omb. Important note for later 22 year old Scott is dating 17 year old high school student Knives much to the disapproval of everyone in his life. However, Scott’s world gets turned upside down when he meets an Amazon delivery girl: Ramona Flowers (Winstead)
Because of this Scott starts pursuing Ramona WITHOUT breaking up with Knives. Dude, uncool. Anyway, Sex Bob-omb enter a Battle of the Bands, sponsored by record executive Gideon Graves where Scott is attacked by Matthew Patel. Scott defeats him but not before he reveals that to date Ramona Scott has to defeat her six evil exes.
The Exes continue to attack
Scott finally breaks up with Knives, who then blames Ramona and vows to win him back. Meanwhile Scott has even more trouble to deal with in the form of Ramona’s next three exes: Hollywood actor and skateboarder Lucas Lee (Evans), super-powered vegan Todd Ingram and lesbian ninja Roxie Richter. Man, the source material is mental hahaha…. Somehow this situation gets messier when Scott’s own ex, pop star Envy Adams (Larson) turns up. However, Scott soon grows frustrated with Ramona’s dating history and after an outburst about it she breaks up with him.
The final exes
We then jump to the next Battle of the Bands where Sex Bob-omb are playing. However, swerve! Ramona’s fifth and sixth exes, twins Kyle and Ken Katayanagi, but Scott defeats them both earning himself an extra life in the process. Despite all of this, Ramona seems to have got back with her final ex, record executive Gideon Graves. Sex Bob-Omb then accept Gideon’s record deal leading to Scott quitting the band in protest.
Soon after, Gideon invites Scott to his venue where Sex Bob-Omb are playing: The Chaos Theatre. Scott resolves to win Ramona back by fighting Gideon, earning the Power of Love Sword. However, remember Knives? Well she tries to kill Ramona and only then does Scott confess he cheated on both of them. During this chaos, Gideon takes his chance and kills Scott. Scott then ends up in limbo, wait is this Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where Ramona tells him Gideon implanted a mind control device in her brain.
Gideon vs Scott Take 2
Scott, using the extra life, re-enters the Chaos Theatre and challenges Gideon. However, this time Scott fights for himself, using the Power of Self-Respect sword. Also, he apologises to both Knives and Ramona for how he treated them and he accepts his own flaws. Scott and Knives then team up and defeat Gideon. With Gideon defeated and his control over her broken, Ramona begins to leave. However, Knives encourages Scott to leave with Ramona to ‘try again’.
The Two Endings of Scott Pilgrim vs The World
To begin my analysis of Scott Pilgrim vs The World I’m going to discuss the ending and whether it was the right decision to change it. Now, if you haven’t read the Scott Pilgrim comics this particular story ends with Scott getting back with Knives. He does this after realising that it was worth chasing a toxic relationship with Ramona. While this was initially going to be the ending for the film, it was switched out. What for? Scott getting with Ramona. Understandably this annoyed some fans of the comic as it seemed like Scott was chasing after toxic love. This was instead of ‘true’ love was staring him in the face in the form of Knives.
However, this kind of works better for the narrative the film tells. Despite Knives seeming like the better option, she and Scott are rarely ever shown together on screen in two shots. This is a shot used to show the relationship between characters, which couldn’t be more different from Scott and Ramona. This point illustrates that maybe Ramona was right for Scott all along. Obviously if you ignore the whole 7 evil exes thing…. To back this whole point up, even audiences felt that Scott getting back with Knives wasn’t the right ending. This might have been because it felt less like a relationship and more like Knives obsessing over him.
Style in Scott Pilgrim vs The World
The next portion of my analysis is going to focus on the details and stylistic choices that have become a staple of Edgar Wright’s filmography. The best example of this in Scott Pilgrim vs The World is the little hints that signal the number of everyone of Ramona’s evil exes. Where would we find this? Well, as Scott first meets Chris Ev- I mean Lucas Lee, Edgar Wright shows a number 2 on the side of Lee’s trailer. This indicates he is the second ex Scott must defeat.
Or how about just before Roxie Richter attacks Scott a clearly visible X is visible in a low angle shot of Scott walking down a street. I’m not sure what this symbol means but it could mean X marks the spot or a kiss for signing off a text message. I’m just loving all the little symbols Edgar hides in his film. Even more evidence of this is highlighted by the arrival of the Katayanagi twins with the twin dragons and numbers. God, I love this film.
Fight Scenes in Scott Pilgrim vs The World
To conclude my analysis of Scott Pilgrim vs the World I’m going to discuss the fight scenes and how they pay homage to the comics. First, some of the fight scenes in Scott Pilgrim vs the World are some of the more underrated of the 2010s. Why? Well for a start some of them are near perfect recreations of the comics, take the first fight against Matthew Patel as an example. This fight is near frame to frame the same as the fight in the comics, which only serves to reinforce Edgar Wright’s work on style over substance.
Other great fight sequences include the ones against the Katayanagi Twins, featuring dragons created by electric guitars, the one against Lucas Lee, featuring beautiful one shot fights, and against Gideon, with video game style score multipliers. All of these fights serve to create the feeling that the audience feels like they are playing a videogame due to the hyper stylized visuals, 8 bit animation combined with the frame by frame recreations of the comics and the overall tone of the film. Damn, Edgar Wright really does know how to style a film…
To summarise Scott Pilgrim vs The World, this is a wickedly fun, humorous adaptation of the comics with excellent visuals and performances, particularly from Michael Cera. Overall, definitely a great way to kill 2 hours of your time.
Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good
Target Audience: 12+
Content Warning: Mild Alcohol and Drug references, Mild Violence, Mild Bad Language, Mild Sex and Nudity