Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Genre: Fantasy | Action | Comedy

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Michael Bacall, Edgar Wright

Cast: Michael Cera, Alison Pill, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Satya Bhabha, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Mae Whitman, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Keita Saitou, Shota Saito

MPAA rating: PG-13 (for stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references.)

Summary: Meet charming and jobless Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera). A bass guitarist for garage band Sex Bob-omb, the 22-year-old has just met the girl of his dreams…literally. The only catch to winning Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)? Her seven evil exes are coming to kill him. Genre-smashing filmmaker Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) tells the amazing story of one romantic slacker’s quest to power up with love in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Scott Pilgrim has never had a problem getting a girlfriend. It’s getting rid of them that proves difficult. From the girl who kicked his heart’s ass—and now is back in town—to the teenage distraction he’s trying to shake when Ramona rollerblades into his world, love hasn’t been easy. He soon discovers, however, his new crush has the most unusual baggage of all: a nefarious league of exes controls her love life and will do whatever it takes to eliminate him as a suitor.

As Scott gets closer to Ramona, he must face an increasingly vicious rogues’ gallery from her past—from infamous skateboarders to vegan rock stars and fearsomely identical twins. And if he hopes to win his true love, he must vanquish them all before it really is game over.

Run time: 112 min.

View the Trailer Here

“We are Sex Bob-omb and we’re here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff!”

Before the film even starts, the Universal Pictures logo spins into view in a new, thoroughly appropriate 8-bit form which is accompanied by an 8-bit ‘chip tuned’ version of the Universal Pictures music, and with that you’re introduced to the first (of many) smiles that Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World will give you throughout the film.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22-year old, socially awkward slacker that lives in a Toronto apartment with his gay friend Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin). Pilgrim plays bass in a band called Sex Bob-omb alongside Stephen Stills (Mark Webber) and Kim Pine (Alison Pill), and in one of my favorite, subtly funny performances in the film by Johnny Simmons as Young Neil. When we’re first introduced to Pilgrim, he is dating a 17-year old high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), while he doesn’t see anything wrong with the relationship since all he and Knives have done is play video games and hold hands but his friends constantly give him grief over it because of the age difference.

One night, Scott runs into Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the girl of his literal dreams at a party and wants to date her… but it’s not that simple. Scott will have to defeat her Seven Evil Ex-Boyfriends Exes in order to earn Ramona’s heart. Throughout the course of the battles, Scott also has to figure out how to break up with Knives and win a battle of the bands so that Sex Bob-omb can land a record contract with a legendary producer called G Man.

I want to dispel some rumors or fears that some people have about the film. People who blindly dismiss Pilgrim as a “hipster” movie are doing themselves a great disservice, it’s quite the contrary as the movie takes some hilarious jabs at hipster culture. I will admit that even I was concerned that the comic book elements (R-RRRR-I-N-G!) on the screen would become irritating or take you out of the story, I can happily say that they do neither. Though that effect isn’t constant,  it was interspersed throughout the entire film but never felt out of place.

I also wondered if I could stomach Michael Cera playing the socially awkward-slacker-geek yet again. I was pleasantly surprised that while Cera’s portrayal of Pilgrim does have similarities to his other roles, it also has some stark differences that take him out of that box. Cera’s Pilgrim has a certain charm and fascination that none of his other characters have brought to the screen, and he is also a totally believable (yes believable) as a bad ass in his fight scenes.

The fast paced editing was also a concern, as I wondered if it would end up being too spastic and frenetic. Luckily, the combination of artfully fantastic cinematography, great editing and the direction of Edgar Wright make the movie feel like you are completely immersed in a living comic book and it never feels overly rushed or spastic at all.

The battles in the film are indeed epic and like Pilgrim’s opponents themselves, each one is completely unique. Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha), The Katayanagi Brothers (Keita Saitou and Shota Saito), Roxy Richter (Mae Whitman), Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh), Lucas Lee (Chris Evans) and Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman) were each given ample screen time and were fabulous in their villainous roles. I’m sure everyone has taken, or will take away at least one favorite member of “The League of Evil Exes” after watching the film.

The score by Nigel Godrich is perfect for the film and the bands that contributed to the soundtrack, namely Beck who provides the music for Pilrgim’s Sex Bob-omb did such a great job at capturing what a 20 something slacker-garage band would sound like (if they were listenable).

The only real problem that I had with the film was that Scott & Ramona’s relationship lacked some weight and didn’t feel as high stakes as it should have. That being said, the tender/love filled moments in the film are incredibly endearing and don’t come off as roll your eyes moments that are simply sappy. One of my many favorite lines in the movie is Scott’s response when he’s asked if he see’s a future with Ramona, and Pilgrim replies… “Like — with jetpacks.”

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World truly defies categorization, at its core it’s a love story but it also has some of the best action sequences I’ve seen in recent memory, along with the most genuine laughs and cool nods to pop culture that you can pack into a film that clocks in at almost two hours. The film is easily the most original creation to hit theaters in recent memory, and it’s destined to become a cult classic.

My advice – Get out there and see it twice, support the epicness and originality of this flick before we’re saddled with even more remakes and reboots! Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was the most entertaining film I’ve seen all year.


I give Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Five Out Of Five Stars


Jason Moore
Written by Jason Moore

is a member of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films and the Founder/Editor In Chief of SciFi Mafia®