A blend of comic books, anime, action, humor, and hipster cred, Scott Pilgrim vs the World seemed like a no brainer for a summer blockbuster. So it has been a relative mystery as to why the film has failed to draw an audience, especially since it is so freaking good.
To begin, the source material is the highly acclaimed six part Scott Pilgrim comic series by Bryan Lee O’Malley. I have not read it myself but am told that it rocks. Big, fun and all together hilarious, the story of Scott Pilgrim plays out like the plot of an old Nintendo beat ’em up. To date Ramona Flowers, the girl of his dreams, Scott must battle her 7 evil ex’s and win her heart. In the meantime, he’s playing in slacker rock band Sex Bob-Omb, dealing with his current girlfriend Knives Chao, and all together avoiding the adult responsibilities of work and bills.
The real reason this film is a success is in director Edgar Wright’s full embrace of Scott’s fictional world. When the first evil ex shows up, bursting through a brick wall and flying across the room like some sort of emo pirate ghost, Scott looks shocked, sure. But, he’s shocked to be the target of the assault, not in the assault itself. In fact, Scott flies up and duels without hesitation, and you realize that you’re in the comic book. And it’s awesome.
This is a fantasy played out for thrills and laughs equally. Never a parody, but always a reference point, Pilgrim is filled, literally bursting at the frames with throwbacks to The Legend of Zelda, Seinfeld, The Warriors, anything it can lay it’s hands on. Each and every one of the 7 battles is unique and each of the 7 evil ex’s is an intriguing and formidable foe for our hero. Now don’t worry about Michael Cera annoying you, he’s not so bad, and he is surrounded by one of the best ensemble casts I have seen in a long time. Every part is memorable and each character has something to contribute. And there are a lot of characters in this thing.
But, what’s best about this movie isn’t the individual pieces. It’s the whole picture, one massive feature-length celebration of every part of our (i.e. mine) childhood and imagination that we (i.e. me) still hold dear. Scott Pilgrim actually brought back memories of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? or Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, but filtered for the too cool generation. The movie’s saying we can be fashionable and hip and still be a cartoon, if that makes any sense.
Basically, this is one of the best films of the summer, and it has something for everyone. If you can, go see this on the big screen. Hopefully, this film will see a dedicated cult following, and it should. Be a part of that cult, go see Scott Pilgrim.