Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is as close as live-action movies can possibly go to being zany animated cartoons. As obnoxious and irritating as this concept may sound, it was actually a great opportunity for comic mastermind Edgar Wright to stretch out the absurdity of his top-notch humor, experiment with a much larger budget than his previous Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and expertly pay homage to classic video games and retro pop culture without going too heavy on the “reference humor” so many others fall back on (*coughcoughcough* friedbergandseltzer *coughcoughcough*).
Unfortunately, despite eventually getting the cult-favorite status it so rightfully deserves, the film criminally underperformed at the box office, probably as a result of audiences mistaking it as an ordinary, forgettable action comedy. To be honest, looking at the film’s admittedly basic premise (the titular character, a 22-year old bassist living in Ontario, has to fight off the seven evil exes of his true love, Romana Flowers, in order to win her affection) I can see why, but that doesn’t make that fact any less infuriating to me.
Scott is such a great example of how to take a fairly thin plot and make it so much better with fantastic writing, consistently gut-busting humor, and characters that are actually relatable for once. Whenever things threaten to get stale, Wright continuously throws a wrench in the machine by making the situations Pilgrim finds himself in even more ridiculous and over-the-top than the last, though unlike the last action-heavy film I reviewed (the painfully mediocre Star Trek Into Darkness), all of this CGI-fueled mayhem is extraordinarily creative, clever, and memorable throughout.
Even the (relatively) slower, more character-focused scenes are still very entertaining, not only due to the hilarious dialogue, eye-catching comic-book visuals, and extremely fast pace, but also because of the great dynamic between Pilgrim and Flowers—namely, the realistically awkward way their relationship plays out. “Realistic” shouldn’t be a word used to describe such a gleefully ludicrous film, but somehow, those more grounded aspects work beautifully against the Street Fighter-esque battle scenes.
Is Scott Pilgrim a perfect film? To be honest, I’m not really sure, but it was such a total blast to watch that I can’t really find anything to criticize at all. So I guess I’m giving it a 10. That could change later, but hopefully, it doesn’t.