Scott Pilgrim vs The World Review
Let’s just get this out of the way: yes, Michael Cera is in Scott Pilgrim and, no, he doesn’t suck horribly (at least not in this role). Now for the rest of the review (but don’t worry, we’ll come back to Mr. Cera soon enough).
For those of you who don’t know, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is based on a series of six graphic novels (drawn in a manga style). The graphic novels tell the story of Scott Pilgrim, a 23 year old canadian guy who just so happens to be awesome. Scott, after finally getting over a bad break up, ends up dating the mysterious Ramona Flowers (played in the movie by Mary Elizabeth Winstead). However, in order to continue dating her, Scott has to defeat her seven evil exes. And I do mean defeat. They fight, Scott wins, they explode into coins. All of this is wrapped up in a weird, yet accessible, shell of video game references, over the top manga styling, and incredible one-liners. Needless to say, I did actually end up reading the series prior to seeing the movie and I absolutely loved it. Seriously, you don’t need to be a comic book fan to read them so go do it.
But how does the movie hold up to all that? It’s actually a really faithful, if slightly rushed, adaptation! What does that mean? The movie is awesome. It is unlike any other movie I’ve ever seen and I mean that in the best way. The writing (most of the dialogue was lifted directly from the graphic novels) is hilarious. The acting is really great actually. Michael Cera, playing the title role, is pretty good, managing not be annoying. It’s clear that the director, Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame), really pushed Cera into being more like the manic and overly dramatic Scott than his usual roles (or rather “role” since they’re all shy, slightly-depressed, quirky losers somehow irresistible to women). It’s a welcome and refreshing change.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers is… attractive. Don’t get me wrong, she’s capable in the role, she just isn’t given much to do. A standout here is Kieran Culkin as Scott’s gay roommate Wallace Wells. He’s really a scene stealer and I’m disappointed I don’t see him in more big roles. Anna Kendrick as Scott’s sister, Stacey, is great with an understated performance. Yet most of the female characters in the film seem to be overshadowed by Aubrey Plaza who plays Julie Powers (a character I didn’t particularly care for in the graphic novels but I absolutely love here thanks to Plaza’s performance). As far as the evil exes go, Brandon Routh and Chris Evans are fantastic! Really. I mean it. I was not expecting them to be that funny.
As far as everyone else in the film is concerned… well… for the most part (basically, with two exceptions I’ll discuss in a minute) they aren’t really around long enough for me to make a solid judgment. That’s because of the film’s crazy fast pace… and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.
For those who read the graphic novels, it’s possible your favorite parts have been taken out for the sake of the film’s flow. Personally, I was kinda sad that Scott’s past wasn’t explored (especially his relationships with Kim and Envy and his resolution with both) and my favorite line (“How appropriate, you fight like a cow!”) was omitted. Also the ending is slightly different (the script being written prior to the release of the sixth and final volume of the series). So Scott doesn’t get the time to freak out about Ramona having an ex-girlfriend, he doesn’t get a job, and almost no one learns a valuable lesson. What does all that mean? It means the movie isn’t nearly the surprisingly poignant commentary on relationships that the graphic novels were… Yet, considering how much of the graphic novels did actually get in the screenplay, it’s damn impressive.
As for the two characters I said I’d talk about earlier… well, because the ending is slightly different, we have a slightly different take on Knives Chau (Ellen Wong, who does a great job here) and Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman who is always awesome and yet always kinda creepy at the same time). Are they bad interpretations? Not at all. Just a little different.
Overall, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a refreshing and exciting Summer movie filled to the brim with awesomeness that doesn’t get bogged down by Michael Cera’s acting (which is actually pretty good this time around) and you should definitely go see it. Scott Pilgrim vs The World get’s a solid B+.