Movies / Comics Movie Reviews

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

By Beth Davies-Stofka
August 14, 2010 - 09:36

Last March, Kevin Smith previewed Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and told The Film Stage, "I would be hard pressed to say, 'he’s bringing a comic book to life!' but he is bringing a comic book to life."


This is about all you need to know about this movie! If you want to see a comic book spring to life on the big screen, you are in for a treat. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) has made it happen. The plotting, framing, narrative, editing, settings, design, humor, and characters are all comics, all the time.  

Most adaptations take the stories out of the comics medium and place them in the medium of film. This adaptation just happened to use the film medium to blow the spirit of life into the comic. And so the comic jumps up, plasters itself on the big screen, and lives. It's awesome. I want to see more like this.

In case the saturation ad campaign hasn’t reached you yet, here's the set-up. Scott Pilgrim is a 22 year-old slacker who is "between jobs" and plays bass guitar in a Toronto garage band. He's just started dating a 17 year-old sweetie named Knives Chau. They have fun-filled, easy going afternoons shopping for DVDs and playing video games.  

But then Scott sees Ramona V. Flowers in a dream. And right after that, he sees her for real. Scott is smitten, and would do anything to be with Ramona, including lying to Knives, and fighting Ramona's seven evil exes – to the death!

At its heart, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a sweet story of young love, self-discovery, and personal reckoning. But it never descends into Valentine stickiness, because it's a frenzied mash-up of garage rock, video games, and pop culture commentary that is really, really funny.

There are really only two flaws to the movie. The first is that the outcome is never in doubt. The visuals and the humor never let up, and are definitely entertaining. But any story with an obvious ending will drag. It can't be helped.

The second is that Wright comes across as raw, unskilled, and maybe just a little inept. You get the feeling that if he thought of a visual or aural joke, he used it. No idea was rejected. As a result, the movie is a bit drained of its brilliance. There's just, overall, too much of it.

But if you are a teenager, a couple, or a parent with tweens and teens to entertain, then this is the movie for you. You might feel overstimulated by the time you leave, but you won't be at all sorry. You won't think of this movie again without smiling, and without feeling a little bit hopeful. After all, you rarely find a movie that argues so effectively that having a whole lot of fun is intensely rewarding and should be done as often as possible.

I used to think that director Zach Snyder would wind up in the history books for defining the method other directors would use when adapting comics to film. But Edgar Wright has rendered Snyder's innovations irrelevant. We could be in for a whole new and wonderful world of movies. If they'll just tone it down a little!

Rating: 9 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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