No movie has come as close to capturing the style and pace of a video game as Edgar Wright’s 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Scott Pilgrim, played by quintessential Michael Cera, must do battle with the seven evil exes of his latest girlfriend Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) for their relationship to stand a chance. Each ex presents a different challenge to Scott and for Wright, a different opportunity to showcase his unparalleled style and masterful filmmaking.
Throughout the film, the incorporation of comic book and video game animations proliferate the screen as Scott dispatches adversary after adversary. Significant credit for the visuals goes to the author & illustrator of the source material, Brian Lee O’Malley, who devised inspired comic panels that were recreated with overwhelming care by Wright. The interplay between the real world and the game/comic world flows with an effortless feel that the reality of the film seems like one we are sorely missing out on as non-fiction characters (get on it augment reality developers).
Countless aspects of this film are praiseworthy, especially the depth of this cast, which was impressive at the release but has become even more so with time. The casting choice for each ex is integral to the success of the film. The minor exception being the Katayanagi Twins who have no dialogue but for the sake of runtime were rightfully shown only in their epic battle. Scott goes toe to toe with Superman, Captain America, his ex-girlfriend from another series (her?) and Max Fischer, all whose previous roles disappear in their wonderfully hilarious layered fight scenes with Scott. Yet that neglects to include other essential comic performances from Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Allison Pill, Kiernan Culkin, Bill Hader (in voice only) and academy award winner Brie Larson and oh that also leaves out superb work from Ellen Wong, Mark Webber and Satya Bhabha. It’s almost as if Wright got his first choice of actor for every character in the film.
Common to all Wright endeavors, Scott Pilgrim rewards those who pay close attention to the details surrounding the focus of the lens. Rarely does a filmmaker take every given opportunity to expound on plot or character exposition or add a joke with ancillary details in the frame as Wright. The film is dotted with numbers and actual Xs that correspond to each evil ex in blatant and subtle ways, often in the same shot. It warrants repeat viewings that will often unveil new jokes or insights that are easily missed the first time through.
From the outset of this film you know you are in good hands once the Universal logo appears in its altered state to kick off the next hour and 50 minutes. Nothing is wasted in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and with energy, humor, music, action and romance that will keep every filmgoer enthralled, this is a film that easily found a place on the list.