As something of a regular disclaimer, it's only my opinion here- others are available. As ever, mild spoilers may occur in the process of reviewing, but never so far as to spoil any major plot developments.
Scrounging douchebag Scott Pilgrim is our anti-hero, living off of the same flat (and indeed, mattress) as his gay roommate and trying to win the adoration of his peers as the bass player in a garage band called Sex Bob-Omb. He becomes infatuated with one Ramona Flowers, and provokes the wrath of a league made up of her super-powered Evil-Exes. Ready? FIGHT!
For the second time in a year, after Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass, we have here a film that's destined to become a cult classic. It's not to say it won't garner critical praise and fan appreciation at the time of its release (because it's already done that), but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a Hollywood film so fresh and exciting and left-of-centre that you wonder why everyone isn't going to see it.
tended to review the audience rather than the film. It's a film that deploys sound effects from The Legend of Zelda, and where characters burst into fight scenes as regularly as your High School Musical-starring teens will burst into song.
Moreover, our protagonist is a somewhat nebbish anti-hero, who's difficult to empathise with for a large portion of the film. As if director Edgar Wright didn't have enough to do trying to turn Michael Cera into an action hero. As Scott Pilgrim though, that same performance we always see him do gains something a little different. If the only reason you're not seeing this is because you don't like Cera, that will actually help your enjoyment of the film, even if you might find difficulty in following Scott's getting over himself and evolution into a better person. Through fighting!
And man, the fighting is awesome. I've complained about so many action films this summer that the fights are shot too close, in poor lighting, and so it's difficult to tell what's going on. The fights here are nothing short of amazing, excellently choreographed to mirror the button-mashing pursuits of Street Fighter and the like, with all the onomatopoeic debris of the 60s Batman series. It helps that we have such great comedy turns in some of Scott's opponents too, particularly Chris Evans' action star parody, Brandon Routh's psychic vegan and Mae Whitman's "bi-furious" ninja girl.
Sometimes you encounter boyfriends or girlfriends in real life who make it so difficult for their ex that it's impossible to start a new relationship. These ones in the film control Ramona's love-life by duelling any new prospects to the death, and the only way someone of Scott's youth and experience can process this is through fantasy. Anyone who's ever picked up a console controller has imagined experiencing video game physics in real life, and in properly fighting for a woman instead of expecting her to sit idly by and watch his crap band, he realises that in hilarious fashion.
Before all of this business, I can't avoid the fact that the first half hour, before Ramona properly makes her entrance, is kind of slow. It's easy to see how those who have doubts could enter the film and wonder what rubbish they've got themselves into for a good chunk of the first act. Maybe on repeat viewings, it'll drag less. Perhaps it's as essential to the astonishing visuals that follow as the black and white overture was to The Wizard of Oz. Or maybe we just need to get to know these characters properly before all becomes astonishing and vibrant.
If anything, you kind of wonder why video game adaptations were never as ballsy as to loyally translate the medium's visual style to the big screen. Why is the first film in which defeated enemies explode into coins an adaptation from a comic book? It just sucks to be those other films really, as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a near flawless victory, pleasing action fans and resonating with troubled young lovers at the same time, and all the while having enough fun that you'll want to revisit it within hours of leaving the cinema.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is now showing in cinemas nationwide.
If and when you see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, why not leave a comment on the film and/or my review? If you can help me when McG plunges through my ceiling and challenges me to a duel with seven Evil Hacks who don't like my reviews, flaming sword donations will be very appreciated.
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.