As with Inception, I’m tempted to open this review of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) with a spoiler alert, or maybe just an “expectation prevention warning.” I entered the theater with no foreknowledge except that it was based on a comic book and starred Michael Cera. The film surprised me in all sorts of spectacular ways, and it’s probably my favorite movie of the year so far; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it worms its way onto my all-time favorites list.
Set in Toronto, the film stars Cera as the eponymous Scott Pilgrim, a twenty-something slacker bassist in need of a few valuable life lessons. On the rebound after a bad relationship, Scott’s fake relationship with a high school girl is thrown for a loop by the arrival of the (literal) girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Ramona comes into his life with a lot of baggage, though; in order to secure Ramona’s love, Scott needs to deal with his insecurities and defeat her seven evil exes, all while his band is working its way through a Battle of the Bands competition.
The film opens as a stylish, hip coming-of-age comedy peppered with unique and creative comedic flourishes, and it pretty much maintains that tone and mission throughout, but along the way it morphs into something else: a fantastical, celebratory fusion of geek culture filled with superhero comic action, gleeful video gamery, and thundering indie music. The dialogue is witty, the pace is snappy, the characters are memorable (almost all of them are, which is amazing), and the action scenes are both brilliantly choreographed and emotionally charged. Cera’s shtick is familiar, but he’s in pitch-perfect form, and the ensemble surrounding him is superbly cast.
I could rain more superlatives on the film, but I can’t really do it justice — it’s hard to describe the unique awesome that is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It’s just one of those movies you just want to write GO SEE THIS about — highly recommended!