My Polarizing Opinion of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Edgar Wright Marathon Part III of V, 2nd Viewing 

ADHD: The Movie. 

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a movie I genuinely wish I could fall head over heels with. For one: Edgar Wright is a G. For two: I am a fan of extroverted stylization. To me, the visual exclusivity of film is what makes the art so special, and it should never be shameful to yearn to take advantage of it to its fullest! The dilemma, however, comes with the fact that there’s a lot more to movies than just style, and while style can certainly be the dead focus of any movie (check many of Tarantino’s films out for example like Kill Bill Vol. 1), most movies need more adequacy in their few other broad departments to be viewed as truly ICONIC: an alluring plot, interesting characters that are dilated, and a sense of revelation in its thematics. In Edgar Wright’s third feature-length, I simply can’t see past that the forefront story here is quite sluggishly written. Characters illogically go through instantaneous changes for the very convenience of the plot, the movie uses buoyant styles to invent boundaries that only serve to make the story route out conventionally, and don’t get me started on how incomprehensible and one-dimensional the characters are in this movie. 

Scratch that, let me indeed go over the repulsively over-stereotyped characters that have nothing dissectible underneath their chintzy personas in which are entirely chintzy for the sake of making cheesy meta-jokes out of them—haha, gay guy sleeps around; haha, high school girls are overly obsessed; haha, the workaholic woman hates life; haha, vegans think that they’re above us; now, let’s keep using those same pigeonholes over and over again to supply more juvenile gags. Coming from the director behind The Cornetto Trilogy, it is disappointing when you begin to acknowledge how much of a step down the comedy is in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World from those frankly laugh-out-loud films. 

I suppose the best case you could make out of this affair of stereotypes is that it almost comes off as a surface-level criticism on the modern young adult, edge culture—which I used to be a part of; that’s why I‘m aware of the clichés so knowingly. What’s even more baffling, however, is that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World seems to be a beloved movie by the exact group that the film appears to poke superficial fun at. I guess, condemning your own identity is fairly rebelling? 

Admittedly, after a while, you sort of get into the “hey look at me, I’m bold and I amplify every peripheral detail” comic-book/video-game hybrid gist that Wright is going for in his optical presentation. As obnoxiously flashy and quick-cut the battle sequences can occasionally be in a number of shots, it’s impossible not to credit the hard work that has been produced by the special effects department, the choreographers, and the graphic designers. As a side-note, I also admire how every evil ex-boyfriend has a distinct “superpower” which gets you invested for the next battle to come up. Secondly, as someone who’s been playing the bass for many years, I won’t lie, I did geek-out at the momentary “bass-off” sequence. It appears that almost every ex-boyfriend/girlfriend battle, besides the final one, were reasonably enjoyable! 

There is, nevertheless, excessively hideous CGI imagery in a few moments (Scott’s dream sequences are prime examples of this) but most of it is noticeably effective for the chaotic visual galore that the motion picture wishes to deliver. The wicked CGI moments are usually involved in the amplification of the characters’ supernatural powers. Minor features like the quirky censor bars or character descriptions are somewhat commendable, as well. Furthermore, I do genuinely adore Wright’s incorporation and variety of the heart-pumping musical selections; it’s easily my favorite asset of the entire project.

Scott Pilgrim is just a young (asshole) dude with a crush, and as cute as that is, Wright has written outstandingly richer characters such as Simon Pegg’s curiously conflicted personas in The Cornetto Trilogy, or Baby Driver’s Baby who also follows the “boy with a crush” arc but with a backstory of heartbreaking difficulties and creative character quirks. Maybe the normality of Scott Pilgrim is what brings joy into the hearts of its fans but it certainly casts no spells over me. At the end of the day, in my book, the utter mundaneness of the childishly flat story and gags are what leave me starving for something better to collaborate with Edgar Wright’s noteworthy graphic display in Scott Pilgrim vs the World.

Verdict: C+

The Kings of Comedy (Ranked List)

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is now available to stream on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.

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