Edgar Wright brings SCOTT PILGRIM to life with dazzling results

British filmmaker Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) directs and co-writes his third full-length feature that is an ode to comic books and video games, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Scott Pilgrim is about 22-year-old Canadian slacker Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) who falls in love with Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) an American delivery girl. However, in order to fully commit to Ramona as his girlfriend, he must fight and defeat her seven evil exes that include an egotistical action star (Chris Evans), a pretentious bass player (Brandon Routh) and a sleazy record producer (Jason Schwartzman).
Scott Pilgrim is Wright’s first film in which he is adapting a movie from a source material, which is the six-volume set of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley. This movie also marks Wright’s first cinematic outing without co-writer Simon Pegg and actor Nick Frost. While his last two films created a cult following with its British humor and culture, Wright creates a fantastical world where fights to the death are arranged via email and the power of music literally comes to life in Toronto.
The film has several hilarious moments, but sometimes it is hard to distinguish if most of the humorous moments came from O’Malley’s books or Wright’s sense of humor.
The look of the film is tremendous as Wright manages to recreate full panels from O’Malley’s books down to smallest detail whether it is a t-shirt that Scott wears or the room/house that he lives with his gay roommate.
The highlights of the film are the fight sequences between Scott and “The League of Evil Exes”. With the film structured like a live-action video game, each ex represents a boss at the end of a level. Each ex have special powers and turn into coins when they are defeated. These scenes also incorporate actual sound bites from video games like The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog and Street Fighter. The fight scenes also manages to pay homage to comic books and anime with panels appearing onscreen, speed lines and words like “Ponk” and “Kroww” popping up on screen when people punch each other.
Michael Cera is not playing another teenager or high school like in his previous films. As Scott Pilgrim, Cera gets to display an array of emotions within the movie that we have not seen him done before. Surprisingly, Cera can hold his ground in the fight sequences and pull it off without the scene looking awkward or weird.
Newcomer Ellen Wong is great as the innocent, naïve and Scott’s “fake high school girlfriend”, Knives Chau. Wong also contributes to some of the funniest scenes in the film whenever her character makes an appearance in the midst of an odd and awkward moment in the film.
The side characters that populate Scott Pilgrim’s world and show up to comment on Scott’s decisions are just as entertaining as the main character of the film. Kieran Culkin and Aubrey Plaza steals every scene that they are in as Wallace Wells, Scott’s sarcastic gay roommate and Julie Powers, the foul-mouthed acquaintance that is criticizes him every chance she gets. As the exes, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzman deliver over-the-top performances that are welcomed in a film where the ridiculous is of the norm within the Scott Pilgrim universe.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is the most entertaining movie of the year with another unique film directed by Wright, who managed to capture the look, feel and essence of O’Malley’s comics.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD: 5 out of 5 stars

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