Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is Edgar Wright‘s adaptation of Brian Lee O’Malley‘s comic series. It stars Michael Cera, Ellen Wong, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzman.

Scott (Michael Cera) is finally getting back into dating after a bad break-up. So he has a kind of non-relationship with high school student Knives (Ellen Wong). But then he meets Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) quite literally the girl of his dreams. They hit it off but then Scott learns that Ramona has seven exes he needs to defeat before he’ll be allowed to actually date her.

I very much expected to like Scott Pilgrim. But while I liked bits and pieces, the immensly crappy gender politics of it all overshadowed everything and drained the movie of all enjoyment.

Just to be clear: I haven’t read the comic, so everything I’m saying is just about the movie. Apparently, the comic is much better with the women in it. But the movie definitely isn’t. I mean, the general idea that a guy would have to defeat the ex-boyfriends of the girl he dates is already more than questionable, but if done right, it could have worked.

In this film, it doesn’t. Instead, it sets my teeth on edge. Starting with the basic lack of personality in Ramona (including that there’s really no reason she should be attracted to Scott), continuing with the usual Lesbian story line [the real lesbian is a crazy bitch. But good girls are allowed to experiment in college], the crappy way Scott treats the girls around him (and we’re still supposed to root for him), the whole mind-control angle that is almost as quickly lost as it is introduced to a whole bunch of other things: the film is incredibly misogynistic.

Unfortunately that really overshadowed everything else. Because there were some very nice things that I would have enjoyed a lot in a different movie: Chris Evans’ growly asshole, Brandon Routh’s hammy vegan, the way Edgar Wright managed to get not only the feeling of being a comic adaptation but also a video game homage to the screen.

But the movie’s biggest saving grace was Kieran Culkin’s Wallace. A great charming character (even though it could have gone a little easier on the stereotypes here) and Culkin plays him wonderfully. I also really liked Ellen Wong’s Knives who is unfortunately trapped in a bad script.

Summarising: As much as I expected to like this, I just can’t recommend it.


  1. I can. Because in my mind it was weighted exactly the other way round. Great film, somewhat but not completely marred by gender politics.

    I didn’t mind Ramona’s lack of personality, because all the characters were more or less one-dimensional. Including Scott.

    • Everybody else, even if a flat character, at least gets motivation in some form or another. Ramona is just there. That’s what bothered me about her.

      And I really thought that I would feel about the film as you did. I’m really surprised I didn’t.

  2. I found Scott himself so unappealing that I couldn’t get excited when he defeated the exes, didn’t understand why either of the girls liked him, and had no idea why every single character in the whole movie didn’t spend every moment slapping him silly…

  3. I think that’s the thing, right there – I saw the whole film as a story basically told through Scott’s eyes – or, more accurately, as a sort of Scott-is-a-Gary-Stu-story. So all the issues didn’t bother me so much, because I expect and accept any Cera character to be an unappealing idiot. Anything else just followed logically from there ^^

  4. I loved the film. Can’t find much to complain about. My friend who teaches film even used it as an example of good editing. “Scott Pilgrim” is THE film of this generation.

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