This was one of the greatest, nerdiest, most stylish movies I've ever seen, and I have no qualms whatsoever about declaring it pretty much my new favorite movie. Scott Pilgrim is a bassist in a band with Kim (Alison Pill), Stephen (Mark Webber), and Young Neil (Johnny Simmons). He has a promiscuous gay roommate named Wallace (Kieran Culkin), who is constantly texting Scott's personal issues to Scott's sister, Stacey (Anna Kendrick). And he's dating a 17-year-old Chinese, catholic schoolgirl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). But then he meets Romona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Just knowing she's the girl of his dreams (literally), he'll do anything to be with her. But once he's with her, he realizes he has to fight the League of Evil Exes, Romona's seven exes that pretty much all have superpowers. These include Matthew Patel (Satya Bhaba), Lucas Lee (Chris Evans), Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh), Roxy Richter (Mae Whitman), the Katayanagi Twins (Keita and Shota Saito), and Ghideon (Jason Schwartzman). The movie also co-stars Aubrey Plaza as a girl who hates Scott and appears to work everywhere.
OK, so I used to be a pretty big gamer. I still game from time to time, but nowhere near as often as I used to. In other words, I'm a total nerd. But I'm sure you could have figured that out otherwise. Anyway, after seeing the first trailer for this movie, I had what one might call a "nerdgasm." I immediately hoped and prayed that this movie would be good and that it would basically end up becoming my favorite movie, which it had a good chance considering my previous favorite movie was director Edgar Wright's comedy classic, Shaun of the Dead. This movie completely reached my insanely high expectations, and then some.
The editing for this movie is insane. It gives it a non-stop flow kinda feel. There's never a slow or dull moment. And that's not to say it's because it's non-stop action. It isn't. In fact, the evil exes don't even show up for maybe 20-30 minutes into the movie. There's a lot of setup for the characters and their friendships. And then it builds into the relationship with Romona, letting them get to know each other just briefly before getting into the exes. But it doesn't stop there. Scott continues to build his relationship with Romona even after craziness ensues.
Of course, the greatest part of the movie (besides the wacky editing) is all the video game imagery. If you loathe the very idea of video games, stay away from this movie. They say Crank was supposed to be a live action video game. Well, not compared to Scott Pilgrim, it isn't. But it doesn't stop there. Scott Pilgrim is like a 20 video games wrapped up in a comic book and saturated in cleverness, style, and heart.
And it isn't purely style versus substance. It actually has both. There is character growth. There are lessons to be learned. But it just looks so damn cool while it's happening. I can't even begin to describe it. So let's get into the action...
The action was very differentiated. It's not all Scott fist-fighting people. Of course, that's there, but that's not all there is. And I really don't want to say much more than that in order to avoid spoiling it. What I do want to mention, however, is how the movie had the vast opportunity to waste potential, but how it didn't. For instance, this kind of movie--I suppose kind of a "Reverse-Revenge" film--has this big build up to a final fight. Take Kill Bill for example. The Bride's whole purpose is the destroy all those who destroyed her, and then go after the boss: Bill. You have this awesome fist-fight at the beginning and an epic Crazy 88's battle at the end of Volume 1. Then you look at Volume 2. The fights are a lot different. They're less epic. And the Bill fight is over in about 10 seconds. It's this major build up and then... anticlimactic. Scott Pilgrim doesn't do this. Every battle is like a Crazy 88 battle (minus the blood), in that they're grand-in-scale, fun, clever, and over-the-top (different from grand-in-scale). But, as I said before, they're all different enough so that you don't get bored with the same thing over and over again. I'm not even sure I can choose a favorite. It'd probably be a tie between Roxy and Ghideon.
However, I will say this: I'm sure this movie is not for everyone. There's probably a good chunk of the population that won't "get" it. And I don't mean this in the way that snooty film fans say people just don't "get" Wes Anderson, or people just don't "get" what Robert Altman was trying to do with Gosford Park. This is a nerd's movie through and through. If you don't have background knowledge in video games or comic books (in general), the humor is gonna go right past you. Now, not all the jokes are game/comic-related. But they're at the heart of the movie, and the whole look and feel of it is very centric to them. You'll probably sit there going "what the hell am I watching? This is dumb." But if you're a nerd, like me, this movie is like an Ode to your whole culture. Granted, I'm not saying it's one or the other, either. You don't have to be a gamer or a nerd to like this movie. I just mean that you'll "get" it more if you are.
All that being said, is it a perfect movie? No movie is. But it's one of the most entertaining bleeping movies I've ever seen. I don't think the smile ever left my face throughout the entire run-time. There was even a moment near the end where a guy in front of me took out his cell to text, and I didn't even care, because the movie had me in such an awesome mood. So after all the stylishness, the fun editing, the gaming humor (and other humor), the great action, and--believe it or not--Michael Cera actually changing it up a bit, I walked out of this movie having had a blast. Currently my favorite movie of the year, and now one of my favorite movies ever.
Royale With Cheese