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Throwbacks on Netflix: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Cult classics are always a very interesting subject. They are often movies that performed poorly at the time of their release but garnered a following after their box office run. This is the case for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Based on the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim, this movie is a "bad" movie. which means that if you judge it by typical movie standards, it appears to be a very low-quality film. However, let's dive in and figure out why so many people love this movie and why it is a surpisingly good movie even with its faults.


Scott Pilgrim is a 22-year-old bass guitarist in a garage band in Toronto, Canada. One of the first things we learn about him is that he is dating a 17-year-old high-school student named Knives Chau. His band-mates disprove of his choices, and it becomes clear that there is some tension in the band. One day while Scott and Knives are in the library, he sees Ramona Flowers, an Amazon delivery girl, and he immediately begins to pursue her and loses interest in Knives. His band enters a battle of the bands and invites Ramona, hoping to impress her. At the battle, he is attacked by one of Ramona's exes, who reveals that he must defeat all of her seven evil exes to date her.

Actors/Actresses and their Performances

This movie stars Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim. This movie lends itself to Cera’s slightly more dry-humor style. The way Cera plays Scott is as a man who simultaneously thinks very highly of himself but doesn't have much self-respect. He acts like an awkward, unsure young man and it helps create some empathy for his character, even when he makes some very regrettable decisions.

Other than him, there are a few other celebrities that appeared in this movie that you wouldn’t expect, so I will briefly mention them. Chris Evans (Captain America himself) plays one of Ramona’s evil exes, a cocky high-profile action movie star. Anna Kendrick plays Stacey Pilgrim, Scott’s sister and the person who seemingly always knows every bit of gossip regarding Scott, but still loves him and gives him advice. Brie Larson (Captain Marvel herself) plays Natalie “Envy” Adams, Scott’s own evil ex. And for all of you who are fans of the CW’s superhero shows (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, etc.), Brandon Ingram (The Atom) plays another of Ramona’s exes, a vegan with mind-powers.


For this one we are going to start with the dialogue. It is deliberately over-the-top and very stereotypical of young adults and how awkward they are around each other. It is not designed to be deep or complex. The dialogue is written to be funny and awkward, which it is. The jokes are hilarious, and while there are not many intentionally funny moments, it seems like the whole movie was written to be a joke, and most of it works.

In terms of cinematography, there are a lot of video game references. Whenever Scott fights an evil ex, it's almost as if they enter a video game and get superpowers. The fights are well choreographed and not hard to follow. Scott also doesn't often just win by fighting better. He sometimes has to use his mind or his musical prowess to fight and win these battles, making for some very good-looking scenes requiring special effects. The special effects used in these fights are also well done and very in character for the movie. All of the cinematography, with its deliberate attempt to make the whole movie look as over-the-top as possible, serves mainly to enhance the movie and its very unique attitude and atmosphere.


Just because this is a cult classic doesn't mean that this movie is perfect. There are a few issues that warrant lost points. The first is the fact that some of the fights go on a little too long. The fights are over-the-top, and that plays to the movie's strengths, but the strength of the choice to go way over-the-top is actually turned into a weakness when the fight goes on too long, and it becomes a little boring at times. The second big issue is the fact that even though the movie is overall hilarious, there are a few moments that try hard to be funny and end up not landing. This is not a deal-breaker, but it does result in the movie losing a couple of points on my rating system.

Final Thoughts

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a good cult classic film that knows what it is. It entertains and delights those who have a slight affinity for garage band music and video games with its over-the-top action and premise. For some, it is one of the best movies ever made. For others, it might be completely uninteresting. For me, I think it deserves a viewing for any who wants to watch a movie that is different from most mainstream movies and loves some ridiculous and funny action, comedy, and drama.

Final Rating: 7/10

1: Unacceptable

2: Awful

3: Painfully Below Average

4: Below Average

5: Average

6: Above Average

7: Strong

8: Standout

9: Incredible

10: Perfect

Ryan O’Connor is a fifth-year senior studying physics at CWU. He is an avid gamer and nerd and loves to share and hear opinions about anything related to these things. He is also the DJ on Electropolis known as LYNX.

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