Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a 2010 Action/ Sci-Fi/ Comedy/ Generally wonderful film directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End, The Upcoming Baby Driver and The Only Reason Ant-Man had a chance outside of Paul Rudd and The Marvel Logo) based on Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels of the same name and starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, Alison Pill, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, my secret love Aubrey Plaza and SO MANY MORE that I'm gonna just move on before I start listing everyone and go on a whole spree of just talking about the actors involved rather than the roles they portray.

It follows the events of Scott Pilgrim (Cera), a Canadian who plays bass in a band, as he tries to live his life without really doing much. He starts dating a high schooler (Ellen Wong) and while doing this starts to ALSO date a girl with weird hair who can skate through his mind (Literally) name Ramona Flowers (Winstead). She has seven evil exes that Scott must fight because reasons, and that's the main set-up.

Visually this film is stunning, and I will be talking almost exclusively about the film, so you have been warned... With Wright's amazing direction and the plethora of visual glory that the film provides, this a film that one interested in film, animation or visual effects should study. With a large amount of practical and CGI effects blending together beautifully and a soundtrack that not only is great to listen to on it's own helps bring forward all the beauty in front of the camera in a way that Edgar Wright exemplifies in all his works, this film is just a master class in direction, acting, visual style and writing...

This is what makes it the perfect video game film.

Did I forget to mention that? Whoops, my bad...

Scott Pilgrim, at it's heart, is a love letter to indie rock, a weird age of graphic novels, and video games, more specifically older, "classic" video games. This is evident from the very beginning of the film, where the Universal logo is shown on screen in a 16-bit style with a chip-tune version of the Universal DUN DUN (I don't know what else to call the music during that) blaring out. With "subtle" nods to video games like the above image of "Getting a Life," (HAHA), a visual gag involving a "pee bar" (No I'm not joking), and fight scenes and scenarios straight out of a video game, this film is such a love letter the a series of graphic novels which in itself is a love letter to so many other things that it's almost laughable...but it's not because this whole movie is just BONKERS WONDERFUL!

While the story itself is rather basic and doesn't take everything from the graphic novels that I wish it would have (Like the Katayanagi twins being expert robot builders in the graphic novels and only being put into a single battle of the bands Amp-vs-Amp match where they have WAY to many speakers for keyboardists), it does take the main points to heart and run with them.

It's ultimately the story of a do nothing guy who can't commit to anything trying to figure out life without actually doing much of anything. He doesn't really learn a lesson during the film, rather going along for the ride and just sort of ending up with the girl he left his other girl for. But don't feel too bad about any of that because he spends most of the film getting the ever loving soul kicked out of him before he manages to finally beat whoever he's fighting at the time with some weird cop out or loop hole like when he manages to beat Chris Evans by making him skateboard down a set of outdoor stairs in the middle of winter that is obnoxiously long that no sane person would ever attempt to actually traverse down in such a manner.

I wouldn't even want to CLIMB the steps! But that's more because I'm lazy than anything else...

Now back to the whole thing about this being a video game movie. It is. End of discussion.

But that won't sell some people on this, so let's go forward. The references to games alone is worth the price of admission, including the baseline to Final Fantasy 2, villains exploding into coins and rewarding people points for being defeated, the name of the band being Sex Bob-Omb, and a ninja arcade game inspired by Dance Dance Revolution that I would totally play in a heartbeat! And those are just scratching the surface!

The story of the film follows Scott as he essentially goes from boss fight to boss fight while trying achieve his ultimate goal of defeating the members of the Evil League of Exes led by final boss and total hipster jerk face Gideon Graves played by the totally not hipster jerkface but great at playing them Jason Schwartzman. Scott himself can be seen as a anti-hero in many different ways, mainly because he never actually learns anything, is somehow an expert in martial arts and sword play, and cuts his own hair because of a different girl who he used to date that is now dating one of Ramona's ex-boyfriends. And yes that makes him an anti-hero because he doesn't want to pay for his hair cuts like a normal human being would.

As our titular protagonist, we watch as Scott takes out minions, bosses and Coke Zero like it was going out of style. He uses his fists, feet, a guitar and two different flaming swords he pulls out of his chest for some reason to dispose of them, as well as his words in the form of sending Captain America careening down a pointlessly large number of stairs on a skateboard because he can't beat him the old fashioned way; his fists. And yes, I'm still stuck on that because it's CHRIS MOTHERF*CKING EVANS he does this to! That's Captain Torch or Human America we're talking about!

I will avenge you!

Not only do we get these thrown at us, but we get a roster of side characters who not only try and tell Scott to do the things he's supposed to do all along (Get a Job, Break up with Knives, Stop being a Dick, etc), a visual cluster of awesome that helps accentuate all the punches, kicks and sick guitar licks, and, of course, ALL THE VIDEO GAME REFERENCES!

The only sticking point for most people I've talked to about this is that unlike many other video game movies, this one is not based on an established video game franchise. Movies like Mortal Kombat (1995), Warcraft (2016), and Super Mario Bros. (Don't care when it came out) all tried to take an established and often times beloved franchise to varying degrees of success. Mortal Kombat was PG-13 and thus could not show the main draw of the series in the film, that being blood, guts and mutilation; Warcraft tried to condense one to many plot-lines from an already complex story into a single film from a franchise that had at least three games and a MMO to tell the same story; Super Mario Bros barely had anything to do with the original source material thanks to weird direction, story choices and for some reason setting it in the real world.

Some of the most successful video game films are those that DO NOT INVOLVE A PARTICULAR VIDEO GAME. The problem with trying to turn an interactive medium into one strictly devoted to observation is that when you take the interactive aspects away (Moving the character you control, making choices on the fly, changing aspects of the character to fit your needs) and put it into a medium that is primarily about dialogue, visual story-telling and camera angles, you lose one of the biggest things that people enjoy about video games; becoming the person you are portraying in the game.

Fight me!

Movies like Scott Pilgrim and Wreck-It Ralph (2012) take the concept of video games and use it as a part of the visual style rather than the overall narrative structure. Wreck-It Ralph is about a video game character, sure, but the characters within are dealing with problems that we would have to deal with in our ordinary lives. Ralph has an existential crisis about who he is and what he does for a living; Fix-It Felix has to deal with segregation and coming to terms with his role in that problem; Vanellope is outcast from her friends and family by a tyrannical, fear mongering dictator who wants to prove her worth to all of them; Calhoun is programmed with a tragic backstory and must learn to move on from said tragic experience while also leading a legion of space-marines against a never ending onslaught of monsters day in and day out.

Wreck-It Ralph's strength is that while it IS about Video Games and does include characters like Bowser (Super Mario Bros.), Zangief (Street Fighter), Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog) and Root Beer Tapper (Root Beer Tapper), it does not force itself to use these characters as the crux of the story and instead uses them as background characters to help the plot move forward for the main cast. The same can be said for Scott Pilgrim, as Scott is essentially the main character of a story where others help him move forward with the plot and video games are used as references and simply help give a little something extra to an already masterfully stylized film. Removing those references in either film wouldn't hurt them in either way too badly, but having them adds a little something extra. Nods to the audience like this help make everyone feel unique, especially when they are references that everyone can get AND ones that only a small handful will notice, thus lengthening the conversations you can have about said film, while also adding that much more depth to it.

Yes, there are video games that do cinematic moments quite well. Heavy Rain and other games from Quantic Dream are often seen as "interactive" movies, simply because you are entering button prompts to help move the story along and your actions can change the outcome of the overall story. Final Fantasy has given us some of the most visually stunning sequences in games through Cut Scenes, including the near seem-less blend of Cut Scene to gameplay that was the introduction to Final Fantasy VII. Even Cut Scenes themselves can highlight the story of a game, giving exposition and story information to the player without resorting to throwaway lines of dialogue from random characters.

Or stats that ultimately make no sense without context...

Now I want you to imagine something during a fight scene...let's use the fight between Ramona Flowers and Evil Ex #4 Roxanne "Roxy" Richter (Mae Whitman). Here's a Link for you ( Now, before each punch is thrown by either Scott, Roxy or Ramona, imagine a slight slow down in time and a button prompt appearing on screen like a quick-time event. Add in the visual styling of the film accentuating the punches, kicks and strikes that land and that the latter half of the fight has Scott LITERALLY CONTROLLED BY ANOTHER PERSON and you have the interactivity thrown in.

I know it's a stretch, but think about that same idea with any of the other movies I presented earlier. Mortal Kombat, Warcraft and Super Mario Bros were less about making a film that feels like the game and more about making a movie about the game. Scott Pilgrim feels like what it needs to be; a series of Cut Scenes that could easily blend into a game experience, much like the opening sequence from Final Fantasy VII.

The bottom line here is that this film is, first and foremost, a film. Nothing can change that. But what this film does better than most trying to do something similar is that with very few changes or tweaks, you can turn this into a game. This could easily have been a Telltale Game, much like Tales from the Borderlands or the new Guardians of the Galaxy Telltale series. It's a crazy smart film that not only adapted a series of graphic novels better than several films that have tried the same with books in the past, but it did so with a passion and hard work for the medium it was pulling from that it's hard to not see that this was a labor of love from all involved.

The attention to detail in this film is staggering. I didn't even get into the subtle details like how each of the evil exes have something in their appearance and mannerisms that represent their respective numbers, including Scott, representing the number Zero as the current boyfriend. But, as others have spent hours upon hours of time on YouTube going over that very piece of film trivia, I don't want to spend too much time talking about it here.

Or the shirt he wears of the band that helped give him his name...

Scott Pilgrim is a piece of cinematic history that a good number of people have not had a chance to see. During the film's opening weekend, it finished fifth behind The Expendables, Eat Pray Love, The Others Guys Second Weekend and Inception's Fifth! It's Rotten Tomatoes score is 81% after 247 reviews, with the average score being 7.5 of 10. It's become a cult classic thanks to it's less than popular reception, with only $47.7 million box office gross.

This is one of my personal favorite films ever, and to put that into perspective, my favorite films lists includes Amadeus, The Blues Brothers, The Dark Knight, Galaxy Quest, The World's End (Another Edgar Wright film), Who Framed Roger Rabbit and more. Many of these are visual masterpieces, and yes, many are also comedies. This film stands out from them for it's excellent dedication to detail, a wonderful cast who all went on to become semi or fantastically famous, and helped show that if you put enough love into what you do, and focus your attention to the details as much as you do the grand picture, you can get a film that will be studied for generations.

Thanks for reading. I love film and video games and plan to do more articles like this in the future, focusing less on Top Ten lists and more on analytical discussions of film, books, games and more. If you like this, please let me know, or if you want to add to the conversation, message me or leave a comment below. Thanks again for reading, and I'll be back soon with more!