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★★★★✩

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Directed by Edgar Wright

Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Rated PG-13

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is one of those movies that you’ll either hate or love. People who are into manga and video games will have a lot of fun with this movie. However, those who have no connection to such worlds will likely find the movie to be over the top and nonsensical. That said, as far as gaming-related movies go, this blows The Wizard out of the water.

Scott Pilgrim is based upon a multi-part comic book series that has, in turn, gained increasing notoriety because of the film. In a way, it’s fitting. Most modern video games have their roots in Japan, a country where manga (graphic novels) cultivate and sustain the video game industry in a circular pattern.

At the outset, Scott Pilgrim is the tale of an awkward nerd (the titular character, played by Michael Cera) with girl problems. Never answered is the question of how this guy could even come to have girl problems to begin with, as he has the musclebound physique of a ten year old fetus and the personality of the same guy Michael Cera plays in all his movies. It almost seems redundant to go over the plot of this movie, as the formula is probably common knowledge by now for anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock. Our hero meets a girl with rapidly-changing hair color, named Ramona Flowers; he quickly becomes infatuated with her. Unfortunately, he must contend with her seven exes, all of whom have super powers and have formed a league of evil. Luckily, Scott is also armed with his own super powers, as this movie totally ignores all rules and physics of the real world. Thus, Scott battles his way through the exes, culminating with a fight against the leader of the league of evil, Gideon Graves.

The casting of this movie was done well, with the only miscast character Scott himself. Michael Cera may be Generation Y’s Sean Connery, but he just seemed too displaced. His awkward nerd act is not only tired — we’ve seen this before — it also brings the cool factor of the rest of the film down a notch. On the other hand, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was great in the role of Ramona Flowers, who embodies the alluring hipness of that girl in every guy’s dreams.

The hallmark of the film, aside from the constant game references and ridiculous plot, is the completely frenetic pace of the brawls. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has some of the most off-the-wall battles you’ll see anywhere this year, and they move at a speed that will leave your brain spinning. Which isn’t a bad thing, since it also never gets difficult to follow the action.

If approached with an appreciation for the source material, affection for video games, or just an open mind and imagination, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World may well be the most fun you will have at the movies this summer. People who go into the theater with an overly critical eye, expecting a movie that makes sense within the confines of real world laws and physics, will be sorely disappointed. This movie is almost more of a video game than a movie at times, and taken in that context, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. For an hour and a half, it has the ability to transport you from reality - and sometimes that’s just what we need. I give it three and a half stars out of five, and the only things keeping me from going higher are Michael Cera’s slightly sub-par performance and its niche target audience.