Throughout the 2000s, comic book fans were given a number of comic book adaptations, many of which relied more on cashing in on familiar names more than attempting to offer audiences an experience rivaling the joys of its source material. As studios witnessed the disappointing financial and critical reception of these films, it became clear that new comic book movies had to be more ambitious in hopes of winning over audiences. While Warner Bros. and Marvel Studios made major strides with Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Iron Man, Universal Pictures turned to Edgar Wright, hot off the successes of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, to deliver fans an adaptation of beloved indie comic Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley.
In the decade since its debut, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has become a major hit with comic book fans, especially those who grew tired of seeing superheroes engage in otherworldly adventures. While the film's narrative is incredibly intimate, depicting a slacker attempting to cope with his own and his potential girlfriend's emotional baggage, Wright spared no expensive with bringing bombastic action sequences to life. Starring Michael Cera, the film also featured a number of future superhero icons, like Captain America's Chris Evans, Captain Marvel's Brie Larson, and Birds of Prey's Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Despite earning largely positive reviews from critics at the time, its financial performance wasn't quite as strong as it failed to become a major player at the world of pop culture.
In honor of its 10th anniversary, scroll down to see what critics said about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World when it hit theaters.
MTV - Kurt Loder
"Much of the movie's whacked-out humor is the work of the director. Wright's facility with eccentric ornamentation — bursts of canned laugh-track laughter, proudly cartoonish graphics, dreamscape enchantments, and sudden split-screenery — is irresistibly endearing; and his whiz-bang editing is a marvel throughout. (He's always one step ahead of the viewer, suddenly taking us places we didn't realize we were ready to go to yet.) And the script, which he co-wrote, is a feast of deadpan throwaways. ('I've dabbled with being a bitch,' says Ramona. 'My brother is permanently enfeebled,' notes Stacey.)"prevnext
E! Online - Leslie Gornstein
"Cera has essentially been playing the same role since fans discovered him in Arrested Development, but his sensitive dweeb persona is a perfect fit here. His comic timing is as admirable as ever, and within a few scenes it's pretty much impossible to see anyone else carrying the role. And there is a lot to carry. Cera's Pilgrim must be equal parts sympathetic and feckless, indecisive and bold. Like his character, Cera, in a way, pulls off an impossible task: Selling us on a hapless spaghetti-armed twentysomething who nonetheless can shred it up in a punk-rock band and defeat a half-dozen supervillains."prevnext
USA Today - Claudia Puig
"Cera's unwavering youth works well for the title character in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, an inventive and whimsical action-comedy/love story. The film fuses an indie/punk rock sensibility with comic-book violence and video game energy, mixed with quirky humor and sassy pop culture references. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) gets most things right, though he takes too long telling the tale. Based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley, the characters have a merry-prankster quality."prevnext
Movies.com - Jen Yamato
"After demonstrating a talent for witty direction and pop culture savvy in his previous movies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, director Wright proves himself an expert technician with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, surely one of the most visually dense pieces of pop cinema ever made. Thoughts dissolve into dreamy asides, villains explode into showers of coins, animated hearts dance across the screen when characters kiss, all in a nonstop flurry of graphics and 8-bit sound effects that create Scott Pilgrim's unique fantasy world. And if you're not too distracted by everything Wright throws at the screen, you might even feel a thing or two about Scott's love 'em and leave 'em romantic crisis of conscience. One thing's for sure: If you didn't have ADD going in, you will surely experience something akin to it during this 112-minute 'epic of epic epicness.'"prevnext
The Los Angeles Times - Betsy Sharkey
"There are pop culture references galore thrown into the mix — sitcom laugh tracks, noir references, the Seinfeld theme song and so on. Things do go on too long, and repeat themselves, as the film toggles between the fights and Scott trying to figure out if Ramona is the one. Though the fun is not so much in who wins or loses the girl — it’s the playing that matters, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World definitely has game."prevnext
Boston Globe - Ty Burr
"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World may be as close as the movies will ever get to seeing the world through the eyes of an over-caffeinated 23-year-old man-boy playing retro video games on a handheld and listening to a jangle-core iPod playlist while waiting for his girlfriend in an all-night diner in a largish North American city. Which is to say that the movie is of this precise moment and you should probably see it now, since it will be dated by next Tuesday."prevnext
AV Club - Scott Tobias
"Wright gives it his best: Scene by scene, Scott Pilgrim pops with bright, three-dimensional flourishes—CGI done right, for once—and the script adds a droll wit that’s perfectly in tune with its gallery of smart, sarcastic characters. Yet taken as a whole, the film’s caffeinated energy burns to exhaustion, in part because the intensity of Scott’s feelings for Ramona are never articulated. The concept of Scott fighting the evil exes is a giant metaphor for dealing with the baggage that people bring into a relationship, but Wright and Cera don’t bring those gnawing pangs of jealousy and doubt across. Their film is an assault on the senses that’s numb in the heart."prevnext
Entertainment Weekly - Owen Glieberman
"The movie, with its charming visual tropes (phones that literally go 'Ring,' a wheel of fortune that offers Scott two possible responses, one of which he takes), is a romantic comedy that moves at the speed of texting. Scott starts off by dating Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), a high school student who adores him; he then falls for Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a violet-haired, doe-eyed punk fatale with seven 'evil exes' he must defeat, as if they were videogame levels, to win her over. Winstead, a born star, is like a kewpie-doll Edie Sedgwick. She makes Ramona a girl worth fighting for, and fight Scott does — a bit too much, by the end. I dug the freshness of Scott Pilgrim, but I wish that it had a little less kick-ass. Still, it’s a true original."prevnext
The Village Voice - Robert Wilonsky
"For all of Scott Pilgrim‘s strict adherence to the comic—the stylized video-game imagery, the rock-and-roll and references, the self-conscious merging of chop-socky action and puppy-dog-sweet sentiment—it goes even deeper, conveying the ache pulsating between the lines in O’Malley’s original, which was so simply drawn that it looks like the work of a child not even trying very hard."prevnext
New York Post - Kyle Smith0comments
"There can be laughs in anti-comedy and random weirdness ('He punched a hole in the moon for me. It was pretty crazy,' 'No vegan diet, no vegan powers!'). But hip can be a strain. (I couldn’t figure out if I was supposed to laugh because one character is randomly named Stephen Stills. Have 22-year-olds even heard of that folky geezer?) And it takes close to 40 minutes for the plot, such as it is, to kick in. Even then, the movie just skitters this way and that, taking its time to set up the big decision about which girl Scott will choose — Knives or Ramona. But they’re both cool. Scott’s cool. Everything’s cool. So nothing matters."prev