‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’:
10 years later
What we’ll always love about the idiots who got dumped in Edgar Wright’s video game-inspired, banger-laden masterpiece.
It’s been 10 years since Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World exploded onto the convenient subspace highway running through humanity’s head. But for longtime fans, it’s hard to imagine life before this movie.
Scott Pilgrim, based on the graphic novels of Bryan Lee O’Malley, burst forth with such self-assured aesthetics and humor, such a fully formed identity, that for the fans who’ve loved it since day one, it can feel almost as if it was always with us on some level. (The metaphoric kind, not the Puck Man kind.) You know, a white door hanging in midair since the very beginning that we’d only just thought to enter.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World made its theatrical debut on Aug. 13 after a successful Comic-Con premiere, but disappointed at the box office despite early reviews lauding Wright’s style and his formidable young cast. Still, critics anticipated a cult following — and a cult following they got. Over the past decade, Scott Pilgrim has enjoyed admiration and salience beyond the wildest dreams of its box-office competitors, with the lead up to this anniversary including an oral history and virtual cast reunion. We’ve seen cosplay, fan fic, artwork, and more honoring a fantastic world that celebrated and revered heartbreak with unceasing tenacity.
This was the film that gave us a cocky, heavily eyebrowed Chris Evans before he became America’s ass. This was the film that wove video game aesthetics into band battles and sword fights but also made us headbang to Beck demos every 10 minutes. This was the film that made us realize we hearted Brie Larson years before her Oscar win and Avengers coronation. This was the film that challenged the manic pixie dream girl — not to mention the sheer concept of emotional baggage — while also delivering transcendent comedy like “Bread makes you FAT?!”
Scott Pilgrim Hive Entertainment Team gathered to reflect on this movie, there was no end to the list of things we wanted to talk about. But we found that like Ramona Flowers, we follow our moods when it comes to this realm. Some days we stan Matthew Patel’s demonic choreography, some days we envy Todd’s vegan powers, and on all days we worship Knives Chau, 17 years old.
In short, we love the exes of Scott Pilgrim as much as the movie itself. They’re reflections of the varied tones and perspectives that made this fandom what it is today. Each ex has their own powers, killer one-liners, and stunning visual sequences. They’re all played by brilliant actors who have enjoyed immense success since 2010 and are still so proud of this epic Canadian love story. We love them, even when they try to kill people at band battles and eventually explode into coins. They made up a whole that was good and welcoming, resilient yet vulnerable. We saw our heartbreak in theirs, and for that, we’ll always be grateful.
And so, to honor a decade with one of the best movies ever, we’ve distilled our gushing enthusiasm for the exes of Scott Pilgrim into a tour of their best moments. Reminisce with us — and don’t be afraid to throw on the soundtrack while you read.
In a universe with too many characters worthy of our adoration, Kim Pine still stands out as the ex who started it all. The perpetually sarcastic drummer, introduced as Scott’s first girlfriend before a nasty high school breakup (involving an 80-foot-tall purple-suited dude and a kick round the curvature of the earth), tells us everything we need to know about our esteemed antihero and the journey he’s taking from the start of the movie: Scott isn’t a great guy, and he’s got to fix that.
If your life had a face, I would punch it.
“We are Sex Bob-Omb! 1-2-3-4!” Kim shouts before sending viewers into a title sequence for the ages. Throughout the film, Kim serves as a reminder of where our adventure with Scott and Ramona began, as well as an emblem of all the other people worthy of care and attention on this fictional plane. She’s never on screen enough, and that’s really a shame considering Alison Pill’s stellar performance. Still, Kim is an integral part of the Scott Pilgrim universe that makes us want to know even more about Scott’s past. (FYI, Kim gets a deeper backstory in the comics so if you’re in need of that, go forth!)
Delightfully deadpan and formidably fragile, Kim is the soul of Scott Pilgrim — an unafraid reminder that the feelings you leave with others live a life all their own. And, eventually, those feelings will threaten to punch your life in the face. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
Let’s be honest with ourselves: Scott has Matthew Patel beat from the very first moment he arrives. Ramona’s first Evil Ex shows up with all the fanfare and Scott…promptly smacks him down. Then he does it again. Matthew is every inch the high school nerd who grew up with a chip on his shoulder and a belief that the whole world is out to get him.
That’s also what makes him kind of perfect. From the nautical-themed duds (“Pirates are in this year!”) to the intentional punctuating of each declarative statement with exaggerated body language, Matthew is a delightful dork. It also doesn’t hurt that his all-too-brief Bollywood-style number is the best musical moment in a movie that’s filled with them. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter
As delightful as it was to see Chris Evans relish being a baddie in Knives Out after a decade as the squeaky-clean star-spangled Captain America, we can’t pretend it was new information. Evans was an action hero and truly delicious villain before Marvel made him a megastar, and nowhere is that showcased as finely as in his turn as Ramona’s second evil ex, Lucas Lee.
The only thing keeping me and her apart is the two minutes it’s gonna take to kick your ass.
From the raspy baritone to the angular eyebrows (does he have extra muscles there too??), Evans embodies Lee so fully that you forget he’s in the movie for literally five minutes. He’s a fully formed A-list asshole and every second we spend with him is a treat — from “You listen close and you listen hard, bucko” to the fatal grind, bro, that ends his career and his life. It takes monumental talent to pull off lines like “getting blazed in my Winnie” and to make that entrance with the Universal overture not the slightest bit cheesy but fully iconic in and of itself. It takes a star, is what it takes, and that’s Lucas Freakin’ Lee. — Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
Todd Ingram is a bass-playing, mostly vegan himbo king — like a better, cooler, and more talented version of Scott. As Ramona’s third Evil Ex but also the current boyfriend of Scott’s own Evil Ex, Envy Adams, Todd stands at the crux of a cluster of ex-lovers. But that status fits him perfectly, with his cocky attitude and confusing threats involving the work schedules of a cleaning lady.
Todd doesn’t just think he’s better than most people, he actually is — because “being vegan just makes you better than most people,” to quote Envy. It gives you powerful psychic abilities. As Todd explains: “You know how you only use 10% of your brain? That’s because the other 90% is filled with curds and whey.” It just makes sense.
Because you’ll be dust by Monday. Because you’ll be pulverized in two seconds. The cleaning lady? She cleans up…dust. She dusts.
Todd proves his mettle with his psychic vegan powers, tossing Scott through a brick wall and launching him into the atmosphere with ease. Scott, clearly at a disadvantage, suggests a bass battle. Well, Todd is so much better at playing bass than the Sex Bob-Ombs low end that Scott is blasted through yet another wall. Todd is only bested when Scott tricks him with a coffee topped with half-and-half, ushering in one of the greatest scenes in the entire movie: the Vegan Police. Todd questions his crimes, asking, “Gelato isn’t vegan?” and is promptly answered with, “It’s milk and eggs, bitch.”
Despite being objectively better than Scott in almost every way, Todd falls to his knees without his powers and is head-butted into a spray of change, an unfitting end for such a guy. — Kellen Beck, Entertainment Reporter
Roxy Richter deserved better, OK? The other Evil Exes beefed with Scott because Gideon told them to, but Roxy’s issues with Ramona were totally justified. This beautiful, teleporting lesbian thought she found something special with Ramona, and Ramona said to her face that their relationship was “just a phase.” Bi-furious doesn’t even begin to cover it.
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And yet! Through her heartbreak Roxy served looks, quips, and top-tier comic book violence. She showed up to fight Scott wearing a parka slashed to reveal one half of a leather string bikini, titty out in the middle of winter, ready to bring the beatdown with her belt that is also a sword/whip thing. What did Lucas Lee have? A skateboard? Get the hell out of my face.
Your BF’s about to get effed in the b!
Roxy exposed Scott for being a sexist garbage man when he refused to fight her and only lost her battle because Ramona weaponized Roxy’s kink at the last minute. In what universe is that something to celebrate? If Scott Pilgrim ever gets a spinoff, I hope it begins with Roxy reincorporating her matter from a pile of coins, finding a hot (and actually gay) girlfriend, and rocking off into the sunset with the future Mrs. Richter. — Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter
Kyle and Ken: Japanese, handsome, and perfect. We don’t learn a lot about the Katayanagi Twins, Ramona’s fifth and sixth Evil Exes introduced in an amp vs. amp battle against Sex Bob-Omb. But in a way, that’s kind of the point.
Appearing in-concert with a two-headed musical dragon capable of telekinesis (and uh, audio explosions), Kyle and Ken appear as a shining blaze of glory in both Scott’s journey and Ramona’s past. Dating twins likely wasn’t a “good” emotional choice for Ramona, and that it ended in bad feelings all around is no surprise. Still, that kind of overwhelming spectacle of a relationship sticks with you and packs a powerful punch. Of course, it’s going to stick with her.
Meanwhile for Scott, twins are just added salt in the wound of a crumbling romance that, at this point in the movie, isn’t getting any better. “Not only do I want to take part,” Scott proclaims, while playing the hell out of his bass, “I want to take them apart.”
The climax of Scott’s rage kicks off the final chapter in this adventure, utilizing the shiny, flawless Katayanagi Twins as the perfect target for unfettered anger. When Scott’s Yeti blasts through the dual-craniumed reptile(??), you can feel it in your bones. Sure, it’s not the best look for Scott, but we’ve all been there. — A.F.
Gideon is pretty much irredeemable, so there’s no point wasting time defending him. The man puts chips in women’s heads to control them and is a grade-A butthole from the second he shows up. What is good about Gideon is Jason Schwartzman’s portrayal of him in a pitch perfect pastiche of an early-2010s hipster nightmare.
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