As reviews of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World come in, inevitable hating has begun. Paste magazine called it like a video game adaptation in that it was “more akin to watching a videogame than actually playing one.” So far, though, the film is ranking around 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and having read the first in the comic book series, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the film. It promises to be an over-the-top, not-too-deep late summer blockbuster.
But the premise of the film: that Scott (Michael Cera) must defeat Ramona Flowers’ seven evil ex-boyfriends before he can date her. Greg Rozan on Facebook ponders the premise:
From book one alone, he is a hapless, lovable loser whose primary interest in life is… get the girl. So what, right? What else in life could possibly be worth pursuing? I mean if you think about it, it’s a miracle we’ve been able to construct all this technology and social artifice when us guys are so consumed with the desire to f*ck and be f*cked. Why do we even bother with education and literacy and all that garbage? We have all the tools we need to propagate the species by the time we hit puberty! Scott Pilgrim is just another manifestation of an apparently ubiquitous male obsession.
To be honest, when I first heard about the Scott Pilgrim series, I resisted reading it for a long time precisely for that reason. Even expanding on the male obsession theme, Scott’s quest to defeat evil exes sounded a little too close to chivalry (something feminists have often decried as sexist). Furthermore, the plot suggests that Ramona has baggage that must be dealt with and Scott does not.
Why should Scott have to defeat Ramona’s evil exes but not have to fight his own? Ultimately in relationships we’re each fighting our own demons and our own pasts even if our current partners must also deal with that baggage along the way. If anything I would have loved to see Ramona and Scott take on the exes together.