First off, I’ll go in stating before watching this I had little to no idea what Scott Pilgrim was about at all. I’d heard about it in passing, that it’s some 2000s comic series about a guy having to fight his crush’s evil ex boyfriends in order to date her and that it had some movie and videogame made for it at one point, but other than that I went into this rather blind with no nostalgia based bias, looking at it more at face value. Did I enjoy it? Yeah. Is it an animated masterpiece? Not at all, however the show is new enough and fresh enough in mind, having binged all eight episodes last night with my girlfriend, for me to want to write up a review about it for those who might also be interested. The following will have spoilers, which I’ll try and warn about beforehand, but I hope my review gives some decent enough insight for others who might want to check this out.
SPOILERS AHEAD, LAST WARNING. DON’T SCROLL FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED.
Scott fucking “dies” and doesn’t come back until later. I warned you about spoilers, your fault if you clicked that and haven’t watched the show yet, but yes this show takes a complete different direction from the original comics, movie, and game, as while the show follows the original storyline for the most part of the first episode it changes drastically by the end of the first episode as Scott actually “loses” to the first evil ex boyfriend Matthew Patel and disappears. This enraged many long-term fans online, especially those who wanted a faithful animated recreation of the original comics without all this alternate universe bullshit, however as I didn’t read the original comics (they sound lame anyways) I didn’t honestly care too much, and actually invited the bold direction they took; In the end, Scott Pilgrim has been out for almost twenty years now, hardcore fans already know the original story off heart and them trying to something different, and actually trying to bring more character development to Ramona and the evil ex boyfriends more, which is something I’ve heard they get little of in the comics, I feel isn’t a totally awful direction. Honestly people overblew how bad this first episode’s ending was, I thought it was fine and was willing to pursue the following episodes without issue.
Episode two starts and this is where the alternate universe shenanigans begin. Ramona, despite only going on one pity date with Pilgrim (who is an adulterer and groomer anyways, fuck this guy), decides she actually wants to try and find this sad sack of shit, and so makes it her mission to do so for majority of the show as she finds out quickly that he is not dead but instead fell through some portal mid-fight. Her logical conclusion is one of the evil ex boyfriends (and ex girlfriend as she is bisexual, no Netflix didn’t add this she was actually bisexual in the original comic) made Scott disappear and that’s what she goes off on for most of the show. Now the show takes a complete different direction from the comics on how the evil exs are dealth with as while the comics involve Scott just beating the shit out of them, in the show it takes the angle of the Ramona and the exs talking out differences and resolving their trauma from their relationship(s) maturely. That’s how most her investigation plays out: find a ex, confront them on Scott’s disappearance, and even though she doesn’t get the answer she is looking for Ramona and the ex get closure on their awkward breakup, and all in all come off on better terms. Matthew Patel is a different story, as yes, while they resolve their differences this is done very briefly and Ramona scratches him off her list of culprits quite quickly, he is clearly brushed over in the whole investigation as he gets focus elsewhere in the story: Matthew Patel riding on the high of beating Scott Pilgrim yet bitter disappointment of not winning back Ramona after beating Scott Pilgrim, in anger storms back to the evil ex HQ and upsurps the whole organisation from Gideon. Yes, this is one of these alternate universe stories from one of the weakest and lame characters ends up as the big, main villain. Despite this, he barely does anything with this new power, not even stopping Ramona and her investigation, instead using his new found power to fuck about and eventually just gives the whole thing back to Gideon in the end anyways.
There is also this whole sub plot where one of Scott’s friends writes a manuscript Well, someone else did it but everyone thinks his friend wrote it about what happened in the original Scott Pilgrim timeline and it’s so good a movie studio wants to make a film about it. Honestly, this whole subplot really goes no where except having a part in Ramona’s investigation and her way of interviewing two of the exs, one where she simply comes to good terms with and the other that she accidentally helps turn gay for Scott’s gay roommate Wallace Wells (he was vegan anyways so makes sense he had a gay within him). Other than that the movie gets cancelled and turned into a musical, both feeling like background filler to awkwardly progress the plot.
Anyways, to spoil the end of the show, Ramona eventually does find out who kidnapped Scott Pilgrim, and it was a collaboration between The Twins and Future Scott Pilgrim. Yes, it is pretty dumb but whatever, it’s nerd slop Scott Pilgrim, I do not expect good story writing her. Anyways, turns out Future Scott Pilgrim goes into the past and kidnaps Normal Scott to warn him to never date Ramona, pretty sound advice considering she inadvertedly help create a league of evil exs and even ruined Future Scott. Scott is like fuck no and then meets Future Ramona, who takes him back to the past, and the mystery has been solved… Or has it? Nah turns out a spell is on Scott and Ramona so the pair can’t kiss and they only find out why later on when they go to a musical stageshow about Scott Pilgrim’s Original Storyline and get teleported to the moon by an even older Future Scott who is even MORE broken by his relationship with Ramona that he becomes extremely jacked and like Ogre from Tekken. More than ever he wants his past self to not date Ramona and will beat up his past self, Scott’s friends, the evil exs, and Ramona if necessary. You’ve gotta ask yourself: if this many people become so petty, broken. and insane after dating Ramona are they really the problem or is it just Ramona? Shouldn’t she be the main villain in this show? I mean dating her was so bad that Future Scott had to drag himself from the past to tell him no, don’t fucking do this to yourself. Ofc Ramona being evil is never explored which is a shame as it would have been a cool angle to take, instead they beat the shit out of Future Scott until Future Ramona comes along, calls him pathetic, and then her and past Ramona fuse to send Future Scott home and to break the kissing spell placed on Scott. Ramona and Scott start dating (despite literal future reflections telling them this is a bad idea), everyone is generally well-off, and yeah that’s the end pretty much.
What I liked
The characters are what honestly bring Scott Pilgrim together, they are charming and entertaining enough to help you bear with the odd writing and directions the story takes, I did especially like how they gave more character development to otherwise overlooked characters from the comics, I love it when alternate universe shows do that as it just helps grow otherwise plastic characters. The animation is extremely fun and awesome too, they really went all out making it entertaining, and enjoyable to watch. The music is fine too and all in all, though this part was short, I did like a lot in this show of what I saw.
What I didn’t like
Oh boy here we go. Before I start, let me make this clear: I did actually quite enjoy this show and while I did like more stuff in this show than disliked, there is still very blatant flaws with this production I want to point out as they are way too glaring. First off, this show is literally a complete opposite to how they treat Scott and Ramona, while Ramona gets loads of development in this Scott does not and vice versa with the comics. I really wish they just called this show Ramona or something as this show really isn’t much about him and most of Scott’s growth as a person is skipped which was one of the biggest sell points of the original comic, you saw a scumbag go from a weirdo musician who dates minors to this guy who has realised has flaws and has grown as a person, yet this show skips over that, and it’s safe to assume Scott is the same dickhead at the beginning of the show as he is end of the show as he literally learns nothing about himself except he will become a mentally broken psycho in the future. They do touch on the whole conflict with Scott and Knives and their weird age gap but it’s literally out of nowhere and Scott comes to realisation of “Gee, I really shouldn’t be dating minors”.
Futhermore, it feels some of Scott’s friends get the shaft in terms of development too, Knives barely plays a part other than becoming a member of Scott’s band and Wallace at times it feels like he is only there so the Netflix directors can point at him and be like “Look he is gay and he is doing gay things, isn’t that so cool???” than building his character rather than just be him being gay. Literally half his scenes involve him doing somewhat homoerotic, is this all they could think of for his characterisation in this?
This is a personal gripe but I can’t stand all the stupid nerd references in Scott Pilgrim, I know the original comic had them too but they feel so out of left-field, and dumped in there so the creator can be like “LOOOK, I REFERENCED A REALLY OLD PIECE OF MEDIA DO YOU GET????? HAHA I’M SO CULTURED IN NERD SHIT HAHA”. I hate how I hate how I got most of them as I’m massive nerd myself but yeah, if it’s related to what’s going on it’s understandable but they just get flung out of nowhere. I found it obnoxious, simple as.
Honestly, I quite enjoyed watching this. It wasn’t perfect, it did make me cringe at parts, but it wasn’t as bad as people were making it out to be. Maybe if you’re an original fan you’d be disappointed by this show as this is far from faithful animated adaption people have wanted for years, especially since Scott Pilgrim literally takes off in the first episode and doesn’t come back until the end of episode 6. I feel there’s a lot to like here and found the overall show quite cute and charming, not something I’d watch again anytime soon but I liked it enough to write up this review to give my thoughts about it. I’d say if go into this not expecting much you’ll probably have a good time with this show, but that’s all from personal opinions for today.
Final Verdict: 6/10
Originally posted on the Mariana Bay Forum by Khastle on 20/11/2023 (https://forum.marianabay.com/threads/scott-pilgrim-takes-off-review.319/)