Youth II

film 4 of 4

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 31, 2015

When you think of it, this barely lands on the good side of the reprehensible Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Both films portray the same demographic, beset by the same dangers and temptations; both go easy on the implications for the sake of currying audience favour. But that one is rotten, and this one is not only delightful—danger!—but ultimately, responsible. Maybe that’s because in addition to the very successful incorporation of graphic/novel conventions, the comic/caricatured portrayal of young person issues and types, there’s recognizability, fallibility, humanity. The film is really tremendously, even exhilaratingly imaginative. But in addition to showing off—a completely valid young person objective—it also has sympathetic and affectionate sentiments.

In connection, notice the use of the Huck Finn device, especially as pertaining to the high school girlfriend character. At the beginning we see and share the protagonist’s limited perspective; by the end, because of the travails he’s undergone throughout his picaresque journey, he and we have grown into decency. That’s the core here, and it’s sincerely and substantially explored. That means that the postmodern take on heroism, all the satirical and stylistic embellishments, come as a bonus. Plus, it’s pretty great on music, and its importance in or to the life of youth. Fantastic climax. Schwartzman! If I were young, I can see how this one might be very important to me.