Analysis of Scott pilgrim vs. the world

Summary Scott Pilgrim is a 22-year-old struggling musician who has a secret relationship with a 17-year-old high school student named Knives. After meeting a girl named Ramona in his dreams, Scott becomes obsessed with finding her, but learns he must defeat her seven evil exes before they can date. Along the way, Scott navigates his own complicated love life, learns about his past mistakes, and grows as a person. In the end, he faces off against Ramona's final evil ex, Gideon Graves, and reconciles with both Ramona and Knives. The film is a fantastical journey of self-discovery and love.


Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique The story has a lot of potential with its unique blend of comedy, romance, and action, but the execution falls short in some areas. The pacing feels uneven, and the characters could use more development to make the audience fully invested in their journey. The fight scenes are creative and entertaining, but they tend to drag on for too long.
Suggestions: To improve the screenplay, the story could benefit from more focus on character development and a tighter pacing. Additionally, some of the fight scenes could be condensed to keep the audience engaged. The themes of love, jealousy, and redemption could be explored more deeply to add more emotional weight to the story. The dialogue could also be polished to make it more natural and witty.

Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:

Scott Pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim is a fresh-faced, charmingly cocky, and lovable slacker who is the bassist of Sex Bob-Omb. He is socially awkward but obsessed with Ramona and is willing to risk everything for her. Despite his flaws of immaturity and self-absorption, he is determined to win her heart and defeat her seven evil exes. Throughout the story, he learns to confront his flaws and value the people in his life.



Knives Chau

Knives Chau is a sweet and innocent high school girl who is infatuated with Scott Pilgrim. She is naive, eager to please and madly in love with him, even after their breakup. Throughout the film, she is portrayed as young, energetic, and enthusiastic about her relationship with Scott, but is also unaware of his true intentions. As the film progresses, Knives shows growth and maturity, coming to terms with her heartbreak caused by Scott's infidelity and realizing that she is too good for him.



Stephen Stills

Stephen Stills is the lead singer and guitarist of Sex Bob-Omb. He is ambitious and sensitive, and is looked upon as the most talented of the group. Stephen provides a source of comic relief and is a good friend to Scott. He is serious about band practice and is worried about their performance at The Rockit. Although he is a talented musician, he lacks confidence in himself and his band and is prone to anxiety and self-doubt.



Kim Pine

Kim Pine is the sarcastic and aloof drummer of Sex Bob-Omb. She is blunt and has a tough exterior, but cares deeply for her friends. She can come across as mean at times but has a soft spot for Scott. She is jealous of his relationship with Ramona and harbors anger towards her ex-boyfriend.



Young Neil

Young Neil is a 20-something music enthusiast and video game fanatic. He is friendly, awkward, and tends to idolize Scott and his friends. He joins Scott's band as a bassist, providing a younger and naive perspective on the world around him. Despite his awkwardness, he is helpful to the group and has a crush on Knives Chau.



Scott

Scott is a lovable but indecisive slacker musician in his early 20s who lacks direction in his life. He is passionate about music and has a good sense of humor. He is torn between his past relationships with Knives and Envy and his growing obsession with Ramona. Scott is quirky, insecure, and impulsive, but also loyal to his friends and willing to make bold moves when necessary.



Wallace

Wallace is a gay man in his mid-twenties with a sharp-tongued, sarcastic sense of humor. He is extremely loyal to his friends, especially Scott, and serves as both a mentor and confidant. He is flamboyantly expressive in his mannerisms and fashion, and unapologetically sassy. Despite his biting comments and snarky remarks, Wallace genuinely cares about Scott's well-being and wants him to succeed. He offers tough love when necessary and always has Scott's back.



Stacey

Stacey is a playful and teasing younger sister who cares about Scott but also wants him to make good choices. She is a friend of Scott's and is curious about Ramona. Stacey is sympathetic but also a bit teasing towards Scott.



Ramona

Ramona is a mysterious and alluring woman, with a complicated past that she guards fiercely. She is independent, intelligent, and sarcastic, but also caring towards Scott. Ramona tries to make things work with Scott, but her unresolved issues with her exes continue to haunt her. She is torn between her feelings for Scott and her attraction to Gideon. Ramona is both a romantic interest and a driving force of conflict in the story, offering Scott a chance at love but also bringing him trouble.



Ramona Flowers

Ramona Flowers is an enigmatic woman with a dark past. She is the love interest of Scott Pilgrim and the reason for much of the conflict in the story. Her past toxic relationships haunt her and she struggles to distance herself from them. She is dry and sarcastic, with a reluctance to reveal her true self to others. Her aloof personality and mysterious aura make it difficult for Scott to fully understand her.



Knives

Knives is a young and naive high school girl who is infatuated with Scott and his band. She is obsessed with him and is willing to do anything to win him back, even if it means changing her appearance to look like his current girlfriend. Her fierce loyalty to Scott is a contrast to Ramona's complex feelings towards him.



Gideon Graves

Gideon Graves is a manipulative and powerful figure, representing the toxic and controlling aspects of past relationships that must be overcome in order for Scott to grow and move on. He is pretentious and arrogant, posing as a record label owner with a history with Ramona. He seeks control over her life and career, and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.



Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Scott Pilgrim Scott Pilgrim starts off as a socially awkward but lovable protagonist who is obsessed with Ramona. He is also a slacker and a wannabe rock star who is willing to risk everything for her. Despite this, he must confront his own flaws and insecurities as he fights for the girl he loves. He is brave, skilled in martial arts, and sometimes impulsive. Throughout the story, he learns to be a better person and to value the people in his life. He must confront his past mistakes in relationships while fighting off evil exes. Although he faces many obstacles, he emerges as a hero who has learned to overcome his flaws and become a better person. While Scott Pilgrim's character arc is well-written, it could benefit from more nuance and complexity. The character could use more development in terms of his relationships with other characters, particularly his bandmates, family, and friends. Additionally, his struggle to balance his dream of being a rock star with his relationship with Ramona is underexplored.
To improve Scott Pilgrim's character arc, the writers could delve deeper into his backstory and motivations. They could also explore his relationships with other characters, particularly his bandmates and family. Additionally, they could highlight the tension he feels between his desire to be a rock star and his relationship with Ramona. This would add more nuance and complexity to the character's journey and make him more relatable to audiences.
Knives Chau Knives Chau goes through a character arc from the beginning of the movie to the end. She starts off as an innocent and naive high schooler who is infatuated with Scott. As the movie progresses, her love for Scott becomes more obsessive and she even becomes jealous of his new love interest, Ramona Flowers. When she finds out about Scott's betrayal, she is heartbroken and seeks revenge. However, during the final battle, Knives realizes that she deserves better than Scott and forgives him, showing growth and maturity. Knives Chau's character arc is well-written and provides a good contrast to Scott Pilgrim's character. However, her obsession with Scott throughout the movie can be seen as problematic, as it reinforces the idea of women being defined by their relationships with men. Additionally, her forgiveness of Scott at the end of the movie can seem somewhat rushed and unearned, considering the emotional pain he caused her.
To improve Knives Chau's character arc, the movie could have shown her developing interests and passions outside of her relationship with Scott. Additionally, her forgiveness of Scott could have been more nuanced and realistic, perhaps involving a conversation between the two characters where Scott takes responsibility for his actions and apologizes for hurting her.
Stephen Stills Throughout the movie, Stephen starts off as a talented musician who lacks confidence in himself and his band. As the band prepares for The Rockit and the T.I.B.B competition, Stephen becomes more serious about band practice and instituting a 'no girlfriends' rule. He experiences disillusionment during their performance and worries about their merchandise sales. However, despite his anxiety and self-doubt, Stephen remains supportive of his bandmates and excited about the band's future. The character arc for Stephen is relatively shallow, with only a slight increase in his seriousness and confidence as a musician. It would be beneficial to see more of a transformation in his character throughout the story.
To improve Stephen's character arc, it would be helpful to give him a more defined inner conflict that he must overcome. Perhaps he struggles with balancing his ambition and his self-doubt, or his desire to please his bandmates with his own personal goals. Additionally, incorporating more scenes that showcase Stephen's struggles and victories could help to solidify his character arc.
Kim Pine Kim starts off as the sarcastic and cynical bandmate of Scott, showing little patience for his romantic endeavors. She is jealous of Ramona and resents her for disrupting the group dynamic. However, as the story progresses, Kim begins to warm up to Ramona and even defends her when the group is faced with a common enemy. She starts to open up more to her friends and display vulnerability, ultimately leading to a heart-to-heart with Scott where she confesses her feelings of insecurity and jealousy. By the end of the movie, Kim has become a more empathetic and open person, and even shows support for Scott's relationship with Ramona. While Kim's arc is well-developed, it feels rushed towards the end of the movie. Her transformation from a cynical and closed off person to a more open and vulnerable one is not given enough time to fully develop. Additionally, her relationship with Scott is not given as much attention as it could have been, which could have added more depth to her character.
To improve Kim's arc, the movie could have focused more on her relationship with Scott and given her more scenes to showcase her transformation. The heart-to-heart conversation with Scott could have been expanded upon, and there could have been more scenes of her interacting with Ramona to illustrate her growing acceptance of her. Overall, Kim's arc could have been more satisfying with more focus on her emotional journey.
Young Neil Young Neil starts off as a slightly one-dimensional, awkward character with a crush on Knives. However, as he integrates more deeply into the band's world, he becomes more confident, finding his own place in the group and growing as a musician. He finally ends up accepting that he and Knives aren't meant to be together and instead focuses on his own growth as a person. By the end of the movie, Young Neil has discovered his own identity and purpose outside of his friendship with Scott. While Young Neil has a clear trajectory throughout the film, his character arc could be more fully fleshed out. His crush on Knives feels like a one-note plot device, and there are times when he feels like he exists solely to serve Scott's storyline rather than being a fully realized character in his own right.
One way to improve Young Neil's character arc would be to give him more agency and independence. Instead of just interacting with the other characters, he could make his own decisions, take risks, and explore his own interests outside of the band. Additionally, his relationship with Knives could be developed further beyond just a crush - perhaps they could bond over common interests or experiences. Finally, adding more backstory and details to his character would help to make him feel like a more integral part of the story.
Scott Scott's character arc involves him learning from his past mistakes and ultimately finding the courage and confidence to pursue what he truly wants in life. Throughout the movie, he struggles with his love life and is forced to confront his own insecurities. He initially finds comfort in his relationship with Knives but soon realizes that he has deeper feelings for Ramona. He becomes obsessed with winning her over and must face his own flaws and weaknesses in the process. Through his battles with Ramona's evil exes, Scott gains a newfound sense of confidence and learns to stand up for himself. In the end, he reconciles with both Knives and Envy and comes to terms with his past relationships, but also learns to let go of his obsessions and pursue his own goals and dreams. The character arc for Scott is well-developed and satisfying, but at times it can feel a bit contrived or formulaic. The movie sometimes relies too heavily on the tropes of the romantic comedy genre, and Scott's inner conflicts and struggles can feel a bit melodramatic at times. Additionally, some of the supporting characters like Wallace and Knives feel underdeveloped or caricatured.
To improve the character arc for Scott, the movie could explore some of the deeper psychological motivations behind his behavior and obsessions. It could also flesh out some of the supporting characters and give them more nuanced or meaningful arcs. Additionally, the movie could take more risks with its storytelling and break away from some of the standard romantic comedy cliches to create a more unique and authentic story. Overall, the character arc for Scott is solid but could benefit from more depth and originality.
Wallace At the beginning of the film, Wallace is Scott's roommate and friend who offers him support and advice on his romantic pursuits. As the film progresses, Wallace becomes more involved in Scott's battles against the League of Evil Exes. He serves as comic relief but also contributes to the plot's conflict by goading Lucas into fighting Scott. In the end, Wallace proves to be a valuable ally for Scott and helps him defeat Gideon Graves. Overall, Wallace's character arc shows him evolving from a supportive friend to a crucial player in Scott's battles. The character arc for Wallace is somewhat limited, as he mostly serves as a sidekick for Scott throughout the film. While his sarcasm and humor are entertaining, there isn't much depth to his character beyond his loyalty to Scott. Additionally, Wallace's role in the final battle against Gideon Graves feels forced and doesn't have enough buildup to feel satisfying.
To improve Wallace's character arc, the writers could give him more agency and backstory. Perhaps there could be a subplot about Wallace's own romantic pursuits or personal struggles that adds more depth to his character. Additionally, his role in the final battle could be foreshadowed earlier in the film by having him demonstrate his fighting skills or strategic thinking. This would make his involvement in the climax feel more natural and satisfying.
Stacey Stacey starts off as a playful and teasing sister who offers a reality check to Scott about his motives for dating a 17-year-old. As the movie progresses, Stacey becomes more sympathetic towards Scott and gives him advice on what he should do. Finally, Stacey comes to understand why Scott is so interested in Ramona and supports his decision to pursue her. The character arc for Stacey is well done but could be improved by giving her more screen time and developing her character further. Additionally, it would be interesting to see more of Stacey's own struggles and how they relate to Scott's.
To improve Stacey's character arc, consider giving her more screen time and developing her own struggles and challenges. This will make her character more dynamic and interesting, and add depth to the overall story. Additionally, you could explore the relationship between Stacey and Scott more, and show how their struggles are related and impact each other.
Ramona Ramona's character arc involves developing agency over her past and finding a way to move forward. She starts out as a mysterious and aloof love interest, guarded and elusive about her past. As she becomes closer to Scott, she reveals more about her history with her evil exes and her complicated relationship with Gideon. Throughout the story, Ramona is torn between her attraction to Scott and her unresolved feelings for Gideon. In the end, Ramona comes to terms with her past and decides to give Scott another chance, showing an emotional vulnerability that she did not have earlier in the story. The character arc for Ramona is well-developed and engaging, but it could benefit from more attention to her emotional journey. While Ramona is a complex and intriguing character, her growth throughout the story is somewhat obscured by her enigmatic personality. It would be helpful to see more of Ramona's internal struggle as she comes to terms with her past, rather than just her actions.
To improve Ramona's character arc, the screenplay could include more scenes that explore her emotions and motivations. Showing her vulnerability and internal struggle would make her growth more impactful and relatable. Additionally, it would be helpful to see a clearer connection between Ramona's past and her current relationships with Scott and Gideon. With more attention to her emotional journey, Ramona could be a more fully-realized and compelling character.
Ramona Flowers Throughout the movie, Ramona's character arc involves her confronting and overcoming her past toxic relationships, especially with Gideon Graves. She initially tries to distance herself from her past, but ultimately realizes that she cannot fully move on without confronting it. She stands up to Gideon and breaks free from his control, ultimately choosing to be with Scott, despite the uncertainty of their future together. The character arc for Ramona is somewhat generic and lacks depth. While she is given a backstory and struggles with her past toxic relationships, her growth and development feel somewhat rushed and predictable. Additionally, her relationship with Scott is not explored in as much depth as it could be, making their eventual reunion and choice to be together feel somewhat less impactful.
To improve Ramona's character arc, it would be beneficial to delve deeper into her struggles with her past toxic relationships, perhaps exploring some of the emotional scars and traumas that these relationships have left on her. Additionally, more could be done to explore the dynamic between Ramona and Scott's relationship, perhaps highlighting some of the challenges they face as a couple and how they work through these challenges to ultimately choose each other.
Knives Knives starts off as a young and naive high school girl who is obsessed with Scott. She is heartbroken when she sees him with Ramona and lashes out in anger and frustration. She then changes herself to try to win him back, but ultimately realizes that she needs to move on and grow. She learns to be independent and confident in herself, and realizes that her worth is not determined by her relationship with Scott. In the end, she becomes friends with Scott and Ramona, showing maturity and growth. While Knives does have some development throughout the movie, her arc seems to revolve entirely around her relationship with Scott. It would be beneficial to show more of her own personal growth, rather than just her growth in relation to a man. Additionally, her character can come off as somewhat one-dimensional and could benefit from more development and depth.
To improve Knives' character arc, it would be beneficial to focus more on her own personal growth and development, independent of her relationship with Scott. Perhaps showing her pursuing a new hobby or making new friends could demonstrate her growth outside of her romantic interests. Additionally, giving her more depth and complexity, such as exploring why she is so obsessed with Scott, would add more dimension to her character.
Gideon Graves Gideon starts off as a seemingly harmless figure, apologizing to Scott for his past relationship with Ramona. However, as the story progresses, his true colors begin to show, and he becomes the main antagonist of the film. His arc is one of power and control, as he seeks to manipulate Ramona and keep her under his grasp. However, in the end, he is defeated by Scott, who stands up to him and refuses to let him win. Through Gideon's defeat, Scott is able to move on from his own fears and insecurities, and grow as a person. The character arc for Gideon Graves is solid, but could benefit from more nuance and depth. It would be interesting to see more of his motivations and backstory, as this would make him a more complex and compelling villain. Additionally, while his defeat at the hands of Scott is satisfying, it would be more impactful if there were more emotional stakes involved.
To improve Gideon's character arc, consider exploring his motivations and backstory more fully. This could involve adding more scenes that show his relationship with Ramona, or delving into his history with the music industry. Additionally, adding emotional stakes to his defeat could make the moment more impactful. Perhaps there could be a personal connection between him and Scott, or maybe his defeat could come at a cost to one of the other characters.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
RelationshipsScott's dating life is a central theme of the screenplay, with his relationships with Knives, Ramona, and his exes explored in depth. His past and present relationships influence each other, and he must resolve them to move on.Relationships, both romantic and platonic, shape Scott's character and drive the plot forward. The theme examines the complexities of dating, the challenges of moving on from past relationships, and the impact of one's actions on others.
Self-improvementScott must mature and grow as a person to overcome his personal and romantic obstacles. He reflects on his past mistakes and learns valuable lessons throughout the story.Self-improvement is a recurring theme that emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and personal growth. Scott's journey teaches the audience about taking responsibility for one's actions and striving to be a better person.
IdentityScott struggles with his own identity and his place in the world, as he confronts his past and tries to move forward with his relationships.Identity is a theme that explores Scott's sense of self and how it affects his relationships and personal growth. The theme delves into the struggle of finding one's own identity and the impact it has on one's life.
Pop CultureThe screenplay references and parodies various elements of pop culture, including music, video games, and movies. The use of these references is both humorous and meaningful, reflecting the characters' personalities and the story's tone.Pop culture is a recurring theme that adds humor and depth to the story. The screenplay uses pop culture references to establish a relatable and nostalgic vibe while commenting on the characters' interests and personalities.
FriendshipScott's friendships with his roommate Wallace and his bandmates play a significant role in the story and inform his character development. The theme emphasizes the importance of friendship and support in times of hardship.Friendship is a theme that explores the positive impact of social connections on one's life. The theme shows how Scott's friends help him through his romantic struggles and provide a sense of community and support.



Screenwriting Resources on Themes

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Studio Binder Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters
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Goals and Philosophical Conflict
internal Goals Scott Pilgrim's internal goal throughout the script is to find love and fulfillment in his relationships, initially with Knives Chau and later with Ramona Flowers. His internal goals evolve as he navigates his feelings for both women and confronts his own insecurities and fears of commitment.
External Goals Scott Pilgrim's external goal throughout the script is to navigate the challenges and conflicts that arise from his relationships, both with Knives Chau and Ramona Flowers. He strives to impress his friends, be a good bandmate, win battles against Ramona's evil exes, and ultimately reconcile with Ramona.
Philosophical Conflict The overarching philosophical conflict in the screenplay centers around the themes of love, self-worth, and personal growth. Scott struggles with his own insecurities and fears of commitment while also seeking validation and acceptance from others. He confronts the idea of what it means to be in a healthy, meaningful relationship and the importance of personal growth and self-acceptance.


Character Development Contribution: The protagonist's goals and the philosophical conflict contribute to Scott Pilgrim's character development throughout the screenplay. As he navigates his relationships and confronts his insecurities, he learns to prioritize his own emotional well-being, take responsibility for his actions, and grow into a more mature and self-aware individual.

Narrative Structure Contribution: The goals and conflicts contribute to the narrative structure of the screenplay by providing a clear throughline for the protagonist's journey. Scott's evolving goals and the challenges he faces propel the story forward and create tension and conflict that drive the narrative.

Thematic Depth Contribution: The goals and philosophical conflict contribute to the thematic depth of the screenplay by exploring themes of love, self-worth, and personal growth. The story delves into the complexities of relationships and the importance of self-acceptance and personal development in finding meaningful connections with others.


Screenwriting Resources on Goals and Philosophical Conflict

Articles

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Creative Screenwriting How Important Is A Character’s Goal?
Studio Binder What is Conflict in a Story? A Quick Reminder of the Purpose of Conflict

YouTube Videos

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How I Build a Story's Philosophical Conflict How do you build philosophical conflict into your story? Where do you start? And how do you develop it into your characters and their external actions. Today I’m going to break this all down and make it fully clear in this episode.
Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great By Michael Arndt: I put this lecture together in 2006, when I started work at Pixar on Toy Story 3. It looks at how to write an "insanely great" ending, using Star Wars, The Graduate, and Little Miss Sunshine as examples. 90 minutes
Tips for Writing Effective Character Goals By Jessica Brody (Save the Cat!): Writing character goals is one of the most important jobs of any novelist. But are your character's goals...mushy?