The film, like its source material, is about a twenty-something Toronto slacker named Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) who meets an American named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and must defeat her seven evil exes in order to date her... in a universe that acts like a real-life version of River City Ransom, where there are combo meters, written sound effects spelled out in midair, points, and extra lives.
Since the comic was as yet unfinished during filming, the film moves in a slightly different direction to the comic, though core elements remain the same.
While the critics and audiences loved the film, its extremely niche humor and style made it a difficult sell and it didn't recoup its budget. However, it fared far better in the home market.
The movie provides examples of the following tropes:
- Absurdly Cool City: Toronto, a city so cool that Animesque fights can occur in the coolest night clubs and at least one girl is so hot that ice and snow literally melt beneath her feet.
- Todd Ingram disagrees, though.Todd: ...fun? In...Toronto?
- Todd Ingram disagrees, though.
- Accidental Misnaming: The Members of Sex Bob-Omb are the only people in the film that can seemingly say their band's name right. Even fangirl Knives is the slightest bit off every time she tries.
- Adaptation Distillation: The movie pares down many subplots and extraneous characters (for example, the relegation of Lisa to the animation allows them to get rid of a lot of Volume 4 without impacting the plot too much), and compresses the time-frame to somewhere around four and a half weeks (Ramona re-dyes her hair every week and a half, and goes through three dye-jobs over the course of the movie), rather than the year-ish of the comic.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Envy Adams is a redhead in the books and a blonde in the film. Knives also dyes her hair blue in the film instead of red. The back cover of book two shows Todd with brown hair opposed to the film's grey color (although that appears to be a literal dye-job). Also, Young Neil was blond in the books, but in the movie he is dark haired.
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Without an explanation playing into the climax (as it did in Volume 6, which was being written while the movie was in production), the concept of "subspace" is essentially downgraded to a handwave for why Ramona appeared in Scott's dream. Subspace, and its random doors popping up, could probably have been cut altogether if it wouldn't have caused the fans to revolt.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the novel, Lucas Lee was a Punch-Clock Villain who took a break in a middle of a fight with Scott to shoot the shit and share his snacks. In the movie, he's as evilly hammy as all the other evil exes.
- The novel has Envy's motivations eventually be revealed as a desire for acceptance that grew out of control, and she dumped Scott because he had no ambition and didn't want to leave Toronto. They eventually reconciled. The movie retains Envy's concern for Scott's wellbeing (as she tried to talk him out of fighting Todd), but she mostly ends up being a jealous, envious bitch from start to finish.
- Adapted Out: Mr. Chau (Knives' deadly father who hunts down Scott in Volume 4) never appears in the film, as his entire subplot was omitted. Knives' mother was originally going to appear in a flashback just like the comic, but the scene was cut out of the final film.
- Ramona's bag vanishes without much fanfare in the movie, Ramona just not having it in the final confrontation with Gideon Graves, and his control over her is through an implant. In the original story, Scott finds a Subspace portal into Ramona's mind inside the bag, and discovers a mental Ramona who is in bondage and enslaved by a super-Gideon. As a result, Ramona does almost nothing during the final confrontation with Gideon except fight Knives in the first attempt, and get kicked round like a rag-doll in the second.
- Advertising by Association: The DVD case of the film also reminds you that it's "from the director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz".
- Age Lift: Inverted: some of the characters are a year younger than the they are in the books, such as Scott and Stacy.
- Affably Evil: Lucas has shades of this, making small talk with Ramona
afterbefore tossing Scott into a castle, signing an autograph for Wallace, and remarking that Scott seems like a nice guy. This is a holdover from the comic, where he was more of an "edgy" than "evil" ex.
- Affectionate Parody: Ninja Ninja Revolution.
- By extension, the entire movie is a parody of old-school video games, and comic books themselves.
- All Gays Are Promiscuous: Played for Laughs - Wallace is dating two guys at once.
- Alliterative Name: Wallace Wells, Stephen Stills, Lucas Lee, Roxy Richter, Kyle and Ken Katayanagi, Gideon Graves...
- All Part of the Show: During the Lucas Lee fight scene, no one seems to realize that this isn't part of the script. After Lucas dies, someone has the audacity to say, "And that's a wrap, everybody!"
- All There in the Manual: The film makes vague references to the backstories of its supporting characters. The details given line up with what's presented in the graphic novels, so it can be inferred that those character histories can be taken as true within the movie's continuity as well. One assumes, for instance, that the reason the film's Julie and Envy seem close (at least, relative to Julie and everyone else) is that, as true in the books, they were roommates in university (though in the novels, Julie hated Envy at the time, and is only being friendly now because she's famous). Perhaps the biggest omission in the movies is the fact that Scott is the best fighter in the province. It makes sense that he can fight so well if you know that, but given it was a one-time line in the books and not in the movie at all, his combat prowess seems to come, not out of nowhere, but from playing video games.
- And That's Terrible:
- When Gideon kicks Ramona, sending her falling down a set of stairs, the announcer from Ninja Ninja Revolution repeatedly exclaims "Bad!"
- When Ramona expounds on her previous statement of "not being able to control herself" around Gideon by explaining that—by means of mind control through a neck chip—she literally has no self-control around him, Scott describes it as "evil".
- And the Adventure Continues: Possibly what that continue screen at the end means.
- Animated Adaptation: The night before the movie opened, [adult swim] aired a short two part animated prequel between episodes of Robot Chicken
- Answer Cut: After Scott first encounters Roxy.Scott: Oh, someone help me!
(cut to Scott calling Stacey)
- When Scott defeats Lucas Lee's stunt team, he and Lucas start running towards each other as the music and sound effects intensify, and everything dies out as we hear only thumping heartbeats. The two jump into the air...and Lucas effortlessly gives a flying kick that sends Scott flying through the backdrop.
- Scott dramatically faces down Nega-Scott, telling Knives and Ramona This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself, and prepares for a fight... cut to Scott and Nega-Scott walking out of the building together, discussing their plans for brunch later that weekend, and Scott tells the girls that Nega-Scott "is actually a really nice guy."
- Arc Number: Subtly, for each Evil Ex and Scott himself - see Numerological Motif.
- Aroused by Their Voice: Envy Adams. The sultry voice she has from her introductory phone call gets dropped in the aftermath of the Todd Ingram fight (see Becoming the Mask).
- Art Shift: Ramona's flashbacks are done using the corresponding panels from the comics. As well as the doodles that appear throughout the film.
- Ascended Extra:
- Neil is featured more prominently in the film, being treated more as the band's roadie than as just a hanger on. He even takes over on bass after Scott quits.
- Knives' role is also greatly increased compared to her role in the novels. As explained by Edgar Wright, Knives' arc in the novels reached something of a climax when she battled Ramona in the second volume; the film, by tying this into the final fight against Gideon, increases Knives' significance almost by accident.
- A major example of this is that, in the original book, '2-Player Mode' was Scott and Ramona, In the movie, It's Scott and Knives, because, in the movie, Scott never released Ramona from Gideon's control.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: Knives asks Julie if the music store has any Clash at Demonhead CDs. Julie's sarcastic response of "Did you check the section marked 'Clash at Demonhead'?". Furthermore, in her very first scene, Knives also asks Kim, "And you play the drums?" while Kim is sitting at the drums holding drum sticks.
- Aspect Ratio Switch: The film switches between 1.85:1 (most scenes) and 2.39:1 (some scenes).
- In Scott's first dream of Ramona in the desert, the screen zooms out to 2.39:1 when he says he's "so alone" to emphasize his isolation.
- In his fight against Matthew Patel, the aspect ratio changes to 2.39:1 as he blocks the latter's first attack to emphasize the moment.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: When Scott sees Envy in the coffee shop.Scott: I don't think that anything will get in the way of how I [sees Envy] shit!
- Attack Its Weak Point: The back of the knees, in this case. Ramona giving this advice to Scott is how he's able to defeat Roxy; one small tap of that area is enough to trigger an orgasm so intense it kills her.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: Sex Bob-Omb provides the background music for Scott's epic final clash with Gideon. Both times, though Scott only deliberately invokes this trope on the second run.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Knives Chau.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Wallace is abrasive and demeaning to Scott, though it's generally at its worst when Scott's done something to deserve it, and Wallace is pushing Scott to be a better person. He's also nothing but supportive when it comes to Scott's brutal breakup with Envy, flat-out telling his boyfriend "we don't use the E word in this house." He has a major Oh, Crap! reaction when Envy calls Scott on the phone.
- Battle Discretion Shot: During the fight against Lucas Lee, the stunt doubles start ganging up and kicking the crap out of Scott, and Lucas himself walks off to get some coffee. The camera follows him for the twenty seconds it takes to get to the production assistant and get the coffee, and when Scott calls his name, the camera pans back over to Scott standing over the bodies of all the stunt doubles. No indication is given as to how Scott turned the situation around.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: No one in this movie ever really receives any lasting visible injuries, and this is especially heinous for Scott, who gets the ever living shit beat out of him throughout the movie.
- Becoming the Mask: Apparently, Envy, but Scott pierces the facade after the fight with Todd.Scott: Yeah, well, you kicked my heart in the ass, so...guess we're even... Natalie.
Envy: Natalie? No one calls me that anymore...
Scott: ...Maybe they should.
- Berserk Button:
That's it, you cocky cock! You will pay for your crimes against humanity!note
- Although him clocking Knives probably helped, once Todd insults Toronto, that's the final straw for Scott.
"It'll be in my digestive tract for SEVEN YEARS!"
- Gideon is regularly seen chewing a piece of gum. Forcing him to swallow it is not ideal.
- Betty and Veronica: Betty - Knives, Veronica - Ramona.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Scott, as shown in his first round at the Chaos Theatre. Okay, so he isn't exactly a paragon of virtue, but if this movie teaches anything about him that the comic didn't, it's that if you cross the line twice with him, things will definitely not be pretty. He even displays hostility towards his old band.
- Bi the Way:
- Ramona Flowers, aside from dating Scott himself, has six evil ex-boyfriends and one evil ex-girlfriend.
- Jimmy shows up on a date with Stacey Pilgrim and ends up being seduced by Wallace Wells.
- Big Bad: Gideon Gordon Graves, leader of the League of Evil Exes.
- Big Damn Movie: With the title, sort of. The League of Evil Exes isn't exactly "the world," but one imagines the title says that to make it seem bigger.
- It takes its name from the second book. The title probably deals with the fact that Scott is up against the world in a metaphorical sense. The fifth book is titled "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe." by contrast.
- The original title of the movie took it from the first book titled Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life but was changed later in production.
- Bittersweet Ending: Particularly tricky example, since almost every element of the resolution has a good and bad interpretation. The League are defeated and Scott and Ramona are free to pursue a relationship less hindered by the ghosts of the past, they make a good couple to begin with and the continue screen suggests an intentionally ambiguous resolution. Our poor woobie Knives is left out in the cold, but, as she says, she's probably better off in the long run without Scott. The band lost out on their big break, but then again, being contracted to a guy like Gideon probably wouldn't have ended well anyway (and besides, there's all those coins left over in the Chaos Theatre to be scooped up). What kind of ending we have is all in how you slice it. Though there is an alternate ending on the DVD that has Ramona and Scott go their separate ways and while Scott goes off with Knives instead. Does't make the end any less bittersweet, but at least the alternate ending exists.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
- Scott's exes Envy, Knives, and Kim. (For varying definitions of "Brunette," of course.)
- Then Ramona is Pink/Blue/Green. For whatever that's worth.
- Bloodless Carnage: The film gets around this by having people explode into coinsnote when they are killed. Subverted when Scott cuts Gideon's face with the Power of Self Respect.
- Blood from the Mouth: Or rather, Coins From The Mouth.
- Bollywood: Patel becomes a Bollywood stand-in for the movie, indulging in a song and dance number when unleashing his mystical powers and modeling his mannerisms after various hammy Bollywood bad guys.
- Bond One-Liner:
- Kim: There goes our deal.
Stephen: We're still getting paid, right?
Kim: There goes. Our deal.
- The film begins and ends with snippets of 8-bit music; it begins with the Universal Logo Joke (see below), and ends with an 8-bit rendition of Sex Bob-omb's "Threshold".
- Internally, the Street Fighter "K.O.!" announcements only occur on Scott's first and final victories.
- Ninja Ninja Revolution, in two ways. Knives and Scott play the game with flawless teamwork near the start of the film...
- Come the final battle, their teaming up to beat down on Gideon is set up as a real-life NNR game.
- The alternate ending features Knives and Scott together playing NNR.
- Scott giving Neil his bass. Literally during the fight with Patel (by throwing it at him), then figuratively during the fight with Gideon (by officially giving Neil his spot as The Sex Bob-Omb's bassist).
- In Scott's first fight with Matthew Patel, the latter yells Scott's name when he first arrives to fight. The same happens when Scott arrives at the Chaos Theatre.
- Scott being in a desert, bemoaning his being "so alone". It happens near the start in a dream when Scott sees Ramona for the first time, and again during the final battle when Scott is killed. Both times make good use of Ramona saying "You're not alone."
- Boss Battle: The Evil Exes, obviously. Conveniently, they all meet established boss tropes!
- Warm-Up Boss / Flunky Boss: Matthew Patel
- Wake-Up Call Boss / Wolfpack Boss: Lucas Lee
- Puzzle Boss / Sequential Boss: Todd Ingram
- Breather Boss: Roxanne Richter
- Dual Boss / Background Boss: Ken and Kyle Katayanagi
- Final Boss / Hopeless Boss Fight: Gideon Gordon Graves
- Final-Exam Boss: Gideon Round 2
- Post-Final Boss / Anticlimax Boss / Mirror Boss: Nega-Scott
- Boss Remix: "We Are Sex Bob-Omb" is redone as "We Are Sex Bob-Omb (Fast)" (faster and without vocals) and "Death To All Hipsters" (chiptune-style) for the Gideon fights.
- Boss Rush: As might be expected from the previous list, the entire movie is kind of a film-style Boss Rush. The only mooks Scott ever fights are Lucas' stunt doubles and Gideon's random dudes who come out of nowhere.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Ramona listing the various types of tea - "We have blueberry, raspberry, ginseng, sleepy time, green tea, green tea with lemon, green tea with lemon and honey, liver disaster, ginger with honey, ginger without honey, vanilla almond, white truffle, blueberry chamomile, vanilla walnut, constant comment and... Earl Grey."
- Lampshaded by Scott: "Did you make some of those up?"
- Brick Joke: In three steps:
Wallace: Step up your game, Scott. Break out the 'L' word.
- The setup:
Wallace: [exasperated] The other 'L' word.
Scott: [beat] Lesbians?
Scott: I'm in lesbians with you.
- And, much later, the payoff:
Ramona: [beat] What?
Scott: I said lesbians.
- Finalized by the final brick shortly after:
- Bring My Brown Pants:
- When Scott lands on the ground after being thrown high up into the air by Todd: "If I peed my pants, can we just pretend I got wet in the rain?" (Unfortunately for him, it wasn't raining at the time.)
- When Gideon compliments Sex Bob-omb on their set, Stephen wets himself (as made evident by a big word "PEE" and a helpful arrow), though it's more from overwhelming joy than fear. From the look on his face he could be having a spontaneous orgasm, but that might have pushed the movie past a PG-13 rating.
- Brought Down to Normal: Todd after being de-veganized, which provides the turning point in Scott's fight with him.
- Burning Rubber: In one scene, Ramona's casual skating cuts a melting trail through several inches of snow and ice. One wonders what would happen if she really booked it. This, in addition to her use of the Subspace Highway, is probably why she's such a good delivery girl. Of course, this is more likely meant to signify that she is smoking hot. As if anyone needed a hint.
- Although commentary says this was done to give Ramona an air mystery and magic from the start.
- Butt-Monkey: Both Scott and Knives, who goes through quite the Humiliation Conga (nearly injuring herself trying to look more like Ramona, then getting said highlights knocked out of her hair by one of the aforementioned girl's Evil Ex's) before establishing herself as an Iron Woobie and proving to be close to Scott and Ramona's equal.
- Cacophony Cover Up: While Crash and the Boys play "We Hate You, Please Die", Stephen Stills (in the midst of a panic attack) tries talking to Kim and Scott, but he's barely audible over the song. Thankfully, there are subtitles.
- California Doubling: Averted — The movie is filmed in Toronto, set in Toronto, and stars an actor from Toronto. The fact that this is unusual is lampshaded while fighting the second ex: Scott gets hurled through the backdrop matte painting of the Empire State Building on the movie set. The CN Towernote is briefly visible through the hole thus made."They make movies in Toronto?"
- Call-Back: A whole lot of stuff from the Ninja Ninja Revolution game (HUD elements and the announcer) appear again during the fight with Gideon and then Nega Scott's appearance is also a call back to the fact that Scott can't beat Nega Ninja in the game
- Call-Forward: the first time Ramona appears onscreen, the BGM is a pre-vocals version of "Garbage Truck", the love(?) song Sex Bob-Omb play at The Rockit just before Matthew Patel appears.
- Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Scott does this a lot, probably to express how profoundly socially inept he can be despite everything.
- At one point, his mental spinner for responding to awkward situations gets stuck between "I have to pee" and "Who, her?" resulting in the unfortunate "I have to pee on her."
- Came Back Strong: Scott Pilgrim and arguably Gideon Graves.
- The Cameo: Thomas Jane and Clifton Collins Jr. as The Vegan Police.
- Canada, Eh?: The most Canadianest movie in years. (Well, a few years.) The film, with American audiences in mind, lampshades the fact that the story takes place "in the faraway land of Toronto, Canada." Something the book does not.
- However it is averted in many ways as well, with no stereotypical Canadian accents, Mounties, and Scott only says "eh?" once.
- Can't Believe I Said That: Coincides with the aforementioned Brick Joke and below mentioned Can't Spit It Out:
- Scott: ...I said lesbians.
- Can't Spit It Out: Scott is able to spit it out to Ramona, but his brain is still stuck on "lesbians."
- Can't You Read the Sign?:
- It's hard to make out, but a sign in the background of Stacey's workplace states that people on cellphones will be refused service. It's mostly seen while she's on her cellphone while working.
- In a shot taken from the graphic novel, Scott sits down on a store's couch, right next to a "DO NOT SIT" sign.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The self-identified Seven Evil Exes.
- The Casanova: Both Scott and Ramona fit this trope in their respective circles. Having them fall for each other is somewhat played as Laser-Guided Karma.
Stacey: Wallace! Again?!
- Julie suggests early on that Scott is this (or was, prior to his breakup with Envy, and may resume the title if he courts Ramona while still dating a high schooler). She has the list of women to back up the claim, so Scott seems to be in denial about it.
- Wallace seems to be more of a straight-forward example - he wrangles every guy he sets his eyes on (except Lucas Lee for obvious reasons), including Stacey's boyfriend. It's implied that this has happened before.
- Catapult Nightmare: The basis of a Running Gag. Though his dreams are never nightmares, they cause Scott to wake up by catapulting into frame, which then causes Wallace, Other Scott, and eventually Jimmy to be woken up in the same manner.
- Catchphrase: Whenever Stacey calls Scott interrogating him about something personal, Scott asks where she got the information. Her response is always "Wallace, duh!"
- Chalk Outline: Played with; when Scott uses the Powers of Love and Self-Respect to wipe through Gideon's mooks like butter, the coins they're worth drop on the ground in human-shaped piles.
- Chekhov's Gun: The 1-up Scott obtains after he defeats the Katayanagi Twins allows him to "reload" from that point after Gideon kills him.
- There's a reason Ramona keeps correcting Scott every time he says "your ex-boyfriends"
- Chekhov's Skill: Scott and Knives playing Ninja Ninja Revolution. They play it for fun at the start of the film, and utilize their skills to defeat Gideon in the end.
- Cherry Blossoms: Just before the end credits, falling snow transitions into falling cherry blossom petals, symbolizing new beginnings and Scott's second chance on love.
- Classical Antihero: Scott. Broke, no job, no education, no self confidence, lies to his high school age girlfriend. Most of the other characters have something going on note but Scott doesn't seem to do anything except stalk Ramona and hang out. He's a good fighter. That's about it.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Julie just barely averts it with Sound-Effect Bleep and black boxes.
- Lampshaded:Scott: How are you doing that with your mouth?
- Combination Attack: During the Final Battle, Gideon has to defend a double attack by Scott and Knives.
- The Comically Serious: Crash and the Boys.Crash: This song' dedicated to the guy who keeps yelling from the bleachers. It's called "We Hate You, Please Die".
- Coming-of-Age Story: Played with. Scott is already of age, technically, but he (and many other characters) exist in a state of arrested adolescencenote that he has to grow out of if he wants to resolve his various conflicts.
- Composite Character:
- Considered and averted. Word of God says Roxy and Envy were combined into a single character for an early draft, until the release of Volume 4 convinced the screenwriters to split the characters again. Might explain how Roxy inherits Envy's weakness from the graphic novel - the back of her knee. The entire Ramona against Roxy fight is basically the fight with Envy, right down to the dialogue.
- Also regarding Roxy, the gag of Ramona controlling Scott's body because he won't hit a girl was originally used in the Free Comic Day comic against the character Winifred Hailey, who didn't make it into the movie.
- Played out similarly with Gideon, Ramona's role in the final fight is actually reduced to the point of mirroring Envy's almost completely. She pretends to hug Gideon only to knee him and even uses Envy's "Let's both be girls" line.
- Conditional Powers: Todd Ingram has telekinetic powers that only work if he remains vegan.
- Continuity Nod: The outfits that Sex Bob-Omb wear at the Chaos Theater are the same ones they wear during their battle with Clash at the Demonhead in the comics (with Young Neil wearing Scott's outfit)
- Cool Big Sis: Inverted. Stacey "Rated T for Teen" Pilgrim is 4 years younger than Scott but much more mature than him, and so Wise Beyond Her Years that Scott constantly turns to her for advice. She even calls him "little brother".
- Plus, considering Anna Kendrick is three years older than Michael Cera, looks and acts like it, and is best known for her role in Up in the Air which paints her considerably more adult, it's an easy mistake to make.
- Cool Sword: A couple: Roxy Richter has a studded belt/Whip Sword... thing, Gideon's cane sword and Digitana, Scott's Power of Love and Power of Self Respect.
- Cover Version: The song The Clash at Demonhead play isn't an original song like with Sex Bob-Omb's performance scenes; it's a cover of a Metric song called "Black Sheep" (of which the original version is included on the film soundtrack). Despite it not being their song, the lyrics still fit to their situation perfectly.
- Creator Cameo: Bryan Lee O'Malley (as well as his wife) appears at the bar of Lee's Palace after Sex Bob-Omb's performance.
- Co-writer Michael Bacall is seen talking with Comeau at the opening party.
- Second unit director Walter Gasparovich plays the director of Lucas Lee's film.
- Credits Gag: Michael Lazarovitch is credited as Some Guy.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: For the most of the film, Scott appears to be really wimpy and nonthreatening. However, whenever an Evil Ex shows up, Scott suddenly takes a level in badass and beats the crap out of them. This is a departure from the graphic novel, where it's explicitly stated early on that Scott is the "Best Fighter in the Province". In the movie, he could very well still be an accomplished martial artist, but his nebbish personality makes it seem unlikely.
- Damsel in Distress:
- Ramona, after it's revealed that Gideon is manipulating her through a microchip, robbing her of any resistance to him. There was a bit of slave Leia to her near the end, possibly unintentional.
- Dance Battler: Matthew Patel, with his Michael Jackson-esque moves. Slick, indeed.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Nega-Scott is genuinely frightening looking (proving that with the right special effects and makeup, anyone can be scary), but turns out to be one heck of a nice guy. Scott is even to pretty quickly resolve their conflict simply by having a conservation with him, at the end of which the two of them agree to be friends.
- Dark Reprise: Scott's Stylistic Suck love song to Ramona plays again when Ramona leaves him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Much of the supporting cast like to knock Scott down a peg, but Kim and Wallace are the new poster children.Kim: That poster needs more exclamation marks.
Wallace: Is that girl a boy too?
- Death by Adaptation: Crash and The Boys are killed by an errant fireball during the fight with Matthew Patel.
- Death by Sex: Roxy, Sort of. Scott defeats her by hitting her weak point, which happens to be the inside of her knee. Apparently, this is an erogenous zone for Roxy, and results in an intense orgasm before she explodes into coins.
- Death Glare: Todd's default expression. Takes the form of the Kubrick Stare when he's first seen, sans-smile. Kim Pine, especially as played by Allison Pill, looks like she could melt steel with her eyes much of the time, especially during the Battle of the Bands.
- Envy's entire group does this in unison backstage when Knives tries to speak up. Topped off with a large "GLARE" subtitle above them.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Appropriate, since it's a movie based on a comic based on video games: During the final battle, Gideon kills Scott. Due to the 1-up he received earlier, Scott is able to come back to life with no ill effects and comes back wiser and more mature to boot.
- Defensive "What?": Gideon to Scott and Knives after he beats up Ramona.
- Demoted to Extra: Kim Pine, compared to her more involved role in the books (mostly because her backstory has been moved to the [adult swim] Animated Adaptation). Envy Adams gets quite a bit cut out as well, since her fight with Ramona is cut and is compacted into Ramona's fight with Roxy Richter. She is completely absent in the climax and her role is merged with Ramona's. Richter herself gets quite a bit cut out; she almost got a complete axing when Edgar Wright considered depositing Envy into her role as Ramona's 4th ex. Nega-Scott gets the axe from playing a pivotal role in the books to being reduced to a mere punchline in the movie. Lynette Guycott although having a minor but pivotal role gets barely minutes of screen time, and her punching the highlights out of Knives' hair was designated to Todd. Finally the Twins are almost cut out entirely, as they have zero lines (their actors don't speak English), zero backstory, and probably the least screen-time of any of the exes, only seemingly being in the movie because they are exes number 5 and 6 respectively.
- Designated Girl Fight:
- Roxy Richter and Ramona. Scott still has to deliver the killing blow, however...
- Later on, Knives vs Ramona.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
(after watching a live performance) Young Neil: "Yeah, they're better live, you have to see them live."
- The tagline.
- These wonderful two lines, from separate scenes:
Comeau: "Yeah, but their first album isn't as good as their first album."
- Roxy's "Because next time... I'll be deadly serious next time!" Met with a suitably confused response from Scott.
- Depraved Bisexual: Roxy, with her violent outbursts and penchant for loud, abrasive yelling, is more than a little bi-furious.
- Did You Just Have Sex?: Except he didn't.
- The Ditz: Todd Ingram, also fits neatly into Dumb Muscle. The subtitles that accompany every new character poke fun at this.Todd: (After punching Knives) What? I'm not afraid to hit a girl. I'm a rockstar.
Envy: Oh, you're incorrigible!
Todd: I don't know the meaning of the word. (SUBTITLE: HE REALLY DOESN'T.)
- "Chicken isn't vegan?"
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Knives Chau's unwelcome presence at Sex Bob-Omb's rehearsals may remind some of John Lennon's and Yoko Ono's relationship during the later years of The Beatles.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Todd doesn't seem to get this:Scott: I dislike you, capiche?
Todd: Tell it to the cleaning lady on Monday.
Todd: Because you'll be dust by Monday.
Todd: Because you'll be pulverized in two seconds. And the cleaning lady... She cleans up... dust. She dusts.
Scott: ...So... so what's on Monday?
Todd: ...Because... it's Friday now... she has weekends off, so... Monday. (to Envy) Right?
- Door Closes Ending: At the end, Scott and his love interest walk through a lonely door to hyperspace and it closes behind them.
- Double Standard: Wallace tells Scott to break up with Knives if he's going to date Ramona. Scott promptly points out that Wallace is dating two men. Wallace ignores him.Wallace: I didn't make the gay rule book. If you have a problem, take it up with Liberace's ghost.
- Considering the scene with all four of them at same time it can be fairly assumed that they all aware and it is a open or polyamorous relationship.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: How Scott first "meets" Ramona.
- Dual Wielding: Knives fights with twin knives.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Scott commits to this whole evil exes thing after two dates, before even reaching
- He doesn't really have a chance: Matthew Patel challenges him to a duel before he even has his first date with Ramona.
- Dynamic Entry: Roxy starts her fight with Scott by diving in and kicking him in the back of the head.
- Matthew Patel bursts through the roof of the Rock-It and comes flying at a flat-footed and caught completely by surprise Scott Pilgrim. Scott recovers quickly.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: The Power(s) of Love/Self-Respect, which take form as the sword Scott uses in the final battle. Neither of them actually last very long, although Self-Respect gives Gideon a run for his money.
- Embarrassing First Name: Gideon is the only person in the film to call Kim Pine "Kimberly." Her look of distaste is amazing.
- Epic Movie: Parodied in the tagline.
- The movie is also quite epic.
- Establishing Series Moment: The first song heard in the film is The Legend of Zelda theme barely heard coming out of Young Neil's DS. It's a very sly but effective setting of tone.
- Ethical Slut: Wallace. Of course, he does technically cheat on Other Scott, but Other Scott seems fine with it, so no harm no foul.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Knives reeeeally likes Envy.
- Everyone Went to School Together: Young Neil says that Scott, Stephen, Kim and himself went to the same high school together. Scott also went to college with Julie and Natalie. Ramona went to junior high with Matthew, High school with Lucas & Todd and College with Roxy.
- Evil Counterpart: Subverted. Nega Scott turns out to be pretty much the same as regular Scott.
- Further subverted if you think that Scott is a jerk, while Nega Scott seems like a genuinely nice guy.
- Evil Diva: Envy Adams oozes this trope.
- Evil Is Hammy: All of the exes are some of the most deliciously hammy villains in recent memory.
- Also, Envy Adams. A Femme Fatale played so straight that it almost becomes a parody.
- Extremely Short Timespan: Compared to the books, which takes place during the span of approximately a year, the movie condenses its events to roughly a month or so.
- Fake Band: Several. Sex Bob-Omb (songs written by Beck); The Clash at Demonhead (song written by Metric); Crash and the Boys (songs written by Broken Social Scene); and the Katayanagi Twins (instrumental by Cornelius).
- Famous Last Words:
- "This is impossible. How can this be?" Matthew Patel
- "Why wouldn't you be?"note Lucas Lee
- "Vegone?" Todd Ingram
- "You'll never be able to do this to her!" Roxy Richter
- Averted by the Katayanagi Twins, who don't have any lines at all.
- "You can defeat me Scott. But can you defeat yourself?" Gideon Graves
- Fan Dumb: Parodied in-universe a couple times:
- First, when Young Neil tells Knives after the Clash at Demonhead concert, "You should hear them live. They're much better live." (This is also Leaning on the Fourth Wall, since the "live" performance takes place in the film, not live.)
- Second, Comeau is talking to someone at the Chaos Theater and says, "Their first album isn't as good as their ... first album." (He's later seen saying, "The comic book is much better than the movie.")
- Fanservice: Namely:
- They put in a comparatively long shot of Ramona taking off her boot which was apparently there just for Quentin Tarantino, friend of Edgar Wright and notorious foot fetishist.
- Ramona's Black Bra and Panties scene when she and Scott are in her bed.
- Envy's sexy performance on stage in that black dress and those legs.
- The fight between Ramona and Roxy is quite sexy. See Male Gaze.
- Kim is seen wearing a french maid outfit in the Chaos Theater after the Sex Bob-Ombs "sell out" to Gideon.
- Faux Action Girl: Ramona is an entirely capable combatant. She just only fights girls and spends the last quarter of the movie held hostage.
- In fairness, Ramona was supposed to be more active in the final fight. The troubles of staging a four-way battle on a pyramid forced the filmmakers to cut back.
- Faux Affably Evil: Gideon during Scott's appearance at the Chaos Theatre. He treats Scott like an honored guest and even offers him Coke Zero. Scott rejects Gideon's attempt at friendliness, which quickly causes it to vanish.
- Felony Misdemeanor: "You made me swallow my gum! That's going to be in my digestive tract for SEVEN YEARS!"
- "You punched me in the boob! Prepare to die, obviously!"
- "Do you know how long it took to get all the evil ex's contact information so I can form this stupid league? Like two hours. TWO HOURS!!!
- Femme Fatale: Envy Adams, taken to such a gloriously hammy extreme by Brie Larson that it becomes a parody.
- Fictional Video Game: The movie shows a "Ninja Ninja Revolution" arcade game.
- Final-Exam Boss: Gideon is defeated through the tag-team skills Scott and Knives learned through Ninja Ninja Revolution.
- Finger Gun: Taken straight from the books, Kim has a gag where she sticks one to her head and pretends to kill herself, falling onto her cymbals with a loud crash.
- First Girl Wins: Teased. The original ending until quite late in production of the film had Scott getting back together with Knives, but this was changed after O'Malley had a better handle on how he wanted to end the series.
- 555: Averted with Ramona's number: it's an actual number that Universal owns, for films that are too cool to use 555 numbers. It can also be seen in Munich and The Adjustment Bureau.
- Played straight, however, in the Lucas Lee movie (Cold Call) that Wallace watched.
- Flat "What": Stacey gives one when Matthew Patel starts singing. It's the only time in the movie anyone acknowledges that anything strange is going on. Of course, she is the Only Sane Younger Sister...
- Flipping the Bird: Done twice:
- Trasha (the girl drummer for Crash and the Boys) gives it to Wallace for heckling them.
- When Gideon tells Kim to play right before the first battle, she scratches her face with her middle finger.
- Flynning: The second battle with Gideon.
- Focus Group Ending: Audiences didn't like the original ending with Scott and Knives getting together because, as Knives says in the ending actually used, she's "too good for him", and it made the whole fight for Ramona pointless. So the ending was changed and Scott and Ramona hook up.
- Foreshadowing: The last thing Scott does before he begins fighting Ramona's evil exes is unplug his bass and throw it to Neil. At another moment, Scott leaves with Ramona in the middle of a rehearsal, and says Neil knows his parts. Later in the film, Scott formally quits the band, and Neil replaces him as a direct result of Scott's fights.
- During the title sequence, each billed actor has images of their character traits and motifs in the background during their card (corresponding numbers for the evil exes, cell phone battery for Kieran Culkin as Wallace, sai for Ellen Wong/Knives, etc.)
- When Scott is asking people at the party for information on Ramona, one person say "She has men dying at her feet" which pretty much happens to Scott and maybe some of the other exes.
- The one boss Scott can't beat in Ninja Ninja Revolution is the Nega-Ninja. And then Knives add "Don't beat yourself up about it".
- After the Roxy fight, Ramona grabs the back of her neck and we hear a metallic whine just before she tells Scott "I think we should split".
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Gideon.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- During Scott's fight with Matthew Patel, if you pay attention, one of the fireballs burns Crash and the Boys, turning them into skeletons; explains why Sex Bob-Omb won by default.
- The excuses that come to Scott's mind in the form of a wheel of fortune when Ramona asks how old Knives is are mostly unreadable without pausing the movie. They include: "She's nobody", "She's forty!", "Idiot!", "No speaka English", "When's dinner?", "Uh...", "Tell Pac Man story", "No, you are", "Pass out" and "It was nothing".
- In the record store, in addition to the "Pop/Rock" label you'll see in any record store, you'll also see things like "Math Rock" and "Sadcore", both of which are real sub-genres of indie rock.
- In that same store the only visible CD between Knives and Scott when he breaks up with her is Beck's Modern Guilt. Funny coincidence, because Beck wrote and composed many songs for the movie, and performed the full version of the Ramona song.
- During the scene between Scott and Ramona on the bus, look carefully behind each character's head when the camera focuses on them. All the lights in the background on Ramona's shots are X-shaped, while in Scott's shots they are heart-shaped.
- Until Scott asks if they are actually dating. Then it's hearts on both sides.
- During the fight with the Katyanagi twins, when the camera pans up to see the hole in the roof, the audience gets a view of the moon with a hole in it as described in earlier exposition.
- Fun with Subtitles: Styled after the books:
- At the start of the film, most of the characters (and one location) are introduced with subtitles spelling out their name and briefly describing them.
- Along similar lines, a sequence after Scott first talks to Ramona has subtitles describing the scene: "AND THEN. HE STALKED HER. UNTIL SHE. LEFT. THE PARTY."
- The venue where Sex Bob-Omb battles Crash 'n' the Boyz is described as such: Fun Fact—This Place is a Toilet.
- Another sequence has an on-screen inventory of most of the items in Scott and Wallace's apartment, and who they belong to (hint: bet Wallace).
- Yet another transcribes word-by-word Stephen's nervous breakdown prior to playing at a Battle of the Bands, as the rival band's music drowns him out.
- Various scenes have words appearing on-screen as chapter names (taken from the book), or respond to a character's dialogue, for example:Stephen Stills: "'Amp vs. amp?' We'll be on stage at the same time?"
Scott Pilgrim: "That's impossible!"
Subtitle over next shot, showing two stages across from each other: Actually, no.
- When Ramona first comments on Scott's shaggy hair, a series of subtitles explain that Scott's been cutting his own hair ever since Envy broke up with him, then goes on to explain the true circumstances surrounding their break up. Especially awesome because it uses the comic's art style.
- After Todd hits Knives so hard her highlights come out of her hair, Envy coos to him:Envy: You're incorrigible.
Todd: I don't know the meaning of the word.
SUBTITLE: HE REALLY DOESN'T.
- The part where Stephen pees his pants when Gideon shows up to promote Sex Bob-Omb, and then an arrow appears on-screen pointing to his crotch with text reading, "PEE"?
- Funny Background Event: This movie is loaded with them.
- To the director at least, a melanistic squirrel running through the background is one of the most consistently interesting parts of the movie.
- Scott's desperate dive through the window of his apartment to evade Knives. Then reaching back in the window to grab his coat. Then walking down the sidewalk right behind her. All while Wallace is nonchalantly telling her she just missed him.
- At Gideon's party, you can hear Comeau say "The comic book is always better than the movie."
- The amps during band practice at Stephen Stills' house are apparently of the "Lame Brand" company, with the logo emulating the Rock Band font. Once they move up to the Chaos Theatre, the amps are adorned "Sweet Brand".
- While on the bus after the first evil ex fight, the street lights are shaped as X's behind Ramona, and like hearts behind Scott. After the shot where Scott understands that he and Ramona are actually dating, the street lights behind Ramona change into hearts as well.
- After Gideon blows up, whilst Stephen Stills is scrabbling around to collect as much of Scott's winnings as he can, Neil simply bends down, picks up Gideon's gum, then puts it in his mouth. In fact, pretty much any time Neil is in the background is an example of this. Watch the movie once just to pay attention to him.
- After Scott kills Todd the vegan police can be seen in the background giving each other a high five and shouting "Yeah!" triumphantly as they walk back to their Smart car in slow motion.
- Plenty of sound-related gags. Many scenes have significant moments underscored by scene-relevant sound effects; for example, Sonic Boom's alarm goes off every time Envy is shown on-screen. Negascott whistles "We Are Sex Bob-Omb" after he walks out of frame.
- When Scott's in the bathroom, part of the pee gauge can be seen in the mirror.
- Envy, as per her character, does a particularly dramatic one when the Vegan Police reveal Todd at one point ate chicken parmesan, which isn't vegan.
- The entirety of Sex Bob-Omb plus Ramona and Knives have this simultaneous reaction to Gideon killing Scott.
- Genki Girl: Knives, who is almost always hyperactive and overexcited.
- Genre Savvy: Scott displays this during his fight with Todd - Not only does he figure out that he could weaken Todd by getting him to consume non-vegan food & drink, but when he makes this move, he thinks very hard about putting the half & half milk into the cup he's holding to his chest after already putting soy into the cup he was offering Todd, to confuse Todd's telepathy and get him to fall for it.
Wallace: Scott. Evil Ex. Fight.
- Even earlier in that fight, he asks Ramona for the "CliffsNotes" on the guy in the hopes that some crucial detail in his backstory may be helpful.
- Wallace too; when Matthew Patel comes crashing in, he's the one who yells for Scott to fight. By the time the second ex comes along, Wallace already has an attitude of Seen It All indifference (or he could just be sad that Scott has to defeat his "hetero crush").
- Genre Shift: Starts off a standard cute hipster comedy with Michael Cera... and then all of a sudden it becomes, well, Scott Pilgrim.
- Genre Throwback:To 90s/Generation X slacker comedies such as Chasing Amy and Clerks.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Keeps happening to Stephen Stills.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Nega-Scott. It was thinly foreshadowed earlier in the movie when Scott faced the Nega-Ninja boss in the arcade game he was playing with Knives. There are several deleted scenes with Nega-Scott showing up in a mirror whenever Scott is being a particularly horrible person, which tends to shock him out of his asshole-ness. Edgar Wright says in the commentaries of these outtakes that they were cut because they distract too much from scenes that already have a lot up in the air.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: When Scott finds out that one of Ramona's exes was a woman, he refers to it as her "sexy phase". Though he's noticeably Squicked out when Ramona's about to explain just how she knows Roxy's weak point.
- He's not squicked, he's just realized what Roxy's weakpoint means based on how Ramona started explaining it.
- Glasses Pull: The Vegan Police do this. A lot.
- Godwin's Law: In a Deleted Scene, Ramona smokes on her and Scott's first "date"note , and Scott (shocked) says "No-one smokes anymore! Hitler smoked! Satan smoked!"
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Scott considers himself innocent when he cheats on Knives, yet he is "acutely aware" of when Envy/Natalie cheated on him over a year ago. He also doesn't think he cheated on Ramona, but cheated on Knives with Ramona. Ramona considers this Distinction Without a Difference.
- Green-Eyed Monster: The Yeti in the fight with the Twins is in part a manifestation of Scott's jealousy once he sees Ramona with Gideon at the show, more apparent when both it and his eye glows brightly green in Scott and the Yeti's split-screen close-up.
- Groin Attack: Ramona does this to Gideon during the final confrontation, as she has him duped into thinking she's under his mind control, when she had secretly removed her neck chip earlier.Ramona: Let's both be girls.
- Guile Hero: Scott uses his wits to defeat both Lucas Lee and Todd. Notably more so than in the comic where Todd's defeat is a blatant (and lampshaded) Deus ex Machina.
- Hammer Space:
- Played with: Ramona stores her Hyperspace Mallet in a Bag of Holding.
- Parodied: Ramona gives Scott a paper slip with her number within a second of his asking; Gideon pulls a pen and contract for Sex Bob-Omb out of nowhere; while off-screen for two whole seconds, Ramona apparently walks out of the club, creates a laminated list of her exes per Scott's request, and returns to hand it to him.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Carries over from the books with Wallace. A perceptive viewer will note that he is almost always carrying a cup or glass of some kind, and presumably it's not coffee he's drinking.
- Wallace: Guess who's drunk!
- Heart Is an Awesome Power / What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Scott's Power-of-True-Love Sword, following by his Power-of-Self-Respect one.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Or wanted, past tense, in the case of Kim. Ramona's true hair color remains a mystery.
- Hero with an F in Good: Scott is a basically nice guy, but, much like in the comic, can be kind of a dick through oblivious callousness (see: his treatment of Knives after he meets Ramona).
- Hero of Another Story:
- Edgar Wright stated that in his mind, there's an entire other movie going on - which he described as "Stephen Stills' Almost Famous" - that the audience only occasionally intersects with.
- The Vegan Police are apparently shooting their own Summer Blockbuster, the climax of which comes when they locate and de-veganize Todd Ingram (note the two of them doing a slow-motion jumping high-five after Pilgrim offs him).
- Hilarious Outtakes: The film has such a high level of energy you can only imagine what filming the movie must have been like. As well, the aggressive editing and surreal nature of the film makes the outtakes seem like it belongs to a different movie altogether. As for something more traditional, Scott's "tossing the package into the garbage can behind him" took 33 tries.
- Hologram Projection Imperfection: Gideon goes through some flickering after taking a good beating in the final battle. This might imply that Scott and Knives were Fighting a Shadow all along, as Gideon's voice can be heard after his death.
- Even the video game implied this, as after he died, he saw a door in Subspace.
- Humiliation Conga: Scott suffers this. In the space of around a minute, his girlfriend leaves him, his bandmates sign with the guy she's leaving with, and when Scott refuses, he's immediately replaced by their other friend who plays bass. Oh, and his bass is stolen too. Followed by him seeing some guy's junk, presumably.
- Hyperspace Mallet: Ramona pulls one out in the fight against Roxy.
- Hypnotize the Princess: Gideon's mind-control chip which makes Ramona go back to him.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- When Scott's sister is talking on her cell phone where she works, you can see a sign warning customers not to talk on cell phones on the wall behind her.
- Scott lampshades how Wallace berates him for two-timing Knives and Ramona, despite being an incorrigible manwhore himself.
- I Am Your Opponent:
- Ramona intervening in Scott's fight against Roxy.
- Inherent in the challenges Scott receives from the various exes.
- I Know Karate: The movie starts out as a hyper-stylized Romantic Comedy until the first evil-ex arrives, and suddenly Scott is showing proficiency in martial arts and Improvised Weapons. It then returned to Romantic Comedy, then the action quotient finally takes hold with the second evil-ex and Scott realizing that this is going to be a constant battle.
- I Know Mortal Kombat: Though the movie isn't clear where Scott's skills come from, Scott and Knives are able to double team Gideon so well because of a Dance Dance Revolution style fighting game they play.
- Identical Twin ID Tag
- Idiosyncratic Wipes: The movie doesn't so much transition from one scene to another as Mind Screw from one scene to another.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Roxy has one after being hit in her weak point (the back of her knees), causing her to explode in a shower of coins.
- Incoming Ham:
- "MIS-TER PILGRIMMMM!"
- "Guess who's drunk~!"
- I Need a Freaking Drink: After the fight with Roxy, which leaves Scott incredibly embarrassed:Scott: Two gin & tonics, please?
Ramona: I thought you didn't drink.
Scott: Only on special occasions. Why, did you want one?
- Infinity -1 Sword: Scott's Power of Love sword
- Infinity +1 Sword: Scott's Power of Self Respect sword
- Insistent Terminology: Every time Scott refers to her "evil ex-boyfriends", Ramona corrects him with "exes". With a good reason. In fact, the reveal occurs right in the middle of Scott finally asking why.
- Instant Costume Change: Scott pulls this off at several points with his hat whenever someone brings up his hair. He also changes clothes completely at one point just by walking into and out of a room, not even interrupting the conversation he was having with Wallace.
- Intoxication Ensues: Scott gets tipsy after finishing half a drink. This makes sense if he Never Gets Drunk, like in the comic."I had, like, one drink." (holds up two fingers)
- In the Style of...: According to Edgar Wright, the film is structured like a musical, except instead of songs, people fight when their emotions get too extreme for words.
- Invincibility Power-Up: Considering the Power of Self Respect has its own little theme tune, and tears though Gideon's mooks like nothing else, it has a couple of Super Star elements. Shame it gets shattered during Round Two with Gideon.
- Ironic Echo: In a Deleted Scene Ramona smokes on her first date with Scott stating that she smokes "only on special occasions." Scott takes this as a good sign. Skip a few scenes, Scott orders two alcoholic beverages and Ramona states she thought he didn't drink. He comes back with, "Only on special occasions," the occasion being angsting over having to fight her evil exes.
- Ironic Echo Cut:
Ramona: Sounds like a bad time.
- After Ramona agrees to go to the first round of the battle of the bands for Scott, Scott shouts as she's leaving that the round is "tonight! At the R—" before it cuts to a sign of the Rockit.
- When Scott tells Ramona about his previous haircut that he got before Envy broke up with him, he tells Ramona that it was so long ago that he barely remembers it. Cut to a narrator informing us that Scott knows exactly when he got the cut in relation to the present day and when Envy broke up with him (431 days and 3 hours respectively).
- These exchanges:
Scott: Bad time? Not really.
Narrator: It was.
Scott: It was a mutual thing.
Narrator: It wasn't.
Scott: I mean, she told me it was mutual.
Narrator: She dumped him. It was brutal.
- Ironic Name: Crash and the Boys has a girl drummer.
- It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Todd has superpowers because he's vegan. And something about the Vegan Academy and Vegan Police who monitor all their members to make sure they stay vegan.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Ramona tries to pull this, but Knives happily insists that she and Scott belong together.Knives: Go on! I'll be fine.(Kisses him on the cheek)
- Jerkass: This seems to be a defining trait of the kind of people Ramona used to date, including Scott himself (he gets better).
- Jump Scare: When Scott calls Knives inside a glass phone booth, Knives manages to tell everything he's wearing. When Scott asks how she knows that, we hear the fairly startling loud sound of Knives pressing herself against the booth.
- Just Toying with Them: Overconfident Gideon is fighting Scott with one hand behind his back during the final showdown.
- Kick the Dog: Two of these involving Knives: when Todd punches the highlights out of her hair, and when Gideon busts out his little "kung pao chicken" nugget (complete with video game captions saying "BAD!").
- Katanas Are Just Better: Except in one instance: Gideon's cane sword, which appears double edged. Played straight in every other instance.
- Knuckle Cracking: Lucas Lee, in-synch with the Universal theme tune.
- Lame Comeback: Scott's trash talk is not quite as lame as in the comic, but still pretty bad. "You cocky cock!"
- Large Ham: EVERYONE. But of notable hammy-ness is Ex #3, Todd Ingram.Todd: Looks like someone wants to get... funky.
- Todd was second only to Ex #1, MATTHEW PATEL!
- Laser-Guided Karma: Stacey, with a big smirk, tries to manipulate the conversation so that Ramona and Knives discover that Scott is dating them both. A moment later, Wallace steals her boyfriend.
- Last-Name Basis: Comeau.
- Last-Second Word Swap: Inverted when Envy shows up:Scott: I don't think anything can get in the way of how I- SHIT!
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Scott acts goofy, but shows some of this in the Evil Exes fights, especially against Patel:Matthew Patel: (flying and crashing through a wall to make his entrance) MISTER PILGRIMMMM!!! (lands in front of Sex Bob-Omb) It is I, Matthew Patel! Consider our fight... BEGUN!
(Matthew leaps into the air, intent on punching/landing on Scott.)
Scott: What did I do? (pause) What do I do?
(Scott glares at Matthew, then disconnects and hands off his bass. Cue retaliation.)
- One for Sex Bob-omb as a group (they're little more than a garage band) when they face off against the Katayanagi Twins, whose amps and keyboard music are so awesome that they blow off the roof and summon twin dragons with The Power of Rock to blow away Sex Bob-omb's stage. Surely it's all over for them, but suddenly they get back up, continue their song, and summon a giant yeti to pound the crap out of the dragons.
- Like Reality Unless Noted: The fact that you can kill people without leaving behind a body to examine, and that they turn into money, and that no one seems to notice or care about the bodycount or the destruction caused, doesn't seem to have affected anything. And then there's extra lives...
- Lock-and-Load Montage: Scott gets one near the end, but simply for putting on his outdoor clothes. Comes complete with an amazing gag, as the montage pauses for him to do up his shoes.
- Logo Joke: We are treated to the Universal logo and fanfare in glorious 8-bit. See also Awesome Music.
- Lost Love Montage: During Envy's phone call, we see the progression of Scott and Natalie's relationship as a series of photobooth pictures.
- Loud Gulp: Scott Pilgrim does this when he's about to be beat up by Lucas Lee's stunt doubles.
- Love Dodecahedron: Scott, who has previously been with Kim and Envy (who brutally broke up with him), leaves Knives for Ramona. Knives dates Young Neil in an attempt to get Scott jealous and notice her. Ramona also has the seven evil exes who want to control Ramona's love life, one of whom Envy left Scott for. Near the end it seems Ramona's falling back for the 7th evil ex, which leads Scott to fight him for Ramona and Knives to to fight Ramona for revenge for stealing Scott from her.
- Love Makes You Dumb / Crazy / Evil: Essentially the theme, appearing to various degrees in the Evil Exes (with, um, Evil being the most prominent there), Scott (potential future Evil Ex, Stalker with a Crush), and exemplified to their extremes in Knives - who is in denial that Scott jumped out of a window to avoid her (dumb), dyes her hair to look more like his new girlfriend (crazy), and becomes an Evil Ex, attacking Ramona to win Scott back ( . . . evil).
- Lucky Translation:
Wallace: You have to break out the A-word.
- Wallace tells Scott to break out the L-word, which is "love", not "lesbians". This is rendered effortlessly into Japanese with breaking out the re-word, which is "ren'ai" (true love), not "rezu".
- The Polish version has the original L-word, with "lesbijka" and the word "miłość" (love) replaced with "loffciam" - a slang word used by Dumb Blondes, which actually originated from the English "love".
- Horribly done in the Hebrew subtitles, which change "lesbian" into "girl love" to make them start with the same word. Later Scott confesses to Ramona: "I'm in girl love with you" (which makes her puzzled expression even more appropriate). Then again, in Hebrew the movie is titled "My Girlfriends' Exes", which is an appropriate, but terrible title.
- That part's French translation is "the A-word" because "love" is "amour" in French. Replacing "lesbian" is "abstinence", which somehow works in practice (translated back):
Wallace: The other A-word.
Scott: ... abstinence?
(later, to Ramona)
Scott: I'm abstinent with you.
- In Finnish, no letter is mentioned at all:Wallace: Päästä se sana ilmoille. (Get the word out.)Scott: "Lesbo", vai? ("Lesbian", or...?)Wallace: Se toinen. (The other one.)Scott: "Lesbot"? ("Lesbians"?)Wallace: Hain sanaa "rakkaus". (I was looking for the word "love".)
- In Danish, they keep it as the L-word by translating "lesbian" into "lesbisk" and saying "love" in English.
- Icelandic has it as the Á-word - "Álagalessa" (what Scott says) vs. "Ást" (what Wallace says).
- Magic RealismScott: This is happening, right?Wallace: Oh yeah. Kick her in the balls!
- Male Gaze: During the fight between Ramona and Roxy, Ramona somersaults into the air and we get a very good look up her skirt. We see her shorts and her legs in tights.
- Man in White: Todd Ingram, Kyle Katayanagi. Gideon Graves's white blazer is suitably iconic as well.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Somewhat arguable, since Ramona tends to keep Scott at a distance, but an interviewer has suggested this trope is true of Ramona. If going by the idea that the film is from Scott's perspective, thus robbing other characters of Character Development due to his self-obsession (see the Pragmatic Adaptation entry), then it's certainly possible Scott sees Ramona as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and this shallow idea of her thus spills into the film's depiction.
- Maybe Ever After
- McNinja: Roxy who can teleport and has a lack of self-confidence.
- Meaningful Background Event:
- In Matthew Patel's battle, Crash and the Boys get burnt to a crisp.
- During Envy's phone call to Scott, their relationship is spelled out in photo booth photography behind him.
- When Todd catches Scott's punch with his Vegan Telekinesis; if you pay attention behind them; you can see Lynette Guycott blending into the wall like an awesome ninja to get away.
- Meaningful Echo:
- Just before meeting Roxy for the first time, Scott is haunted by a number of earlier, throwaway lines (e.g. "it's sudden death now," "she's got battle scars") when the seven evil exes thing is really starting to sink in.
- This also happened when Scott came back from death due to the extra life that he picked up after the fight with the Katayanagi Twins. Right before he realized this, Ramona's first line in the movie ("You're not alone.") is echoed.
- Meaningful Rename: In perhaps the briefest example of this trope ever, Young Neil.
- Me's a Crowd: Lucas Lee's 'ability' is having a small army of stunt doubles.
- Metaphorgotten: "I'll be your garbage man. I'll take out your junk and I'll crush it down."
- Mickey Mousing: See Logo Joke above. The only time we hear that Universal theme normally is when Lucas Lee is introduced... and he's synchronised to it.
- Mid-Battle Tea Break: Too many to count.
- Milking the Giant Cow: Matthew Patel's body is every bit as hammy as his voice.
- Miniscule Rocking: "I Am Sad, So Very, Very Sad", on the soundtrack album it is listed as only 13 seconds long, and that includes dialogue introducing the song and the following song. The actual song is about 3 seconds at most.
- Mistaken from Behind: Scott calls out to Lucas Lee but is ignored. When he goes up and turns him around, it's not Lee but his Body Double.
- Modesty Bedsheet: played with in the His'n'Hers Bedsheet flavor; one scene has Scott's torso covered by a sheet, whereas it only reaches Ramona's waist (though she is still "censored" by wearing a bra, hence the playing with).
- Money Spider: The coins left over after character deaths during the Final Battle.
- Mood Whiplash: Todd punching Knives is a genuinely shocking moment, which makes the humorous lines immediately afterward a little awkward. Really though, Mood Whiplash is what this movie is all about, with jarring over the top action sequences suddenly slamming into the middle of otherwise benign scenes, usually with no warning. Hilariously showcased with the cut between the night at Ramona's and... Seinfeld.
- Motor Mouth: When Scott asks Ramona what kinds of tea she has, she casually rattles off all of the types available at a breakneck pace while a tea kettle's screech gradually intensifies in the background.
- The Movie
- Multiple Endings: Reshoots were done in early 2010, partially to address poor test screening responses to the original ending. The current ending, in which Scott ends up together with Ramona, was part of this reshoot. The original ending, in which Scott goes back to Knives, is included on the DVD. As well, director Edgar Wright hoped to film a DVD-exclusive gag ending, never intended to be taken seriously, in which the whole movie was All Just a Dream...until a news report reveals that a certain Toronto resident and his girlfriend have been arrested in connection with the murders of seven people, including a film star, a record producer, and three beloved musicians. Time ran out before this could be shot, unfortunately.
- Musicalis Interruptus: Used several times for comic effect.
- The Lucas Lee rail trick scene cuts between Lucas and his musical accompaniment gradually increasing in speed as well as Scott watching the event and casually saying "Wow".
- After Wallace gives Scott a quick pep talk about how he should let Ramona know he loves her, with swelling music, the music suddenly cuts out before Wallace says that Scott needs to move out.
- Musical World Hypothesis:
- Deconstructs the AU hypothesis very slightly during the Patel battle.
- Alternatively, the whole movie could be employing a variation of the hypotheses using "video game rules" instead of "musical numbers," i.e.: There is no high-score table in real life. Dead people don't burst into coins. Power-ups don't exist. So how do you make sense of a work of fiction where they do?
- Musical Spoiler: Take the Rolling Stones song literally!
- Musical Assassin: The fight with the Katayanagi Twins. Also the bass battle.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: "Soon it won't just be Knives wearing a Sex Bob-omb T-shirt. It'll be the cool kids, too."
- My Girl Is Not a Slut:
- Kim's apparent disapproval that Ramona dated twins (at the same time), and a drunken Scott asking if she's slept with everyone in the room. Ramona takes it very personally. Probably not brought up because Scott has a sizable number of exes himself: Lisa, Holly, Kim, Natalie/Envy, Knives, and Ramona.
- Scott's sister mistook Ramona for having eleven evil ex's, which Scott corrects to seven. "Oh, that's not that bad then."
- My Hero Zero: Just like all of the evil exes are associated with a number, our hero Scott is associated with zero.
- Mythology Gag:
- The outfits Sex Bob-omb wear at the end are identical to what they're wearing for their show in Volume 3.
- Multiple cameos by Honest Ed's, an historical bargain store that served as a major location in the graphic novel but wasn't written into the film.
- The two dragons summoned by the film's Katayanagi Twins were not involved in the book's version of their battle with Scott, but resemble the dragons surrounding Volume 4's logo (itself a reference to a logo for Double Dragon).
- Julie lists a Lisa and a Holly as the girls Scott has had flings with, with both names taken from supporting characters of the graphic novels cut from the film (though neither had previous sexual history with Scott). Lisa Miller was Scott's platonic best friend in high school, who came to Toronto in a major subplot of Volume 4 and almost hooked up with Scott; their past is partially seen in the [adult swim] Animated Adaptation. Holly was Kim's roommate.
- Scott's mug in the beginning has the picture of Ramona's cat from the comic, Gideon, on it.
- Flashbacks and Stephen Stills's drawings are done in O'Malley's art style.
- When the Vegan Police show up during the Todd fight to strip him of his powers, Todd asks what he's done wrong (other than half-and-half). The Police mention gelato (how he broke veganism in the comics) and chicken Parmesan (which Envy asked them about in the comics).
- Wallace mentions that Lucas Lee is in Toronto filming a "Winifred Hailey movie," referring to a female teenage movie star featured in a 2006 short Scott Pilgrim story released for Free Comic Book Day6.
- The hair colors Ramona go through are a reference to Edgar Wright's Blood And Ice Cream Trilogy.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Scott was utterly defeated and would have remained so, had Gideon not called him to gloat, inspiring him to fight back.
- 90% of Your Brain: Todd claims his psychic powers are the result of vegans having access to the parts of the brain that would otherwise be full of "curds and whey." He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer and the whole thing is meant to be nonsensical.
- No Smoking: As a running joke in the comics, Scott considers smoking to be a habit indicating pure evil. The film attempted to adapt the gag: Scott would react to Ramona's own smoking habit with shock, and Lucas Lee would constantly smoke with a floating black censor bar (similar to Julie's when she swears) covering up the cigarette. The former ended up a deleted scene; the latter was abandoned after test footage (found on the Blu-Ray) proved it looked too silly. As a result, no one smokes in the film.
- Not So Different:
- When the relationship between Scott and Ramona begins to deteriorate, in a moment of frustration, Ramona tells Scott that he's just another Evil Ex waiting to happen.
- On a related note, when Scott busts into the Chaos Arena to confront Gideon, he does so in a manner identical to that which many of the Evil Exes have attacked him over the course of the movie.
- It slowly becomes clear throughout the course of the movie that Scott has nearly as many Evil Exes as Ramona. It wouldn't have been too difficult for the movie to be centered around Scott moving to Ramona's city, and her having to fight his exes.
- Numerological Motif
0: Scott. Drinks Coke Zero and wears a shirt with "Zero" on it. Gideon refers to him by saying "you're zero, you're nothing!" in the final fight.
- Director Edgar Wright has confirmed that Scott and each of the Evil Exes has their rank number featured during their respective scenes. Appearances known thus far:
1: Matthew Patel. Identifies himself as "first", has his one eye covered by his emover, keeps pointing with one finger. Has a single chevron on his sleeve. Poses with one arm in the air, looking like the number one. Wallace also refers to him as "It's that one guy!"
1 1/2. Ramona claims that she went out with Matthew Patel (#1) for "a week and a half". Her next boyfriend was Lucas Lee (#2). She dyes her hair a different color every week and a half. Scott tells Wallace that he got to "first and a half base" with Ramona.
2: Lucas Lee. Just prior to his scene, Scott and Ramona pass two "X crossing" signs, and a crosswalk sign that counts down from 2. During the scene proper, the number appears on a prop car, as a tattoo on his neck, and on a trailer. Lee notes that Scott must be "seeing double," and that it will take "two minutes... to kick your ass" (which he says twice). Lee punches Scott twice to knock him out before the fight. The woman who sprays Lee's fist does so twice. Lee's ringtone is two beeps. Wallace notes that the stunt doubles get Lee's "sloppy seconds." Lee points at Scott with two fingers, and has two X's on his belt buckle. "2" is tattooed on his neck. In the "Cold Call" film-within-the-film we see, Lee's character refers to the two clicks his opponent will hear. Ramona dated Lucas in the 9th grade, two years after Patel. Lee claims there are "like, two hundred steps" on the grind rail. Before facing Lee, Scott learns the bassline to Final Fantasy II.
3: Todd Ingram. The Clash At Demonhead has 3 members. Wears the number on his shirt; has three stripes on each sleeve; has three stripes on each wristband; there's a particularly noticeable three on the wall of the dressing room; hurls Scott through three walls; Scott is thrown into a number of garbage cans with multiple 3's spray-painted on them; the words "Bass Battle" flash three times on screen; both Scott and Todd one-up each other three times before the end of the bass battle. Envy wears a shirt with three stripes as well. Also had three strikes against Vegan Law. Although oddly, he says "You'll be dust in two seconds."
4: Roxy Richter. The fight takes place in a club simply called "4". The club itself is full of four-bulb light fixtures. Also, instead of being called "Roxie" like in the books, her name was changed to "Roxy" to have four letters. Her battle(s) with Scott is in four parts (in the snow, versus Ramona alone, versus Ramona-Scott, and versus Scott alone). The two girls are/were bisexual (2x2). The DVD trivia track points out she has four tears in her lace tights. Additionally the floor, disco ball, and Roxy's weapon are comprised of squares.
4 1/2. Scott is wearing a t-shirt featuring the Fantastic Four's "4" logo with an additional "1/2" doodled on it, halfway between battles 4 and 5. Ramona had also just told him "You're just another evil ex waiting to happen."
5 & 6: Katayanagi Twins. he Twins turn the dial on their music Up to Eleven (though the numbers are in Japanese).The first two notes they play on their keyboards are an E (the fifth letter after A) and a Bb, a tritone (or 6 half-steps) above E. Additionally their names and last name start with K, the eleventh letter of the alphabet (5 + 6 = 11).Interestingly, one of them has the rising sun on his shirt and with a total of seven beams. However, this is Ken, who is number 6. Possibly symbolic of them working for Gideon.7: Gideon Graves. G is the seventh letter of the alphabet. The Chaos Theatre is introduced on-screen as "level 7." The second run scene is filled with bonus points and multipliers that use the number 7. Gideon becomes upset that his swallowed gum will be in his system for 7 years. Gideon activates a x7 multiplier when he summons his digi-tana and gets
+7x7 bonuses to his 'stats'.
- In addition, each Ex's number briefly flashes in the background when their respective actor's name is listed in the opening credits sequence.
- Also along similar notes, the score for defeating each ex is the proper multiple of 1000, at least till the very end. Played twice after the battle with the Katayanagi Twins, where the score starts at 5000 and slowly climbs to 6000. Defeating Gideon the first time earns 7000 points, and for the final time earns 7 billion (!) points, which may include the multipliers Scott earned after using his 1-UP. His minions are all worth 700 points when defeated, and minor boosts during the scene result in half that (350).
- This has some Fridge Brilliance regarding Nega-Scott. The reason why the two don't end up fighting? Negative zero is still zero.
- Obvious Stunt Double: Invoked when Scott has to battle Lucas Lee's stunt doubles, some of which are roughly one head shorter than Lucas Lee himself and a few of which appear to be of different ethnicities. Note that the Lucas Lee's stunt doubles are played by Chris Evans' actual stunt doubles.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: See Battle Discretion Shot.
- Offscreen Reality Warp:
- Basis of a running gag, in which Scott will put on a hat when embarrassed by his shaggy hair. In fact, he retrieves and puts on the hat in the split-second between the other person commenting on his hair and the cut back to Scott.
- In the Seinfeld scene, Scott enters a room and promptly exits the room wearing an entirely different shirt.
- Offscreen Teleportation: The characters do this constantly. Envy and Ramona manage to enter a coffee shop and get behind Scott undetected, Stacey does the same leaving said coffee shop, Todd somehow moves from behind two broken walls to a door the moment the camera moves from him, and so forth.
- Oh, Crap!:
- "Wait... mystical powers?!"
- A light-hearted version occurs when Scott makes garlic bread for Ramona.Ramona: "Bread makes you fat."
Scott: "Bread makes you fat?!"
- Wallace has one of these moments when Scott gets a phone call from a certain someone...Scott: (hears the voice on the line) Envy?
Wallace: Oh shit.
- While in the coffee shop talking to Ramona...Scott: Nothing can get in the way of how I- SHIT! (sees Envy standing behind Ramona)
- When Scott and Ramona go to see The Clash at Demonhead, during the intro to "Black Sheep".Scott: That guy on bass? (Envy: Oh yeah.) That's Todd.
Ramona: I know. (Envy: Oh yeah!)
Scott: (Looks at Ramona) You know!?! (Envy: OH YEAH!) Oh no.
- Gideon gets one at the end of his fight with Scott, after he backhands Ramona. He turns around to see a very, very pissed off Scott and Knives, who proceed to beat the shit out of him.
- Ominous Visual Glitch: After Gideon is near-fatally weakened by Scott and co., his image begins to glitch, switching to different positions for single frames and further distorting his voice to eerie effect.
- One-Winged Angel: Gideon, complete with x7 multiplier. Gideon's first defeat was worth 7,000 points, while his defeat in this form was 7 billion!
- One Steve Limit: Averted briefly, as in the comics, with Wallace's bedmate "Other Scott".
- Only Sane Man: Stacey Pilgrim is the only one who acts surprised, confused, or incredulous by Patel's sudden entrance or the talk of evil exes.
- Only Mostly Dead: Two different people. One saved by a 1UP, the other by metaphorically turning red.
- Overly Narrow Superlative:
- Many people (including a NY Times reviewer) have described this film as the best video game movie ever made without actually being based on a video game.
- Kotaku: The reviewer explains that yes, it is based on a comic book, but that its heavy use of gaming culture in-jokes and tropes makes it a good video game movie, particularly if one thinks The Wizard or Gamer are also video game movies.
- Within the film, Ramona describes Scott as "the nicest guy I've ever dated". She's only dated seven other people, and she repeatedly calls all of them evil. Well, she's dated seven people who turned out to be evil. She may have dated others who just...didn't end up evil.
- In the comic she briefly mentions dating a guy who wasn't evil, he was just a dick.
- Pac-Man Fever:
- Averted—Young Neil appears to be accurately playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on his DS, and Scott's lame pick-up monologue about the history of Pac-Man is mostly accurate.
- Apart from all the random video game noises, this is also averted with the one game we see: "Ninja Ninja Revolution" actually looks like a real arcade game (although some of the moves the characters use to play it are unrealistically acrobatic and, frankly, unnecessary).
- Painting the Medium:
- Stylistic elements, captions, and Unsound Effects—for actual sounds—are projected on screen and treated as if they're physically real. In one fight scene, a "SMAK" caption comes up and shatters. In the next shot, the remains of it can be seen scattered behind Scott.
- A more conventional example is when the movie keeps cutting from one scene to another, with the implication Scott has been completely zoned out for the intervening time. This mirrors the graphic novels, where if the reader doesn't see it happen, Scott doesn't know about it.
- "How are you doing that with your mouth?"
- When Ramona blocks Roxy's kick, in the shot where she reaches towards the camera, her fingers extend past the letterbox, giving the illusion she's reaching through the screen.
- Palette Swap: Nega Scott
- Panty Shot: Subverted. Ramona has a few of these while battling Roxy, but her tights cover everything. Same thing when Roxy spin kicks Scott in the head.
- Also, Ramona has one when she's fighting Knives.
- "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: The camera pans up from the closed door to the sky, giving us a "Continue?" and countdown, evoking arcade games. At zero, the credits begin.
- Peggy Sue: Scott, via Save Scumming.
- People Puppets: A mundane version. Scott is unwilling to hit a girl, which is a big disadvantage in his fight with Roxie. So, Ramona helps him by spinning him, twirling him, and hitting him in pressure points to get him to attack Roxie.
- Pet the Dog:
- Lucas Lee has a lot of faith in his stunt doubles, claiming he'd be nothing without them. One in particular he seems especially fond of, Lucas stating he'll let him do the occasional wide-angle shot when Lee is...indisposed. It helps that Lucas is probably the least "evil" of all the exes and seems to be fighting Scott out of obligation more than anything else.
- Wallace seems genuinely fond of Knives for some reason. He's one of the few sane men and knows that Scott isn't doing right by poor Knives.
- Playing Pictionary: Subverted. Scott draws a blank circle with scribbles at the top, and Comeau immediately recognizes it as a picture of Ramona.
- Playing with Fire: Part of Matthew Patel's overall mystical powers.
- Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: "You just drank half-and-half, baby." Particularly impressive because the guy he tricked was psychic, but then again, he was a dumb psychic.
- Polar Opposite Twins: The Katayanagi Twins are literally Yin and Yang / Black and White themed.
- Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Todd's hair spikes up when he unleashes his psychic powers.
- Power of Friendship: When Scott finally battles the Big Bad Gideon, his only chance to win is when his friend Knives steps in and battles alongside him.
- The Power of Love: Scott Pilgrim gains this "superpower", in the form of a sword popping out of his chest, but he loses it in the process of the final battle. Then he dies, and tries again with the Power of Self-Respect. He does better, but still can't cut it: in the end it's The Power of Friendship (teaming up with Knives) that wins the day.
- The Power of Rock: It can Summon glowing Dragons and a Yeti. In solo duels, Scott's power of rock is sadly lacking compared to his opponents, both in how cool it sounds as well as what it actually accomplishes.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The supporting cast, especially the female characters (with the exception of Knives), don't get much of their character development from the books. But when you cram a six-volume graphic novel series into a two-hour movie, something's gotta give. Notably, one of the major themes of the books is Scott learning that other people have their own lives outside of his, while in the film, everyone's moon orbits Planet Scott to such a degree that reviews and cast members have suggested the film takes place entirely within his own head.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
- One notable instance when Kim does it for Scott as they're about to play the fight's background music:Kim: WE ARE SEX BOB-OMB, AND WE'RE HERE TO WATCH SCOTT PILGRIM KICK YOUR TEETH IN!
- "MISTER LEE!" [Camera pans around] "You're needed back on set."
- At one point, Knives makes the most of her name and tells Ramona to "get ready to chow (Chau) down".
- One notable instance when Kim does it for Scott as they're about to play the fight's background music:
- Precision F-Strike: "I don't think anything could get in the way of how I—SHIT!" Of course, "shit" is an incredibly minor swear in Canada, and this movie is incredibly Canadian.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
- Scott's quip before killing Todd after he gets de-veganized.
- Scott has a similar one before killing Gideon.Gideon You're zero! You're nothing! Me? I'm what's hip. I'm what's happening! I'm blowing up right now!
Scott: You are blowing up...right now!
(kicks Gideon in the head, making him literally blow up, into billions of coins)
- Prepare to Die: Said by Roxy. She adds "...obviously."
- Prepositional Phrase Equals Coolness: The League of Evil Exes.
- Product Placement: Seemingly all over the place (Coke Zero?). Every product, store, and service featured in the movie except for the Chaos Theatre are actual Canadian brands. Scott rides the TTC (they even managed to work in a joke that only works if you know that a TTC ticket costs $2.75 in 2010), goes to Pizza Pizza (Nine six seven.. eleven.. eleven!), shops at Goodwill, the former Honest Ed's, and Drug Smart, wears a CBC t-shirt, plays gigs at Lee's Palace, uses Beatrice brand half-and-half, reads the Now newspaper, and his sister works at Second Cup. Even Spike TV airs in Canada. However, according to the director/screenwriter/comic author commentary, the only company that actually paid to have its product placed in the film was Research In Motion, the Canadian company that is the maker of Blackberry smartphones. Everything else was an artistic choice on the part of the filmmakers.
- Profane Last Words: Gideon's last words after being defeated by Scott:Gideon: You...dick.
- Psycho Lesbian: Roxy Richter.Ramona: I was just a little bi-curious.Roxy: Well, honey, I'm a little bi-furious!
- Pun: It is chock full of these, particularly coming from Roxy and Gideon. And they are all amazing.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:Gideon: Scotty, you can cheat on my girls as you like. But you can't. Cheat. Death.
- Rapid-Fire "No!": Gideon's final words after Scott administers his Pre-Mortem One-Liner and before administering his fatal kick.
- Reality Ensues:
- Scott knocks Gideon away, then stops to have a chat. He is then stabbed through the chest by Gideon. Clearly Talking Is NOT A Free Action.
- When Gideon is defeated, $7 billion in coins falls all over the characters and their equipment. It appears to be painful.
- After Sex-Bob-Omb realized they aren't getting paid now that their boss is dead, they scoop up as many coins as possible.
- Really Gets Around: Quite a few characters, but Ramona in particular. Wallace Wells is the homosexual version. Scott is actually worse than Ramona, though the movie only alludes to it.
- Rearrange the Song: During one of their dates, Scott plays Ramona a love song he wrote about her named "Ramona". After he plays it, Ramona asks to hear it when it's finished, prompting Scott to ask "Finished?" After the two break up, a slightly more developed Dark Reprise of the song plays, and a fully developed reprise of the song plays over the end credits.
- Refrain from Assuming:
- In universe, Scott introduces the first song Sex Bob-omb plays as "Launchpad McQuack", to which Stephen Stills replies "Uh, that's not actually the name of the song..." (The song is actually called "We Are Sex Bob-omb"). (Of course, the lyrics don't contain the words "Launchpad McQuack", making one wonder where Scott got that name from).
- An out-of-universe example, the second song Crash and the Boys play is NOT called "We Hate You, Please Die" - that song was actually cut from the movie, despite the announcing of it being left in. The song that plays in the movie after the announcement of that song is actually called "Last Song Kills Audience" - this can be found in a deleted scene on the DVD.
- Rewind Gag: After Gideon kills Scott, he's submitted to the fact that he is dead—only for the movie to bring up the fact that he still has the extra life he got after killing the Katayanagi twins, rewinding back to the moment where he nabbed it.
- Rule of Three: Scott's relationship with Knives was mocked by his friends because she's 17, Asian and a Catholic schoolgirl.
- Running Gag: Exclusive to the film we have such things as:
- In the movie, Scott's hat instantly appearing on his head anytime someone mentions his long hair.
- Wallace's increasing number of bedmates.
- Wallace's frequent interjections, especially during the fight scenes. "Hey!...."
- Kim consistently interrupting Stephen Stills with "WE ARE SEX BOB-OMB! ONE TWO THREE FOUR!!!"
- Scott sure does pee a lot.
- Scott constantly assumes that Ramona is too cool to actually come to events or show up on time... only to discover that it's not so.
- "You know X?" "I know of it."
- Rhymes on a Dime: Somewhat invoked. Matthew's Pattel song doesn't start with him, but starts with Ramona, becuase that's when the music begins. Scott only rhymes once. Maybe he's just sort of a dunce.Ramona: It was football season and for some reason, all the little jocks wanted me. Matthew was the only non-white, non-jock boy in school, probably in the entire state, so we joined forces and took em all out. We were one hell of a team. Nothing could beat Matthews mystical powers. Nothing but pre-teen capriciousness. We only kissed once. After a week and a half, I told him to hit the showers.Scott: Dude, wait...mystical powers?Matthew: Youll pay for this, Flowers!Matthew: If you want to fight me, you're not the brightest. You won't know what hit you in the slightest. Me and my fireballs and my Demon Hipster Chicks, Im talking the talk because I know Im slick. Fireball Girls! Take this sucker down. Let us show him what were all about.Scott: That doesn't even rhyme!Matthew: This is impossible, how can it be!?Scott: Open your eyes. Maybe you'll see.
- The Runt at the End: Lee's stunt doubles. In the middle are five (much like Lee) chiseled, brunet white guys. The ones at either end, though, are a short, squat guy and a little Filipino-looking guy.
- Satellite Character: Almost everyone to Scott. Possibly intentional - see Pragmatic Adaptation above and Unreliable Narrator below.
- Save Scumming: Scott's extra life restarts him from where he picked it up after the Katayanagi fight, allowing him to better deal with the situations he finds himself in the second time around.
- Say My Name: Matthew Patel to MISSSSTER PILGRIM!!!
- Scarf Of Asskicking: Knives dons one for the final showdown. She even uses it to disarm Gideon, turning the tide of the battle.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: You can see a digitized "X" in Gideon's glasses during the final fight, and it even shimmers when he adjusts them.
- The Scottish Trope: Stacy refers to Envy as "She Who Shall Not Be Named" in reference to the trope's use in Harry Potter, while Wallace informs Other Scott that said woman's name is not to be used in the apartment.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: When Scott storms the Chaos Theatre for the second time, already knowing much of what will happen, he yells to Knives, telling her, "don't attack from behind!" What does Knives do just as Scott is finishing the sentence? She attacks Ramona, from behind.
- Self-Deprecation: The movie itself.Comeau:" The comic book is always better than the movie.
- Sequential Boss: Gideon has a second form—he just uses a different, cooler sword and wears Cool Shades.
- Serial Escalation: The entire film. Parodied when an exasperated Scott blows up on Ramona and tells that when he dated Kim, he had to fight 96 guys and an 80-foot tall purple robot and "I kicked him so hard, he saw the curvature of the Earth!" Turns out, he wasn't being sarcastic.
- Serious Business: Todd's violations of his vegan policies are treated like egregious crimes, with Envy even gasping in full horror when he's revealed to have eaten chicken parmesan at one point.
- Sheathe Your Sword: Nega-Scott, though it happens off-screen. It's foreshadowed that Scott should have no chance against him, but according to Scott, this trope happened, they talked, and made plans to go out for brunch in a few days.
- She's Got Legs: Ramona and Envy.
- Shout-Out: And how. It has its own page.
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: The creature summoned by Sex Bob-Omb against the Katayanagis was officially named the "Green-Eyed Monster," after the Shakespearean phrase to describe jealousy. Also notice that Scott's eyes are glowing green in this scene.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The reason Ramona fell for Scott, at least on the surface. May be a case of an Informed Attribute, since Scott may be polite, but he's pretty short on good characteristics. She only calls him, "The nicest guy she's ever dated," but that's not saying much. See Classical Antihero.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Brie Larson (Envy Adams).
- Smash Cut: Edgar Wright continues to display his love for these.
- Smug Snake: Really most of the exes, but especially Gideon. When Gideon summons his second sword, one of his bonuses is a +7 to cockiness.
- Smug Straight Edge: Todd Ingram.
- Left the Background Music On: Happens more than once.
- When Scott is staring at Ramona in the real world for the first time, and a low bassline is playing, the scene then shifts to when Scott is performing. Stephen replies "Scott! You played one note for that entire song!"
- And again when Scott realizes he never broke up with Knives at the Rockit and she shows up in front of Ramona. It sounds like his heart is racing and he runs away. The beat is the host hitting the microphone.
- Sound-Effect Bleep:
- Julie's profane rant at Scott in the Second Cup uses this, as well as a bar blocking potential lip reading. Becomes even more hilarious when Scott lampshades this and asks "How are you doing that with your mouth?" (even though Scott was able to do this himself in Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation). Later on, Envy pulls this on Julie.
- Amp feedback in the scene before the Katayanagi Twins battle obscures Stephen's use of "cock" in the sentence "You know how I feel about girls cock-blocking the rock." The DVD trivia track reveals this was done to avoid an R rating.
- Stalker with a Crush:
- All three points of the Love Triangle exhibit this trait - Knives is this with Scott (even while dating, though that could simply be her way of trying to bond with her boyfriend) at first, and then it is turned Up to Eleven after they break up. Scott stalks Ramona both prior to meeting her (partially in a sequence lampshaded with subtitles calling him out on it), and during their early courtship. Finally, Ramona admits that she was the equivalent of Knives in regards to Gideon and that she moved to Toronto to escape that mindset.
- Wallace does this somewhat, outright telling Scott that he's off to stalk Lucas because he's attracted to him.
- Stealth Insult: Even after signing onto Gideon's contract, Kim flips him off very subtly, by using her middle finger to "rub under her eye."Kim: We are Sex Bob-omb. We are here to make money and sell out and stuff.
Young Neil: (after the Clash at Demonhead plays) Yeah, you should see them live, they are so much better live!
- Think about that one:
- Stealth Pun: In one of the subtler examples of Arc Number in this movie, Roxy Richter ("Evil Ex #4") is represented by four X's in the opening credits, and Ramona repeatedly tells Scott that she has "four exes" whenever Scott incorrectly says "four ex-boyfriends". Ramona's relationship with Roxy was her sole lesbian relationship—in other words, the only relationship between two people with two X-chromosomes, or "four X's".
- Sting: Kim does this sometimes with her drums (by miming shooting herself in the head and collapsing onto her drumset, no less) when Young Neil, Scott, or Stephen are acting particularly stupid.
- The Stinger: Stay through the credits and watch the words "The End" come up...then watch Scott Pilgrim from the video game come in and punch the shit out of it! Doubles as a cross-promotional shout out.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: "That doesn't even rhyme!"
- Storming the Castle: The Chaos Theatre , Act II.
- Straight Gay: Wallace in particular (although slightly effeminate and very mellow), but really no gay character in the movie even approaches Camp Gay.
- Strange Minds Think Alike:Scott: Do you know a girl with hair like this? [holds up a picture of a shapeless squiggle]
Comeau: Yes, that's Ramona Flowers.
- Stylistic Suck: Sex Bob-Omb, Scott's song about Ramona, Matthew Patel's Bollywood song "Slick", and visually, Gideon's pixelated katana. Doesn't mean they're not awesome in their own lo-fi way.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Scott lampshades this after the offense in Matthew Patel's Villain Song (although it was the other way around in the graphic novel).
- Summon Backup Dancers: Matthew Patel's Demon Hipster Chicks, who disappear when he is defeated.
- Summon Magic: The aforementioned Demon Hipster Chicks, as well as the Green-Eyed Monster and the double-headed dragon summoned in the battle between Sex B-Bomb and the Katayanagi Twins through The Power of Rock.
- Symbolic Blood: The coin drops pretty much become this by the end of the movie. At one point, someone on the verge of dying actually coughed up coins.
- Sympathetic Adulterer: Scott cheats on Knives when he starts dating Ramona. See Your Cheating Heart below.
- Super Window Jump: Scott does this to escape his tiny apartment when Knives comes calling. And then reaches back inside for his coat.
- Sword Cane: Gideon has one.
- Take That!:
- Although many conflate the movie with hipsterism, others consider it a Take That against hipsters, what with Gideon's "I'm cooler/better than you" villain rant, and Todd/Natalie explaining that "being a vegan just makes you better than everyone." Not to mention the final battle theme is titled "Death to All Hipsters". Of course, anyone who thinks it isn't possible to both be hipstery and be anti-hipster clearly doesn't understand hipsters.
- Gideon and Sex Bob-Omb play a big part in a Take That! against big stereotypical music labels that pump out music for the sake of money without caring about artistic integrity. Stephen signs the band to Gideon simply cause they're offered loads of cash and recognition, even though Gideon is pretty obviously a big Jerkass. Scott, knowing better, quits the band cause he doesn't want to sell out to him. The song Sex Bob-omb plays when Scott first enters the club is aptly titled "No Fun". When the first round of Scott's final battle with Gideon begins, Gideon demands Sex Bob-Omb to play a pretty cool but still largely generic tune while Kim, completely unmotivated, proclaims they're playing to sell out. Once Round 2 begins however, witnessing Scott finally gain his own self-respect and ultimately become the better man, the band finally comes to realize that there is more than just money and fame, and with their own freedom, they play the same song but this time taken Up to Eleven.
- Take That, Us: Comeau can be heard telling someone "The comic book was better than the movie" when Scott enters the Chaos Theater the second time
- Talking Is a Free Action: Parodied during the Patel and Roxy fights but turned on its head for the Gideon fight.
- That Came Out Wrong: When the issue of Knives' age comes up in front of Ramona, Scott's brain switches to an excuse wheel which settles between "Gotta pee." and "Who, her?". Scott subsequently mangles this to "I gotta pee on her."
- Theme Tune Cameo: The full orchestrated Universal theme plays when Lucas Lee first steps out of his trailer. (Complete with synchronised neck cracks!) And it is glorious.
- The Dragon: Co-Dragons, literally. The last but one boss not counting Nega-Scott is a pair of Japanese twins who use synthesiser keyboards to summon twin dragons.
- There Was a Door: Subverted. Todd knocks Scott through quite a few walls and looks through the resulting holes menacingly...and then proceeds to use the door to reach Scott anyways. By Offscreen Teleportation.
- This Cannot Be!: Matthew Patel before Scott delivers the final blow.Patel: This is impossible... How can this be?
Scott: Open your eyes. Maybe you'll see!
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Milk and eggs, bitch."
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself:
Roxy: "Give it up Ramona, this is a League Game!"
- Scott vs. the Bonus Boss, Nega-Scott. Who turns out to be a pretty cool guy, so the drama wasn't necessary. Technically, Scott had to defeat all of the exes himself.
Roxy: "Meaning that your precious Scott must defeat me with his own fists! ... Or possibly his feet!"
- As the Exes grow more powerful, Scott needs a lot of help to deal with them- The Vegan Police strip Todd of his powers, Ramona tells him Roxy's secret weakness, and the rest of Sex Bob-Omb help him take out the Katayanagi Twins. Scott actually dies when he tries to take on Gideon himself the first time, and it's only with Knives' help he defeats Gideon the last time.
- It seems that Scott needs help for every fight. Wallace assists in the first two by heckling/demoralizing Patel and setting up Lee's undoing (he even hands him the fatal skateboard).
- Three-Point Landing: Matthew Patel, during his battle with Scott.
- Title Drop: According to the cast commentary on the DVD, a cut line had Scott saying "Yeah, I guess I'm just... Scott Pilgrim vs. the world" towards the end of the movie.
- Took a Level in Badass: Scott gaining The Power of Self-Respect in Chaos Theatre Round 2 is the culmination of his Character Development. Suddenly he blazes through the crowd of mooks like a hot knife through butter all while his former band now with newly gained respect for him play the Theme Music Power-Up version of the crew's theme song.
- Trailers Always Lie: The trailers do a good job of obfuscating the Sorting Algorithm of Evil of The Evil Exes, with Lucas Lee being by far the most prominent.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Ramona has an ex-girlfriend. It's cool, not like it was supposed to be a plot twist or anything.
- Troperiffic: It is an Edgar Wright movie, after all.
- Thwarted Coup de Grâce: Happens twice in the Final Battle. First Scott saves Ramona from being finished off by Knives and later he himself is saved by Knives from being finished off by Gideon.
- T-Word EuphemismRoxie: Your BF's about to get F'd in the B!
- When Scott awakens from his first Ramona dream, Other Scott asks if the dream was Envy-related. Wallace then says that they don't use "the E word" in their apartment.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Used extensively to transition between scenes.
- Up to Eleven: Hard to catch, but the Twins actually turn a dial to the setting 十一 (11) during the battle.
- Unreliable Narrator: Many critics, cast members, and even creator Bryan Lee O'Malley have claimed that the film, to a certain degree, may be from Scott's point of view, explaining all the weird, video game stuff happening and why nobody seems to react to supernatural powers and people dying (because it didn't really happen.) O'Malley even told Jason Schwartzmann not to worry about crafting a realistic character, but instead playing Scott's Flanderized version of Gideon.
- Other possible effects of Scott's viewpoint perverting the film include Innocent Inaccurate, in-universe Flanderization of the entire cast, to Scott (and the film) being oblivious of any Character Development or Hero of Another Story in those around him (turning everyone into a Satellite Character who live only to worry about him), and, of course, maybe it was All Just a Dream and none of it ever really happened.
- Verbal Backspace: Lucas Lee pulls one.Lucas: Are you serious? There's like 200 steps and the rails are garbage.Scott: Well hey, if it's too hardcore...Lee: You really think you can goad me into doing a trick like that?Scott: There are girls watching.
- Versus Title: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
- Video Game Tropes: Notable because... this is a film, based on a comic.
- Villainous Breakdown: Gideon. He even starts glitching out as he rants, as if his graphics code were falling apart.
- Villain Song: "Slick," sung by the first evil ex and his chorus of demon hipster chicks.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Ramona after Roxy attacks Scott.Ramona: (breaking out her hammer) Do that again and I will end you!
- Visual Pun: "What are you doing?" "Getting a life." *bloop*
- The Voice: Bill Hader's narrator is credited as "The Voice."
- The Voiceless:
- The Katayanagi Twins prefer to let their music speak for them. Apparently, the casting office forgot to write "identical mid-twenties attractive English-speaking Japanese twins" into the casting call.
- Lynette, The Clash at Demonhead's bespectacled bionic-armed drummer is also completely silent for her brief time on screen.
- Wall Slump: Scott, the depressed variation, against a fridge after Ramona bails on him after he kills Lucas Lee.
- Weakened by the Light: After Scott sees Ramona for the first time in a dream, Wallace reminds him that he's late on taking Knives to the library. Scott, believing it's morning time, opens the door and is met with a blinding burst of sunlight, to which he shields his eyes and screams.
- Weirdness Censor: Nobody seems to give much thought to people having incredible martial arts skills, exploding into coins, or being able to summon giant monsters with The Power of Rock.
- The one point in the movie where someone thinks something genuinely weird is going on is when Stacey sees Matthew Patel break into song and dance. And that's mostly because it's genuinely weird.
- That, and when Julie starts swearing and a black Censorship rectangle covers her mouth, the others do take notice. "How are you doing that?"
- When She Smiles: Kim, for a few seconds near the end.
- White Void Room: Slight variation, after Scott breaks up with Knives, everything around them vanishes, replacing it with black instead of white.
- Whip It Good: Roxy in her fight with Ramona.
- With My Hands Tied: In the final battle, Gideon willingly fights with one hand behind his back.
- Words Can Break My Bones: On his second visit to the Chaos Theatre, Scott destroys the first door-guy by insulting his hair.
- World of Badass: And it is del... wait...
- World of Chaos: And it is deli - hang on.
- World of Ham: And it is delicious.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Scott gives one in the deleted scenes. This is basically an outline of The Hero's Journey.Scott: "Wallace, when my journey began, I was living in an ordinary world. Ramona skated through my dreams and it was like a Call to Adventure, a call I considered refusing. But my mentor, thats you, told me if I want something bad enough, I have to fight for it. So I did. There were tests, allies, enemies. I approached a deep cave and went through a crazy ordeal, during which I totally seized the sword. Sadly, I died. Then I resurrected! Now I realize what I should have been fighting for all along."
- World of Pun: The film is full of them. For example:Scott: You once were a ve-gone, and now you will be gone.
- World of Weirdness: The world of the film is governed by rules of video games (Especially from the 8-Bit era and Coin-Ops) with a dose of surrealism and pure fantasy. It's also a beyond brutal world with a very jaded view of life and death, where murder seems to be no worse than a school yard fight. And there are Vegan Police.
- Would Hit a Girl: Todd, who punches Knives so hard he knocks the highlights out of her hair, and Gideon, who is not afraid to show Knives and Ramona that he's the boss.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Scott, who has to come up with an unconventional method of beating Roxy.
- Wrecked Weapon: The first Deus ex Machina magic sword wasn't enough to defeat Gideon. Neither was the second.
- Written Sound Effect: One of very few live-action films to use the trope.
- Wrong Guy First: Played with. Scott has a sweet chemistry with Knives (while retaining his Jerkass tendencies, he even comments to his sister that he's not sure if he's doing it because he wants to or because he's going crazy) until he sees Ramona Flowers for the first time. After that he grows even more callous with Knives until he finally (sort of) dumps her. Towards the end of the movie, after some serious growing up on the part of Scott, he and Knives work in-tandem to brutally beat the snot out of Gideon. Ironically, Scott is finally grown up enough to be with the 17-year old girl. Of course, I Want My Beloved to Be Happy kicks in about this point, leaving Knives as The Woobie, albeit an Iron Woobie.
- In the alternate ending contained in the DVD deleted scenes, Ramona initiates an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy at the end of the movie and leaves so that Scott can be with Knives.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
- Ramona has pink hair when she first meets Scott; she changes her hair color twice more before the end of the film, to blue and green, but never to a standard color.
- Knives also puts blue highlights in her hair to compete with Ramona, but these are knocked out before the third fight.
- Your Cheating Heart: Scott on both Knives and Ramona, or more specifically, Scott cheated on Knives with Ramona ("What's the difference?" "You weren't wronged?"). Scott got off the hook relatively easy (considering he was killed before either Ramona or Knives could really chew him out for it), unlike in the books...
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: With 20 minutes left in the film, Scott "defeats" Gideon... then Gideon gets back up and kills him. After he restarts at the checkpoint, he beats Gideon for good. Then Nega-Scott shows up.
- Zettai Ryouiki:
- Ramona's skirt and stocking combo in the "changing scene."
- Knives's Ninja Ninja Revolution avatar.