Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is a great take on a classic, but I just can’t enjoy it

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off does well to amend past mistakes, but I still can’t bring myself to finish it off.

Scott Pilgrim, in his Takes Off version, with a zoom effect on his face.
Image credit: Netflix/VG247

I was looking forward to Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. We all know that Scott Pilgrim himself is a POS, but there was no denying that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was a lively, unique film at the time, with a fantastic cast of actors involved.

So when the news emerged that an animated rendition of Scott Pilgrim’s story would be coming to Netflix, alongside the original cast, I was overjoyed to receive some new Pilgrim-related media. Maybe this time around they’d actually acknowledge Scott’s problematic behaviors, and maybe they’d give us more insight into Ramona’s relationship with the evil exes!?

The good news is that Scott Pilgrim Takes Off does both of those things. It explores a new iteration of the story we already know, devoting enough attention to a wide range of characters, with a stellar soundtrack, and an animation style suitable for Scott Pilgrim. It even paid regular homage to the world of video games through its title cards, fight scenes, and so forth, something I’m a big fan of.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off ultimately did everything that this fan wanted it to do, yet after episode three or so, I began to lose interest in the show altogether. I was no longer engaged, and making my way through the latter half of the show didn’t feel particularly fun. I stopped on episode seven, and I’m yet to find the motivation to finish the show off.

Why? Well, there are a few reasons why I believe Scott Pilgrim Takes Off was lost on me, and the first is highly subjective; the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ trope. Scott Pilgrim Takes Off has moved away from this. There’s less of a focus on Ramona being mysterious, edgy, and the cure-all to Scott’s ridiculous desires, but more of a focus on her mission to seek clarity for her past actions and heal. In some episodes, she feels like more of a lead character than Scott is. But despite that, the trope is still present, and I’m still tired of it.

I subjected myself to plenty of media involving the trope as a teenager, back when Scott Pilgrim vs. The World released. There’s 500 Days of Summer, Fight Club, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and too many more to list. The trope has always been bad. I was enamored by how intense and ‘romantic’ these films felt as a teenager, and watching a rendition of a similar kind of story in 2023 felt bizarre to me, with the life experience that I have now as an adult.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off admittedly does its best to move past the trope – and it does so really well by providing Ramona with more of her own story – but this in and of itself made a lot of feelings arise for me that made enjoying the show a struggle. This isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s something to be celebrated in the Scott Pilgrim universe. But this is one big reason why I’ve found myself losing interest. I guess, as excited as I was, that I just didn’t want to go back there and be reminded of how much I once naively glorified such misogynistic character development.

I cannot express enough how well Scott Pilgrim Takes Off has tried to amend this, but it's the reminders of the past that caused my interest in the show - which I was rather excited for - to slowly dwindle. I haven’t watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in years, and maybe if I had, I’d have worked out much sooner that Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is not for me.

Another qualm I had with the show that many might agree with is in regards to its voice acting and, to an extent, the animation. Once I realized just how terribly the characters’ mouths match up with their speech, it became all I could focus on during more poignant moments of the show.

Paired with what is rather poor voice acting from most of the cast, my enjoyment of the show soon came to a halt. This is the trade-off you make when bringing in the star-studded, original cast, but the fact that only a small portion of them are experience voice actors is very obvious throughout the show. Perhaps it would’ve been good to get a new cast in, but simultaneously, things wouldn’t have been as appealing as they were without the ever-annoyed Allison Pill, the talented Mary Elizabeth Winstead, or the awkward Michael Cera. Performances from Kieran Culkin and Jason Schwartzman stood out as some of the best in the show, that's for sure.

Ultimately, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is not a bad series. It’s fun, it’s stylish, and it makes attempts to amend the issues many of us had with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. But a combination of poor voice acting, misaligned mouth movements, and one too many uncomfortable feelings from the past have resulted in me putting the show down. A lot of my sudden disinterest is personal, yes, and I still recommend the show to fans of Scott Pilgrim. Just with caveats.

Don’t sit and think about it as much as I did, and try to enjoy it for what it is, rather than focusing on what it once was. You may get better mileage out of it than I did.

Read this next