When Netflix revealed the first trailer for Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, the streaming platform made sure to boast the wildly impressive feat of bringing back the entire cast from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. However, at first glance, the anime series seemed to be a faithful retelling of the classic comic book that the film already adapted. Not so fast.
Without giving away any spoilers, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off takes a surprising turn, and the critics are absolutely here for it. The series has been racking up rave reviews for delivering an updated spin on the comic (and the film) thanks to a bold creative choice.
You can see what the reviews are saying below:
Alison Herman, Variety:
At first, “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” seems like a straightforward adaptation, just rendered in the visual style of O’Malley’s original artwork instead of Wright’s kinetic live action. (Wright remains involved as an executive producer.) The film’s entire cast, from Cera to Chris Evans to Aubrey Plaza, even reprises their roles as voice performers. But at the end of its pilot, “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” swerves in an unexpected direction — one that both distinguishes the show from previous iterations of the “Scott Pilgrim” concept and comments on them from our current cultural vantage point.
Kenneth Shepard, Kotaku:
If you’re just looking for a quick thumbs up or thumbs down, then yes, you should watch Scott Pilgrim Takes Off if you are a fan of the original story and have also seen the film. Hell, throw the very good video game in there, too. The anime is in conversation with the source material.
Nicholas Quah, Vulture:
This new anime series, though, operates on a whole new wavelength. It finds O’Malley returning to Scott Pilgrim after more than a decade, this time in collaboration with the writer-director BenDavid Grabinski (Happily) and the critically acclaimed Japanese animation studio Science SARU (Devilman: Crybaby, Inu-Oh, Star Wars: Visions). It also, miraculously, features the return of the movie’s entire cast, but it’s worth noting here that Scott Pilgrim Takes Off isn’t the redux it first seems to be. This adaptation hinges on a major twist that’s worth being fastidious about, so if you’re interested in going into the series cold, just take this with you: It’s very good.
Rendy Jones, RogerEbert.com:
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” is a phenomenal stand-alone addition to the franchise as excellent as the many incarnations before it. Amid remakes and reboots, this rare level-up cleverly reexamines its entire story with a profound twist without sacrificing any pieces of its identity. It sees its audience as the adults they are and threads nuance to its eternal lost twenty-somethings case study substantial enough to bridge newcomers and its veteran fanbase. With its most stylistic form yet, “Scott Pilgrim” accomplishes the most human rendering of this story yet to the extent that I teared up by its final needle drop.
Graeme Virtue, The Guardian:
You might expect Scott Pilgrim Takes Off to require knowledge of the movie, or the original graphic novels. But O’Malley and his collaborators have taken care to create something that does not overwrite the originals but cleverly coexists with them. First-time viewers will encounter ingenious breadcrumbs directing them back to Wright’s film, the two screen adaptations orbiting around each other. All you really need going in is a residual memory of what it was like to have a crush in your teens or 20s. Some of the sound effects may be lifted from retro video games but the emotions are operatic, evoking that time of life when falling in love is at its most precarious and intense. It’s quite the rush.
Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter:
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is a reminder of the off-the-charts casting job done on the movie and transplanted vocally. I still love Cera’s callow youthfulness, Winstead’s smoky cool-girl maturity, Culkin’s pre-Roman snark, Pill’s cutting sarcasm, Chris Evans‘ gruff movie-star machismo, Brandon Routh’s himbo vegan bluster and, especially, Wong’s untethered youthful enthusiasm. Oh, and there are guest stars. But they’re a SECRET.
Christian Holub, Entertainment Weekly:
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is therefore the best kind of franchise extension. Though it requires some familiarity with the original stories, fans who love Scott Pilgrim vs. the World have watched it over and over again and should be delighted to spend more time with characters like Matthew Patel (Satya Babha), who only got a few minutes of screen time in the original film. And while a two-hour movie feels like way too much time to spend with Kraven the Hunter or Madame Web in the absence of Spider-Man, a 30-minute episode is just the right amount to hang out with Evans’ skateboarding movie star Lucas Lee.
William Hughes, The A.V. Club:
It’s simply the fact that O’Malley is still capable of crafting a deeply romantic story about those giddy moments when you suspect something really good might be just about to happen. This version of that story might be more skeptical about the enduring power of twentysomething lovers than it was when its co-author was one himself—but it’s also become kinder and more mature in the process, no longer willing to dismiss anyone as “just” an Evil Ex. (Even if they are your ex, and they are, objectively, evil.)
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is available for streaming on Netflix.