Scott experiences an awakening when he meets Ramona. She is quite literally the girl of his dreams. However, Ramona is herself shrouded in mystery and haunted by her own past. As a relationship develops between Ramona and Scott, he is tasked to fight Ramona’s Seven Evil Exes. This is not unlike any new relationship. Our battles may be more figurative; however, the struggle to navigate and negotiate our partner’s baggage is a part of establishing a new relationship. An unspoken understanding evolves that we must take our partners as they are when they enter the relationship. We must understand how past relationships have shaped them as individuals, molded their expectations, and colored their approach to this thing we call “love.”
Throughout the film, Scott fights through Ramona’s past to “win” her heart. At times, Ramona seeks to run away and appears to struggle facing her past and what her future with Scott may hold. She even states to Scott that “[she] came here to get away, but the past keeps catching up.” Scott’s persistence is difficult for her to conceptualize. She has become “used to” handling her evil exes and is unsure how to be open to something new, something good. She feels especially powerless over her final Evil Ex, Gideon, who implanted a chip on the back of her neck which makes her unable to resist him. This speaks to the struggle individuals sometimes have leaving a relationship even when they know it is bad for them. We maintain old patterns of interaction because they become comfortable and we know what to expect. It takes courage to step outside of our fears and fight for our right for something better.
The League of Evil Exes is portrayed as a creation of Gideon’s; however, it can speak to the barriers any new couple must pass through as they enter into a relationship. We are all haunted in some ways by our own “evil exes” and the challenge to someone who seeks to love us it to understand and respect our individual journey.
Scott continues to fight, collect rewards, and begins combat with, Gideon, wielding a sword with the power of love. But despite his love for Ramon, Scott falls at the hands of Gideon. Scott reappears to the viewers in a limbo like state as he reflects upon what has happened to him. He is puzzled by why his love for Ramona was not enough to defeat Gideon and ultimately, he realizes that he must “get a life.” At this time, a “Pilgrim head” representing an extra life appears which allows Scott one more opportunity to fight this final battle.
Upon his resurrection, Scott is asked by Gideon, “You want to fight me for her?” Scott replies, “No…I want to fight you for me” and is suddenly overcome with a new power: self-respect. We cannot expect someone to love us if we cannot love ourselves. How can we ask another to commit themselves to us if we are not truly committed to ourselves? How can we ask for something we do not think we deserve? Scott believes that he simply must “defeat” the seven evil exes to win Ramona’s heart. But in truth, he must face himself.
With this new found self-respect, Scott is able to defeat Gideon but this is then is faced with his most feared enemy: Nega Scott. Nega Scott is a physical manifestation of every flaw, every secret, and every part of Scott which he does not like and seeks to hide. Earlier in the film, Scott and Knives had been playing Ninja Ninja Revolution in an arcade. When he is tasked to fight the Nega Ninja in the game, he shares that he can never defeat him and does not even try anymore. Gideon’s final words are a challenge to Scott: “You can defeat me…but can you defeat…yourself?” Knives and Ramona offer to help Scott to defeat Nega Scott; however, Scott realizes he must fight this battle alone. The “fight” ends in a somewhat anticlimactic fashion as Scott and Nega Scott walk outside, chatting together about plans to hang out sometime soon.
Scott’s experience of having to face his most feared parts of himself is a testament to the need to come to terms and accept ourselves. We must be comfortable with who we are if we are to be in a meaningful relationship with another. Scott did not need to defeat Nega Scott. He did not need to defeat the weaknesses he saw in himself. He needed to accept them and agree that they could all “hang out” sometime. We must believe in who we are because as Ramona and Scott find out there is no escaping the past. There is only moving forward.
Scott struggled throughout the film with messages from himself and others that Ramona was “too good” for him. Scott’s beliefs about himself were the most difficult enemy which he had to face. Scott and Ramona were able to reach a new level when they were able to be honest and see each other (and themselves) as they truly were. Scott was able to go after Ramona as she walked away. He took her hand and they entered into a doorway, their own true beginning. Scott and Ramona had both been scarred by their past and feared they were doomed to repeat it. But when they were able to commit to their own happiness and their own chance at a positive future, they found it in front of them; they found it with one another.
We may not have to head butt our enemies to death and we may not collect loot after our daily battles. We do, though, face our own defeats and victories as we seek self-actualization. Happiness comes from our acceptance of who we are and our commitment to living the life we deserve. We will always have a past. We cannot reset the console of our lives. However, we can use our actual experience to learn about ourselves and as counter ticks down “10…9…8…” we can chose to click “Continue.”