The World's End is the thematic and actual world's end (also, a bar) within the film to co-writer/director Edgar Wright and co-writer/actor Simon Pegg's Three Flavours Cornetto/Blood and Ice Cream trilogy (after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). It sends up the science fiction genre masquerading as a forty something buddy reunion comedy. Wright and Pegg prove once again their action comedy chops almost beyond the trademarks of where their careers started.
The film starts and revolves around some great sequences of nostalgia mimicking 16mm film. Pegg and his cohorts Nick Frost (who co-stars in all three films) Martin Freeman, Paddy Constantine, and Eddie Marsan relive their youth on an epic pub crawl in their hometown. The premise is built up with Pegg's Gary King clinging to his goal of twelve pints, one at each bar on this "golden mile". His journey and character progression is quite touching and effecting. Paramount to the trilogy is adult male friendship and men bond together. The way Wright sets up all five characters reuniting them after flashing back to the '90s of Brit youth culture is very impressive.
The World's End is two films. The first is the adult buddy comedy about friendship with Pegg as the obnoxious antagonist who hanging on to his past glories. Wright constructs this half perfectly with so much fun, fast paced editing, and a stellar Brit rock soundtrack. Then it moves into an all out science fiction genre bender (with hints of a post-apocolyptic world) in the vein of how Wright and Pegg turned the zombie/horror and buddy action genres on their heads before. Every line, sequence, and action beat is carefully scripted, choreographed, and executed as Wright shows his tempered director's hand.
I felt as though everyone involved had outgrown their trademark humour and genre mashups. Wright clearly revels and excels in his filmmaking ways. Their writing is thoughtful and mature, full of heart beyond the superficial material. This world is fleshed out and its ambition is perhaps too much for the film's plot. They go beyond just a few zombies or a town full of cult worshippers, Wright and Pegg take on the galactic global invasion plot full of different, mostly unseen villains.
Wright, Pegg, and Frost have constructed a fitting conclusion to their series of action comedy films. To say its the least of the three films is no slight. All parties have almost outgrown this type of humour as they explore this through Pegg's character. Going back to their hometown reveals how much things have changed without them as a starting point for action.
The World's End is popcorn summer fun at its best yet I wanted more of the nostalgic, buddy style comedy about friendship from the first half. I enjoyed the chemistry of the five buddies and how they've outgrown each other as a metaphor for the film series so much. What comes after, all the action and pulse pounding explosions, feels like a diversion from the nostalgic themes that came before. All said, Wright, Pegg, and Frost close out their trilogy of genre films rather fittingly, if not superbly.
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