Edgar Wright crashed on to the scene with his 2004 zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead. In 2007 he delivered his love letter to those 80's action buddy cop movies with Hot Fuzz. Now, nearly six years later he returns to close out his trilogy of films with a bang. Is his apocalyptic final chapter in the Cornetto trilogy, The World's End, the final flavor we were hoping for?
When a group of estranged friends get back together years later to finish their legendary Pub crawl down the Golden Mile in their hometown of Newton haven, they learn that the more things change, the more they stay the same as the local townsfolk's odd behavior and curiosity towards their sudden return home sparks a night of drinking, running for their lives and even more drinking as they try to make it to the end of the line and reach the fabled pub, The World's End.
Bringing a close to his "Cornetto Trilogy" of films, which includes Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and now The World's End, director Edgar Wright, along with his friend/star/co-writer Simon Pegg, has concluded a series of films with an unprecedented level of quality and craftmanship. This group of actors/filmmakers have proven without a doubt that they are a jack of all genres and masters of them all.
While Shaun of the Dead dealt with zombie horror (the strawberry flavored cornetto) and Hot Fuzz dealth with buddy cop action movies (the blue flavored cornetto), The World's End has its sights set on the Science Fiction genre (the green flavored cornetto) and just like his previous film, Wright clearly displays an insane amount of talent when it comes to not only knowning and understanding geek culture, but knowing how to integrate those elements into a film structure that will tickle your funny bone just as often as it pulls at your heartstrings.
The main component that has been at the forefront of each of his previous works is still the central focus this time around, the characters. The story of five friends reuniting to complete a teenage endeavor that met with some unfortunate obstacles is a tried and true formula for bringing together a collection of damaged or broken souls and allow them to re-discover themselves through a single night of letting loose and rekindling old friendships, but those characters only work if you have the right people in the roles.
Using a number of familiar faces from his previous films, along with some new ones, Wright has assembled quite an impressive cast for his final chapter. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the comedy duo of our generation, hands down. The chemistry the two actors have with one another is not something that can be manufactured or faked, it manifests from their own off screen friendship. It's true and it's honest, which is why audiences have embraced them so lovingly. Their characters in The World's End may be different than any they have played before (with Pegg taking point as the troubled friend this time out and Frost taking the more grounded friend), but their connection is still just as strong.
The fact that these two actors are able to work together so many times (4 films now counting the Sci-Fi comedy Paul) and always manage to keep it fresh each time out the gate is not only a testament to their range as actors, but their willingness to never rest on their laurels, something that many actors fall victim to. But the supporting cast is just as strong (maybe even stronger in some cases). With so many talented actors backing them up, such as Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike, David Bradley and an uncredited appearance by Pierce Brosnan, the film is just bursting with talent.
But in true fashion, Wright isn't satisfied unless he throws in something for his legion of fellow geeks to sink their teeth into. The first time around it was zombies, the next time was action movies and this time, he tackles aliens. Now, your standard buddy comedy and an alien invasion flick don't seem like the obvious fit (although, the success of this summer's other apocalyptic buddy comedy This is the End should lay to rest any doubts), but his usual magic makes it impossible to imagine it any other way.
At this point in the game, there should be little to no doubt in your mind about the the awesomeness you are about to witness whenever you see the combination of Wright, Pegg and Frost on the marquee of any movie...about anything. Their effortless ability to create three dimensional characters with real depth that you actually care about and seamlessly blending them into these fantastical situations comprised of genre elements that feel completely natural is simply unprecedented and is sadly never given the large amount of success they deserve (their films, while critically successful, have yet to catch on with general audiences enough to make them financially successful).
The mixture of spending a night with this group of old friends (both the characters and the actors) running from pub to pub and downing pint after pint as they slowly begin to realize that their hometown isn't really the same hometown they remember, results in one of the most entertaining, funny and endearing films of the year and what conspires to be the perfect conclusion to what has already become one of the greatest and most consistently perfect film trilogies ever made.
As for which out of the three films is the strongest, well this may be dodging a bullet a bit but you shouldn't really be thinking of it that way. Instead, you should be looking at each filmindividually and appreciating each for how well they pay homage to each of their relative genres while also staying true to the sensibilities that Edgar Wright and the gang instill in them. Each film is to be treasured for their own individual accomplishments and praised for their combined perfection, and The World's End is a more than capable final chapter in Wright's amazing trilogy.