The World’s End, the final installment in the wildly popular Three Flavors Trilogy also known as The Cornetto Trilogy also known as the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy, has been a long time in the making. Succeeding Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007), The World’s End marks the completion of Edgar Wright’s triptych. Happily, Wright, along with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, know precisely how to deliver consistently funny and hugely entertaining films and I’m pleased to say that this final entry is my personal favorite of the series.
Directed, as always, by Edgar Wright and written by both Wright and Pegg, The World’s End begins as a reluctantly undertaken pub crawl through the protagonists’ hometown, and ends as a kooky sci-fi adventure that I certainly would’t have seen coming if it hadn’t been given away in the damn trailer. Nevertheless, the writing provides us with some of the most clever and wittiest dialogue that we’ve seen in a long time, and, quite surprisingly in fact, The World’s End incorporates some well shot, well choreographed action sequences that add a really interesting kind of flow and tempo to the numerous brawls that actually make up a large percentage of the film’s runtime.
Starring Pegg, Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, and Paddy Considine, the film is a tag team of outstanding British talent that American audiences sometimes miss out on. Needless to say, Wright does a wonderful job of crafting interesting and funny characters and acting is spot-on all around. Notable, perhaps, is the fact that Pegg undergoes a bit of a transformation here compared to his go-to, everyman character that he’s played in the previous two Cornetto films. Pegg portrays Gary King, an alcoholic adolescent stuck in a middle aged man’s body attempting to tenaciously re-capture the faded splendor of his high school days. Not only does Pegg absolutely own the role from start to finish, but he also manages to take the character to a really dark and even moving place without sacrificing the fun, lighthearted tone.
The only real issue that I have with the film is that the ending gets a bit ludicrous, and even that’s not doing it justice. Granted, it wasn’t as jarringly nonsensical as the non sequitur that was This is the End’s finale, but it seems the consequences of the story’s resolution are a vast departure from the happy-go-lucky tone of the rest of the movie.
Chances are that you already know if you’re going to like The World’s End before you see it, as it’s one of those movies that does what it says on the box, so to speak, and does it very well. Apart from being an interesting if lighthearted commentary on the increasing “starbuckization” of British suburban life, the film is hands-down one of the funniest and most creative properties to be released in recent memory.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5