The World’s End review

Flicks And The City’s Amon Warmann reviews the final part of the Cornetto trilogy, The World’s End, out in UK cinemas on 19 July…

After giving us what is now the definitive zom-com Shaun of the Dead and following it up with the equally enjoyable Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy concludes with the eagerly awaited The World’s End. Whilst good fun in its own right, the final instalment doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of its predecessors.

The action kicks off in 1990 in the town of Newton Haven with five young men attempting an epic pub crawl but ultimately failing to reach their final destination, The World’s End. Fast forward 20 years and Gary King (Simon Pegg) – a 30-something man-child reminiscing about his youth – coaxes his former cohorts into returning to their hometown in an effort to reach the milestone. Upon returning to Newton Haven, they soon realise that things have changed since their schooldays…

It’s a simple premise filled with unexpected twists, cameos, and most importantly, a barrelful of laughs. The first 45 minutes in particular are riotous as Pegg’s ‘once-and-future-King’ goes about assembling his friends. As we watch the group become steadily more drunk, the entire cast displays some fantastic comedic timing and the laughs keep coming. Good thing too, as the reasons for the unit continuing the pub crawl seem increasingly silly as events unfold.

Whilst Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz embraced the zombie and action genres respectively, Wright’s trilogy-closer takes the sci-fi route. This leads to a succession of barroom brawls that, whilst well-choreographed and a funny gag in themselves – Nick Frost’s martial arts expertise produces some laugh-out-loud moments – are at times a little too frenetic.

Normally Nick Frost takes on the oddball role, but here he plays the straight man to good effect. Pegg gives what is perhaps the best performance of his career as the group’s obnoxious leader King, and his energy carries the film throughout. At its core his character is detestable, but Pegg’s inherent likeability shines through. And it’s in the relationship between Pegg and Frost’s characters that the film finds its heart. Additionally, in Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, and Paddy Considine, The World’s End has a fantastic ensemble who all get their moments to shine.

Even with its faults – inevitably some jokes don’t land and Rosamund Pike’s Sam is underserved – The World’s End manages to be lively and entertaining until the final act. The ending is ambitious but ultimately underwhelming, bereft of energy to the point that it feels dragged out when it should be the opposite. Still, when all is said and done (and drunk), The World’s End is a fun and fitting trilogy capper.

Any Last Words? The World’s End isn’t quite the toast of the trilogy, but fans of the series will still enjoy drinking this one up.

Rating: 3.5 / 5