So it’s here the third film in the Cornetto Trilogy (this one is mint by the way). Edgar Wright has a big job on his hand following the massive success of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. So will this film measure up?
The World’s End is about five friends who’ve grown apart since their teenage years. Gary (Simon Pegg) tries to reunite the gang (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan) to complete their mammoth pub crawl from their youth which they failed to finish all twelve stops. Old tensions between the group and Gary start to resurface just as they realise the town from their childhood has something strange going on.
I made a big mistake before watching this film. I watched Hot Fuzz only a few hours earlier. Spurred on by the brilliance of that film I perhaps raised my expectations too high. The World’s End is not a bad film, but it’s not a classic like Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead.
I admire the film for allowing it to be different. There are darker, grown up themes throughout the film as Gary tries to relive his teenage glory days as things have never gotten better since those days. Gary is not a likeable character-and he’s not meant to be either. He’s selfish, manipulative and doesn’t think about what he’s saying. His character is more outlandish than the rest of the gang. It’s good to see Pegg in this type of role and I like the way they have switched around Pegg and Frost’s characters. Frost’s Andrew playing the straight man to Pegg’s obnoxious Gary.
It does seem to take its time getting to the laughs. Whereas Shaun and Hot Fuzz delivers plenty of laughs and quotable lines, The World’s End takes its time setting up the characters and their backstories as the meet up again. Which is fine, but the start is mostly laughter free as you’re waiting for the jokes to begin. This becomes a bit of a drag until the action arrives. When Gary and co realise what they are up against, then the film begins to up the pace and the laughs come more freely.
It’s a talented cast they’ve got together, fans of the previous films will recognise many faces. As the main gang, Pegg and Frost are good as always, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan round out the group perfectly. the five do convince as old friends who haven’t seen each other for a while and are a bit suspicious as to why Gary has arranged this. Considine in particular is strong as Steven, fighting Gary for love interest Sam played by Rosamund Pike. Pike does well in her role and is more of a rounded character then Liz in Shaun of the Dead. She perhaps is more underused towards the end but then this is a film, in essence about the main five friends and their relationship with each other,
There is much to enjoy in this film. The fight scenes are well executed and funny. I enjoyed the darker moments the film occasionally touch upon. And I thought the ending was great, not a cop-out like most films. However if you do see this film, do yourself a favour and not watch the other two Cornetto films hours beforehand. Otherwise you draw comparisons which the film can’t help but come up short. Try and see the film with a fresh mind on its own terms.
Rating 3.5/5-fun and different, but not up to the standard of previous instalments