If you enjoyed the other installments in Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s “Cornetto Trilogy,” then “The World’s End” will be right up your alley. The film has that same brilliant blend of quirky comedy and high-speed action you loved in “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” and also includes the apocalyptic feel of the former and the theme of a town-wide conspiracy from the latter.
In “The World’s End,” five old friends, Gary, Andy, Peter, Oliver, and Steven, are attempting to finish a pub-crawl they started and failed to do as teenagers. Following Gary King, played by Simon Pegg (“Star Trek Into Darkness”), the leader of their gang who is desperately trying to recapture his glory days, the group reluctantly returns to their hometown to try the pub-crawl again. They must have a drink at a series of twelve pubs, finishing the night off at a pub called The World’s End. But when they return to Newton Haven, the town is not as they left it—it’s been taken over by robots. The action starts as the five friends try to safely make their way to The World’s End.
Just like in “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead,” the film centers on the friendship between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s (“The Adventures of Tintin”) characters, Gary and Andy. This is Pegg and Frost’s fifth project together, and their familiarity with each other shows in the amazing chemistry between their characters. Even though the movie features a group of five friends, the relationship between Andy and Gary is what the viewer truly cares about.
In their films, normally Pegg is the competent leader while Frost is the bumbling sidekick. In “The World’s End,” the roles are switched. Frost’s Andy has a wife, kids and a high-paying job while Pegg’s Gary is a drug addict with no immediate plans for his future. Pegg plays the jerk well, managing to make Andy’s character, who should be completely unlikeable, sympathetic and endearing.
A failing with “The World’s End” is how they handle Rosamund Pike’s (“Wrath of the Titans”) character Sam Chamberlain, the romantic interest for Gary. It feels like she is shoehorned in only to fuel a rivalry between Gary and Paddy Considine’s (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) character Steven Prince. This creates a love triangle that seems out of place in the grand scheme of the story. While her character does see some action, it’s not enough to make up for how artificial her presence feels. If they had given her more to do or just left her out entirely, Pike would not have been wasted in the role like she was.
“The World’s End” is clever, funny, well acted and brilliantly directed. One moment you will be on the edge of your seat and the next you will be laughing hysterically. The exposition at the beginning does take a while to get through, but once the story gets going, it grips you until the end. “The World’s End” is a wonderful end to the summer and to the legendary “Cornetto Trilogy.”