It was with a heavy heart I walked into my screening of The World’s End. I had heard good things from my colleagues. Yet as it brings a close to the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, I couldn’t help but think of this as a sort of goodbye to the manic man-children that Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost had given us in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Sure, I expect the trio will continue to make films together, but something about the way this movie was talked about—or maybe just the title—suggested this would indeed be an end of sorts, a farewell.
Thankfully, even when these guys give you a movie full of monsters and the threat of the end of the world as we know it, Wright, Pegg and Frost also lay on the laughs and thrills along with tons of weirdness. Cornetto movies have a unique ability to make audiences belly laugh, and so it seemed a good time for a GIF review. Below there will be some spoilers, but nothing you wouldn’t know from the trailer.
As the lights went down, I was embarrassingly wistful. Here we are: the beginning of the end.
Fitting my weepiness over time going by too fast, the film begins in a flashback to the 1990s introducing our heroes as impetuous youths who dared take on The Golden Mile, a pub crawl that includes 12 bars, one pint of beer at each. Gary (Pegg) describes that night as the best in his life, and when we cut to him today, wan, wearing sweatpants and surrounded by what appears to be an AA circle, we see quite clearly he’s right.
Gary is obviously a loser. He's an alcoholic manchild, but perhaps worse yet--his ginger beard points out that he still dyes his hair an embarrassing jet black. It reads as next level pitiful, and yet...he could get it.
The solution to getting his life back on track is apparent: reunite his boyhood mates for another go at The Golden Mile! Cue the getting the band back together music!
Despite their initial reluctance, the guys road trip to their old hometown, where Gary is shocked to not be embraced as a returning conqueror. Awww, buddy!
Things are looking up when Gary's old fling Sam (Rosamund Pike) rolls into the bar. Except Gary's longtime rival Steven (Paddy Considine) is getting gooey eyed over her too.
The banter in this one is Wright and Pegg’s sharpest yet! Rat-a-tat-tat—it’s like watching a top speed ping pong match!
This night is shaping up to be a massive disappointment. Maybe Gary can turn it around by bringing some young blood into the mix. Except—what is this kid’s deal!
Time for a good ol' fashioned bathroom brawl!
Half-drunk, Gary and the gang have to decide how best to deal with this creepy conspiracy of possible pod people. Best have a drink and think this out.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the category of Best Guy on Gal (on Gal) Fight Of The Summer: we have a winner!
From here, it’s a barrage of madness full of outlandish fight scenes, sneaky cameos, and guffaw-inducing one-liners.
But sometimes things get real: “We’ll always have the disableds.” How...um...romantic?
Gary’s devotion to finishing out this pub crawl has gone from great bad plan to totally bonkers plan—and yet I want him to make it and have that last pint! Run, Gary! Run!
In The World's End's end, Gary declares that mankind’s belligerence and stubbornness are among our best qualities. It’s Miracle-level inspiring, though also a bit depressing. Still…
And now an epilogue. To avoid spoilers, I will give no details other than to say it’s a brilliant end to this trilogy, being not only funny but also bittersweet.
Ultimately, The World’s End is brazenly hilarious, packed with outrageous action sequences, and offers a compelling tale of the downside of manchildhood. While it had a lot to live up to, it was my favorite of the three, in part because it doesn’t depend on an audience’s familiarity with a genre to succeed. It also feels richer than the other two, something I’m eager to explore with rewatching. As it was, I was so caught up in the quest of this comedy, that I could only glance at in-jokes and cameos as they whizzed by. But in a word: cheers!
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