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The World’s End (2013): A Different Kind of Edgar Wright Film

The World's End movie poster

If you know Edgar Wright’s filmography, then you are aware of his 3 Flavours Cornetto Trilogy. The first two films, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz pay hilarious homage to zombie apocalypse films and buddy cop comedies respectively. They also give heartfelt messages of growing up, friendship and love. The third film, The World’s End, is no different from the first two. Although, I must say that Edgar Wright took a more mature approach compared to the other two in the trilogy.

Gary King (played by Simon Pegg) is a party animal narcissist that peaked in high school. He returns to his hometown with his old friends Andy (played by Nick Frost), Oliver (played by Martin Freeman), Steven (played by Paddy Considine), and Peter (played by Eddie Marsan) to try what they did in high school known as The Golden Mile: 12 pubs, 12 pints, 1 night. As the night progresses and each member gets increasingly drunk, odd happenings pop up around town and it is becoming clear that everything is not as it seems. Now Gary and the rest of his reluctant friends must survive the night and their pub crawl all the way to The World’s End.

Simon Pegg as Gary King in The World's End

When it comes to Edgar Wright, you know you are going to get a sharp and witty script. The dialogue is constantly hilarious and the gags even more so; such as the case with the fence hopping gag in both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. But similar to those two films, The World’s End is riddled with foreshadowing and small details that add layers to the story, such as the name of each bar as it gives details as to what will happen at the next location on their epic pub crawl. Not to mention the themes that surround the toxic nature of nostalgia and refusal to grow up as we see the toll it takes on Gary King as a character.

Speaking of Gary King, Simon Pegg gives a much different performance that we are used to. Pegg brings his normal comedic chops to the table as King, his performance is much more nuanced and mature compared to other roles. He brings a selfishness that isn’t seen in his other performances as well as a lot of emotional baggage. It makes us feel sympathetic to Gary but still somehow hate him for his completely selfish decisions to try and recreate the past. Nick Frost’s performance is definitely more mature as well, bringing a paternal nature as he tries to be the only sober one of the night, but as the night progresses he does get drunk. Instead of retreating into his old self, he has the exact opposite reaction as Gary King, maturing and trying to learn from his mistakes rather than repeat them.

The World's End drinking

Similar to all of his other action comedy efforts Wright’s fast-paced editing style is front and center without being incoherent. It manages to follow the action of each scene perfectly while still managing to get a chuckle or two in. And I have to say, this is some of the most inventive fight choreography I have ever seen. Several of the fights felt like a WWE match as the characters perform some great wrestling feats as well as some brutality that never feels excessive. You will laugh and cheer in the same moment as Nick Frost breaks a Blank’s back or when he uses two stools as boxing gloves.

I will admit this, The World’s End is not on the top of my list of favorite Edgar Wright movies, that belongs to Baby Driver and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Wright tries something different with the final film in the Cornetto’s Trilogy and tackles more mature themes than his previous two. Pegg and Frost really show their maturity as actors with their performances as former best friends, while keeping the same chemistry they have in every other film they appear in, and keeping us chuckling throughout the runtime. With well-choreographed fight sequences as well as a fast-paced, tightly written script and you have a classic Edgar Wright film that will never get old.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in The World's End

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