The World’s End (Edgar Wright, 2013)

It’s no surprise that films tend to pale in comparison to their immediate or spiritual predecessors. Whether a creative team forges its own cinematic legacy or unnecessarily perpetuates a preexisting series or an undying trend, you’ll undoubtedly overhear something in the vein of “That was pretty good, but not as good as…” In the case of the Edgar Wright-piloted but collaboratively written “Cornetto Trilogy,” we have an absolute case of the former, wherein inventive and intelligent reworkings of recognizable genre cliches transformed the familiar into a wholly enjoyable three-film streak spanning nine years.

Initially honing in on infamous derelict Gary King (Simon Pegg) – nearing his forties and paralyzed by the throngs of adolescence – as he rounds up his childhood buddies for a legendary, previously failed pub crawl, the entire lot soon if regretfully finds themselves back on the streets of their once native Newton Haven. Symbolizing a bit more to the one-track-minded boozehound at its helm, discomfort and distaste steam to a boil as past demons reemerge, however something queer’s going on among the local population – something that poses a threat more dire than failing to complete the “Golden Mile” a second time, if only to those with common sense.

Even considering their unifying creative quirks, each installment of the Cornetto Trilogy has always taken the time to establish a sense of individuality among its characters and setting regardless of recurring leads or themes. From film to film, Pegg and Wright have consistently delivered unparalleled, intendedly homage-esque if gleefully standalone efforts that have become staples within the realm of comedy-centric genre melding. In The World’s End‘s case specifically, it too combines whip-smart dialogue and humor with darker undertones and requisite action-oriented bits in an agreeably wonderful fashion.

Wright’s flourishes lend themselves admirably to the proceedings as always, the film’s breakneck pacing and presentation halting only briefly for bits of deliberation among surviving lads. Although few could be so stupid as to hang around for as long as the key players do, such a noticeable narrative hiccup serves to add fuel to The World’s End recognizable departure from its giddier antics – one in the form of a brewing catharsis on Gary and Andy’s (Nick Frost) behalf that we expect from the get-go. In short, the script as a whole is nothing but a seriocomic melting pot of human emotion and a nuanced Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the latter of which serves to produce some seriously enjoyable fight choreography that gives your standard big-budgeted yarn a run for its money.

From a meticulous attention to detail to the wide-reaching if consistently enjoyably absurdity of its first two-thirds, the Cornetto Trilogy’s third and final installment serves as a solid testament to apt singular filmmaking. For what it’s assuredly worth, Frost, Pegg and Wright have successfully produced a trio of films that deserve to be revered for as long as they have and will be. While not as strong in comparison to its two predecessors, and forgive me for belying my introductory mission statement, The World‘s End very competently and even endlessly engages thanks to all of the proverbial puzzle pieces being present and fitting perfectly into place. Superbly acted and rarely missing a beat, this film’s somewhat weak sci-fi trappings don’t quite match the daunting immensity of Shaun‘s zombies or the conspiratorial hilarity of Hot Fuzz, yet the discrepancy is negligible as it should be and I for one love just about everything The World’s End does as a figurative endcap.

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