The World’s End – spoiler-free review

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright return after six years apart to complete the final part of ‘The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy’ – with mediocre results.

After the rip-roaring success of the first two films, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, it only made sense to finish the trilogy in the most British way possible.

Five friends. 12 pubs. 60 pints. In the sleepy town of Newton Haven, fictional home of the UK’s first roundabout, this is the ‘Golden Mile’.

The five childhood friends in question, played by Pegg, Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan, have not seen each other in nearly 20 years, and Gary King (Pegg) decides this is far too long.

In 1990, they attempted the ‘Golden Mile’ to celebrate their last day of High School. They failed. In 2013, they attempt it again.

The problem for the immature King is that everyone has grown up. Andy (Frost) is a corporate lawyer, Oliver, or O-Man, (Freeman) is an estate agent, Peter (Marsan) is a car salesman and Steven (Considine) is a construction manager. We aren’t told what King does, but we’re lead to believe it’s not a lot.

This leads to an almost painful first act, which involves Gary ‘getting the old gang back together’ by any means necessary. The phrase ‘less is more’ would have gone down well during the writing process, especially during the first encounter with Peter.

The film gets considerably better after the cringey start, mostly because we meet Oliver’s sister, Sam (Rosamund Pike), and Basil, played wonderfully by David Bradley. Basil is probably the best character, closely followed by Steve, who was quite underused.

It almost feels like we’re drinking along with the film, as Gary gets a lot more tolerable as it goes on. In fact, you’ll find yourself agreeing with him in the final act.

Gary’s main trait is persistence, which is good when it’s done subtly, but it begins to get old quickly as they insist on thrusting it in your face most of the time. After a while, his jokes become predictable and the serious lack of chemistry with Andy, though justified, is boring.

The chemistry between Pegg and Frost as actors obviously exists, as it has done since Spaced graced our screens in 1999, but it takes Andy to cut loose before we really get the comedy flowing.

The story itself is good, and the ending somewhat bizarre but it works. Also near the end we see the inevitable Cornetto joke, but blink and you’ll miss it.

Overall, it’s the full circle of the story that makes it good, and it’s a good enough way to (probably) end the trilogy. I just can’t help but think if Pegg’s character had been dialled down a touch, this could have been a better film.

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