‘The World’s End’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 9th, 2014 at 6:51 pm,

The Worlds End Cast The Worlds End Review

The World’s End is another worthwhile team-up from Pegg and Wright as well as a welcome addition to their cult-favorite trilogy.

The World’s End, the final installment in Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy” follows a group of childhood friends who return to their hometown, Newton Haven, in order to finish a twelve stop pub crawl, dubbed the Golden Mile, they failed to complete back in 1990. In the intervening time, Oliver (Martin Freeman), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Steven (Paddy Considine) and Andrew (Nick Frost) have all grown up – starting families and/or working in steady (albeit unexciting) professions. However, former group kingpin, Gary (Simon Pegg), has spent the last two decades drinking, philandering, and bouncing from one job to the next – falling very short of the lofty ambitions that he once possessed.

For that reason, Gary becomes obsessed with reaching The World’s End (the final stop on the Golden Mile), deciding to reunite his companions through lies and subterfuge in order for them to relive their glory days. Unfortunately, their pub crawl is cut short when the friends realize that Newton Haven has become ground zero for an extraterrestrial invasion – presenting Gary (and his mates) with a lofty set of goals for the evening: rekindle mangled friendships, save the world, and (of course) finish the Golden Mile.

Worlds End Nick Frost Rosamund Pike Paddy Considine Eddie Marsan Martin Freeman Simon Pegg The Worlds End Review

Frost, Pike, Considine, Marsan, Freeman, and Pegg in ‘The World’s End’

Set as the capstone to prior Wright, Pegg, and Frost collaborations, Shaun of the Dead (set in the zombocalypse) and Hot Fuzz (a buddy cop action throwback), The World’s End hits plenty of the same marks that made its predecessors cult classics. Yet, this time, some of the laughs aren’t quite as fresh and, at times, borrow heavily from gags and action setups that were already utilized in the first two films. A number of reapportioned sequences are knowing nods, but for anyone who isn’t a die-hard fan of the series, certain sequences in The World’s End will be less exciting (or funny) than they were the first time around. Still, even though The World’s End isn’t quite as distinctive as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, it’s still a solid comedy that should have no problem satisfying viewers who enjoyed the other “Cornetto Trilogy” entries as well as casual moviegoers looking for competent mix of drama and laughs.

The core storyline succeeds in digging slightly deeper than earlier efforts from Pegg and Wright. While the Gary character can sometimes fall into standard instigator/drunkard cliches, his underlying story provides an added layer of depth and heart to the otherwise zany end of the world shenanigans. Pegg and Wright have taken a similar approach before with protagonists Shaun and Nicholas Angel, but the flashbacks and direct connections to Gary’s past offer especially worthwhile callbacks and payoff to the current Golden Mile journey – making this Cornetto installment the best character story of the bunch. Although, a number of predictable plot twists and (as mentioned earlier) familiar action/comedy setups make the overall experience of The World’s End a little uneven – as viewers will be slightly more connected to the characters this round but less enchanted by the humorous bits and fight scenes.

Nick Frost Simon Pegg Paddy Considine Worlds End The Worlds End Review

Andrew (Nick Frost), Gary (Simon Pegg), and Steven (Paddy Considine)

Even if the jokes aren’t quite as fresh this round, the cast of friends, or as Gary refers to them “The Five Musketeers,” present a lot of enjoyable (and improv) interplay. In spite of the fundamental alien invasion plot, banter between the five leads is the strongest selling point of The World’s End. Pegg differentiates Gary from Shaun and Angel, while also positioning the character in a way that allows partner-on-film Nick Frost to do something new in the role of Andrew. The pair have played “best friends” in the two previous films but the relationship between Gary and Andrew mines plenty of fresh drama and gags – offering a fun juxtaposition for the acting pair.

Supporting players Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, and Paddy Considine – not to mention Rosamund Pike also deliver in their parts: Oliver, Peter, Steven, and Sam (Oliver’s sister), respectively. Few of the supporting roles evolve into anything more than one-note foils for Gary and Andrew, but no one is shortchanged either, as each performer and their character get several standout moments in the spotlight. It’s apparent that Pegg and Wright wrote The World’s End with their ensemble in mind – instead of keeping the focus entirely on Gary (and his writer, producer, star) – resulting in a smart mix of reactions to the world-ending crisis at hand.

The Worlds End Robot Aliens The Worlds End Review

An alien in ‘The World’s End’

For all the mystery surrounding the alien invasion plot line (which is mostly spoiled in the trailers), the extraterrestrial threat isn’t particularly engaging or fully-realized. It’s an adequate backdrop, allowing Gary and his friends to explore their past and reevaluate their kinship, but viewers hoping for explosive CGI spectacle or thought-provoking sci-fi ideas will likely be underwhelmed by the explanation (and onscreen encounters) pertaining to Newton Haven’s alien infestation. Most of the action and sci-fi set pieces in The World’s End take place in small confined areas with budgeted visuals – which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the other Cornetto films – but will, ultimately, limit the film’s appeal to non-returning fans.

The World’s End is another worthwhile team-up from Pegg and Wright as well as a welcome addition to their cult-favorite trilogy. That said, while the movie is a solid dramedy offering, it can be a bit robotic at times – not as funny or fresh as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz. In place of over-the-top gags, the writers have pumped in a bit more depth – delivering a well-rounded film experience that could slightly disappoint some longtime Cornetto enthusiasts hoping for a bigger and zanier capstone to the series – while surprising other viewers with one of the pair’s better character stories. If The World’s End is, in fact, the end of their ice-cream inspired trilogy, Pegg and Wright have reason to be proud of the final installment – even if the assembled parts result in some contentious choices that could turn a few passionate fans into less enthusiastic Cornetto automatons.

If you’re still on the fence about The World’s End, check out the trailer below:

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The World’s End runs 109 minutes and is Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references. Now playing in theaters.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below. If you’ve seen the movie and want to discuss details about the film without worrying about spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, please head over to our World’s End Spoilers Discussion. Want to know how the movie ties-in to the Cornetto trilogy? Read our post: The World’s End: Cornetto Trilogy Tie-Ins, References, & Cameos.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant editors check out The World’s End episode of the SR Underground podcast.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. Checking out a matinee in a few hours. HUGE fan of Edgar Wright.


    (couldn’t resist 😉 )

  2. Just caught up on the rewatch of the other 2…I’m ready ready for the final installment!

    • be prepared to be disappointed, sorry to say….

      • Is it as disappointing as Man of Steel was?

        • @Ronnie

          Yes, it is. Weakest of the trilogy.

          • Whatever. There are no weak points in the trilogy. This movie was a blast.

          • I felt this was the best of the trilogy. I do enjoy Kofi’s reviews, but I have to comment on him saying he was sort of bummed out about no spectacly of big cgi moments…I don’t want a lot of fake looking crap. This entire film felt real and fresh and honestly besides the fact that I was dissapointed all the friends sort of split up in the end, I loved every bit of this, fan of the Cornetto Trilogy or not.

            • Woops, meant Ben.

  3. Ben Kendrick is movie snob where a movie has to Shawshank in order to get 4+ stars. I take his reviews with a quarry of salt.

    • no one forces you to agree with him. and I have a feeling you don’t read his reviews, just check out the ratings. pft.

    • ‘World’s End’ would be a 3 star movie for me. I am more snobbish than Ben. Ben is like the closest thing we have to a “People’s Champion.”


      • +1

      • Same here Kofi.

        I gave it a 3 stars out of 5 last month and recommended friends and family members to not bother seeing it unless they really wanted to throw money away. Had its moments but wasn’t as funny or clever as the first two.

        Plus I get to be more of a snob than you because it isn’t my job to watch and review movies so I can refuse to watch something based on an actor I dislike being in it. That’s why I feel sorry for you guys sometimes.

        Least it’s not a “proper” job though so positives outweighing the negatives.

    • “Ben Kendrick is movie snob” does not compute. Not possible.
      Ben is the best at being dispassionate and telling it like it is.

    • @ Mike

      For what it’s worth, I really enjoyed the movie too, and would easily give it 4 stars.

      Suffice to say, that’s just .5 away from Ben.

  4. Good One Dr. Mindbender! LoL!
    I love what the geniuses of Wright, Pegg, and Frost have done with all three movies, and I will be seeing this movie hopefully tonight or tomorrow. I can’t wait to see Edgar Wright’s next movie AntMan!

  5. 3.5 is good for ScreenRant.

    Simon Pegg for Alfred!

    • Alfred who?

      • Pennyworth

    • this is one of the worst movies i have seen in a LONG time. Where are the jokes? All the cgi? Whaaa?

      • That’s the thing, it’s more of a nostalgia trip to adults who were around and remember the early 90s and what it was like to have hopes and dreams and try to follow through with them despite the world not being as great as you thought it was.

        It had potential but I imagine Wright and Pegg were too busy with more important career options to bother making this one funny.

        • It’s funny. The humor is lightning fast and smart like all other Wright films. You just gotta keep up.

  6. Wife & I saw Shaun while dating. Watched Hot fuzz as newlyweds. Now, several years in and a few kids under our belt, it’s time to finish what we started…

    …then get divorced, I guess?

    • This might be my favorite comment on the internet…for multiple reasons

  7. A Ben Kendrick 3½ ★’s is a worthwhile view.

    I’ll be checking this out.
    Great review, Ben, as always.

  8. It’s an okay film, definitely the weakest of the 3 IMO. I’d wait for it to come out on DVD instead of going to the cinema to see it.

  9. Movie was awesome, good finale.

  10. I’m looking forward to this, even with the way people are reacting negatively to it. I wasn’t a huge fan of Hot Fuzz when I first saw it, but after seeing it some more, it’s a very clever film, as enjoyable as SotD.

    • So are you half Matt, half bear, and half pig?

      Or are you part bear and part Mattpig?

      You could be Bearpig and part Matt…

  11. there was no improv in the movie actually . . .

  12. I loved this movie so much, probably my favorite of the year so far if not bested by mud. I love the way edgar wright and pegg
    Wrote each character making them all shine. I plan on seeing this is again soon, cause a sold out theater of people laughing made me miss some jokes.

  13. Huge fan of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and basically Edgar Wright in general.

    But I’m afraid I have to say it guys, this movie was very very disappointing. Especially since it was the third and final instalment in the trilogy.

  14. I loved the World’s End, and I just watched all 3 of them back-to-back and despite the fact that they were more dummies than robots, I thought it was the most original and interesting of all of them. Hot Fuzz is my favorite, but this one almost beat it. Me and my friends jumped through hula-hoops to see this movie, and it was sooo worth it. Favorite movie of the year so far. Long live Cornetto!

  15. My fav of the three!! the jokes were great! the cast was great!! and the message in this one was terrific!! Life sucks but you just have to make the best of it and have some fun! LOVED IT.

    • I completely agree- it was fantastic. Everyone is comparing it to the other films which to me is rather ridiculous and unfair. Yes it’s a “trilogy” of sorts but not really and as a stand alone film I thought it was heartfelt and hilarious.

      And as a fan of all films I definitely think switching the Frost/Pegg dynamic was an amazing choice.

  16. Just saw it. I totally agree with this review. I really enjoyed it( my gfriend not so much) but the jokes were pretty sparse and the funniest parts were rehash in-jokes from Shaun and hot fuzz. And the alien robot stuff wasn’t as engaging as I hoped. But it was still quite fun and ill def give it a few rewatches on DVD to pick up on little bits I didn’t catch, much like I did with hot fuzz.

  17. Best movie of 2013 so far. Was like watching a “Spaced” reunion with so many guest cameos.

    • How can Pegg and Frost steal the movie? It’s THEIR movie. Poor Paddy Considine. Only one, so far, that hasn’t stolen the movie. Anyone for Paddy?

  18. this is the best comedy of the year by far. could possibly be one of the best action movies. the bathroom scene in the crossed hands is a great scene the way the fighting was directed made it feel as if these drunks can hold their own in a fight

  19. So I really like the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy because while the movies are comedies they also have a touch of drama and a real story that you can relate to and not just write this movie off as being a mindless comedy. The movie is pretty funny in a ridiculous sort of way. You could understand zombie from Shaun of the Dead, and murderers in Hot Fuzz, but this movie introduces aliens, something that isn’t big right now and makes you wonder why they chose that. I could understand if it was like the Stepford Wives but it was more people being replaced by aliens (and no this isn’t a spoiler if you’ve seen the trailers). However, I’ve come to expect the ridiculous from this “trilogy” and it didn’t bother me. The movie has the main cast on a quest to complete the Golden mile (a pub crawl of 12 pubs) and during this journey the group reminiscent, fight off aliens, and really come to understand each other’s growth from teenagers to adults. There was also a lot of random intellectual facts which because it was so random it was a bit funny.

    In terms of cast there are many returning cast mates. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Julia Deakin, Edgar Wright, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Rafe Spall are in all three movies. In terms of the main cast seeing a goth Simon Pegg (plays Gary King) was really hard to get used to but he had the most depth as a character. He was dealing with his alcoholism and moving on from his teenage glory days. The rest of the crew was Nick Frost as Gary King’s best friend, Andy who has become estranged and a bit hostile towards Gary King. Paddy Considine as Steven Prince, Marin Freeman as Oliver Chamberlain (nickname O-Man aka omen for his creepy birthmark), and Eddie Marsan as Peter Page. I only just realized their last names are positions in a medieval court and are very appropriate towards their characters (Steven Prince is second to Gary King in terms of the ladies). Each of the guys were funny in their own way and brought their own humor to the group.

    I rate this film 7 out of 10.

  20. It wasn’t as good as the other two films, but I didn’t hate it. It was rather fun, and though Kofi didn’t like the fight scenes, I found them the most amusing of all. Watching Andy go ballistic was cathartic for both viewer and character in my opinion. It also had that nice “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” feel/paranoia to it, which I liked. It was mostly about the characters, which was the real pay-off. I sympathized with the character of Gary who was still living in the past. I thought was a great angle.

  21. I rate my favorites of this trilogy in the same order in which they came out, Shaun of the Dead will remain number one with me. The 3rd had pacing issues that had lulls followed by frantic energy followed by lulls, and just didn’t pay off for my time. When I was watching it, I was often looking at my watch . . . maybe I would have enjoyed it more if the ending was the beginning with flashbacks.

  22. I thought it was f****** wank and ruined the trilogy.