Edgar Wright’s cinematic career has spanned multiple genres, but how do his movies rank? The director has ranged from Western to sci-fi and zombies, all of them with his very unique touch of visual comedy. Wright’s directorial debut was A Fistful of Fingers in 1995, a low-budget Western spoof about a cowboy looking for the evil man responsible for the dead of his horse. The film was never released on home video, making it very hard to find.
Because of that, it’s not surprising that many people think Shaun of the Dead was Wright’s first movie, as it’s also the one that made the rest of the world turn their attention to his work – and it’s the movie that made the Cornetto Trilogy possible. In total, Edgar Wright has directed six films and is currently working in a psychological thriller called Last Night in Soho. With a diverse filmography, albeit short, viewers often disagree on which Edgar Wright movie is the best and which one is the worst. Truth is, it’s not an easy task, but it has to be done.
Due to its “not commercially available” status, A Fistful of Fingers is not included in this ranking, cutting it to five movies. Let’s take a look at what Edgar Wright has brought so far.
5. The World’s End
The third installment in the Cornetto Trilogy, The World’s End is the sci-fi entry of the group and the weakest of the bunch. The World’s End followed Gary King (Simon Pegg) a forty-year-old alcoholic who still has a teenager mentality and struggles to accept that time has passed and people have changed. Gary returns to his hometown to reunite his group of high school friends and go on an epic pub crawl encompassing 12 pubs. Little do they know, an alien invasion is about to get in the way.
The World’s End mixed sci-fi and Wright’s comedy style with a dose of drama that might take some viewers by surprise. But even though it has one of Pegg’s best performances and the action sequences are impressive, it falls flat against the rest of Wright’s works. It’s not a bad movie (and that pub crawl is truly one to remember) but there had to be one in last place.
4. Shaun Of The Dead
Shaun of the Dead arrived so the rest of the Cornetto Trilogy could happen, and it was a really good start. Wright took zombies and mixed them with comedy without making it a joke, unlike other horror comedies. Shaun of the Dead focused on Shaun (Simon Pegg) and his best friend Ed (Nick Frost), who are caught in a sudden zombie apocalypse and have to find a way to get to the safest place in the city: the Winchester, a.k.a. their favorite pub.
It mocks the zombie sub-genre, yes – but it’s also an addition to it. It has gore, action, and emotion, with some truly memorable comedy moments, mostly thanks to Shaun and Ed’s naiveness. It prepared the ground for the rest of the trilogy (including the whole “there’s a Cornetto in each movie” concept, although that’s a story of its own), and made the Pegg-Frost-Wright team known outside of Europe, opening a lot of doors for them. Shaun of the Dead has reached cult status and has inspired other films around the world – it’s much more than just a horror-comedy.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
The most divisive of all Edgar Wright movies, Scott Pilgrim vs the World brought an interesting mix of live-action, graphic novel, and video games that not just any director could get away with. Based on the comic book series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim vs the World follows 22-year-old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) who meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). What he wasn’t counting on, is that he has to defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes in order to be with her. Oh, and Scott is in a garage band called Sex Bob-Omb, so there are some interesting songs in this one.
Again, Wright’s visual comedy shined through in Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and the video game and graphic novel imagery helped translate the vibe of the source material, as well as its sense of humor – which, luckily, is very similar to Wright’s. It’s fast, it’s funny, and it’s also a great (if not the best) example of Wright’s attention to detail, with hidden clues and nods to the graphic novel on almost every scene. Not to mention, Michael Cera was made for the role.
2. Hot Fuzz
The second entry in the Cornetto Trilogy was all about cop movies – and mocking every single trope found in them. Hot Fuzz is a buddy-cop that follows Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) and Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), two police officers trying to solve a series of murders in the small village of Sanford. Nicholas takes his job very, very seriously – Andy not so much. Of course, things take a turn and things get a bit violent, but with some exciting action sequences. It also has Timothy Dalton, for those James Bond fans out there.
As mentioned above, Hot Fuzz took every trope in cop movies and made fun of them, but also used them to its advantage. The third act could easily be part of any other action movie, although not many of them could add humor so smoothly and effectively as Wright did. And, in addition to making fun of buddy cop clichés, it also takes some good shots at sexist jokes with Olivia Colman’s character, Doris Thatcher.
1. Baby Driver
Although there’s only a four-year gap between The World’s End and Baby Driver, it felt like a really long time, with fans anxiously waiting for his next project. The wait finally came to an end in 2017 with Baby Driver, an action-comedy that followed a young getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort) who accepts one last job so he can finally be free. Baby suffers from tinnitus, so he’s constantly listening to music to make it go away (even if just slightly) – hence why music plays a big role in the story.
The past movies helped establish that what Edgar Wright does best is visual comedy, but Baby Driver was the peak of his visual storytelling style. With his aforementioned attention to detail, is not surprising that Baby Driver’s chase sequences are carefully crafted, and the editing is by far the best of all his movies. Some viewers didn’t like it as much because it didn’t have as many comedy moments as the Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim, but it does have some really good jokes among all the action scenes. However, Baby Driver has one big stain: Kevin Spacey. Outside of that, it earned its place at the top.