The World's End ★★★★

I'll admit that I never really understood how Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz could fit into anything considered a "trilogy". They were each wildly different in my mind, though there were some minor similarities. The idea for a "Cornetto"-based trilogy was equally bizarre to me, and even after having it explained to me - each film abstractly representing a different flavour of the dessert product - it didn't really click. At least, not until I saw The World's End.

Like SotD and Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright's The World's End is a bridge between homage-driven parody and unique genre-situated comedy, with elements of a lot of things that have come before. And like all of the films in the loose trilogy, there's a heavy emphasis on small-town life, pubs, destruction and a plot-driven situation that ramps up from relatively commonplace to full-boil mayhem as the film progress. But that progression is decidedly different in this film. Where SotD felt like it got into the situation relatively quickly before allowing itself room to breathe and plan, and Hot Fuzz reserved a lot of its energy for an expectation-shifting final act, this film felt more balanced in its delivery, ramping up rather fluidly.

Clearly, there's a lot of emphasis on Simon Pegg's character Gary who is the core group's ringleader. He carries the weight for a significant amount of the first two acts, and a majority of the laughs are his alone, owing entirely to his brilliant timing, quick wit and physical approach to comedy. But Pegg carrying this weight is entirely purposeful, and is absolutely necessary - it demands a lot of Pegg's abilities, and even with a character who's largely unlikeable in these opening acts he's able to effortlessly meet and exceed these demands.

There's a greater importance placed on some actors we've seen in past Edgar Wright offerings (Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Martin Freeman) who begin to come into their own as the story progresses, each being shaken from their shells and offering some uniquely character-specific humour. And of course, there's Nick Frost as foil/wingman, easily the most physical of the quintet when push comes to shove/toss/rip/bludgeon/destroy.

But the most striking thing about the film is Wright's brisk editing style, which presents the Pegg/Wright-penned screenplay with such deftness and dynamism that make his films such a joy to watch. The audience truly gets a sense of how much fun this film was to create, and how integrally bound to every nook and cranny the director is with the work he loves crafting. There's no better display of this than during one of many bar-room brawls where Gary simply wants to finish a drink - any drink - but is continually interrupted. On the surface, that's a simple bit, and in lesser creative hands it would be presented in a much more expected way. But here, it's pulled off with such inspired choreography and deft timing that the entire scene remains easily one of the funniest - and funnest - scenes I've seen in theatres in a decade.

Writing-wise, the film is flushed out with callbacks, quick quips, and more than its share of brilliant genre-riffing satire that demonstrate the powerful, intelligent comedic minds behind the film. There's also a significant amount of subtle foreshadowing throughout that lends repeat viewers and bird's-eye watchers of this film some new levels of brilliance to uncover - none of which I will spoil here.

My only bone to pick is with The World's End's epilogue, a closing chapter of the film that I don't think was entirely necessary. There's too few laughs here and takes at least one important character in a direction that confused me, even after having it explained to me. It's a logical leap that I don't think I'll be able to reconcile, but not a major enough gripe to detract much from the film.

While I haven't decided which is my favourite instalment in the trilogy, this film does cement my belief in Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's creative endeavours - Wright being one of two filmmakers (the other being Wes Anderson) who consistently release films that amaze and inspire me.