Over the 14 years since Spaced appeared on our TV screens - an offbeat sitcom of sorts, lovingly sewn together from offcuts of nerdy movie tropes - the enduringly endearing quatrain of Pegg, Frost, Wright and producer Nira Park have developed and matured their ideas whilst avoiding the polar pitfalls of overexposure and disappearance up one's own arse. 2004's Shaun Of The Dead paid homage to the Raimi zombie genre whilst Hot Fuzz 3 years later deftly finessed the Pegg/Frost wingman bromance into a buddy cop movie. And so we arrive at The World's End, the final installment of the so called Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, and more of a social sequel to Shaun than Fuzz - though all three feature the core premise of individuals up against a homogenized force. Pegg's Gary King could be Shaun ten years on, but whilst the former film made heroes from its portrayal of slacker(s)-cool, King is depicted as a slightly tragic leader of his friends' former gang - unable (or unwilling) to grow up, whilst his cohorts have, but find themselves in equally uninspiring and deadbeat suburban mundanity.
King's plan is to get the boys back together in the fictional town of Newton Haven for "one last job" - or in this case - pub crawl - an epic "Golden Mile" of 12-pub imbibing. Things start to go weird though when the townsfolk turn out to be more playmobil than people, and a plot is uncovered that sees the gang's leisurely evening of premium ale and past anecdotes turn into a fight against John Carpenter-y hordes. Since Spaced, Wright's trademark lexicon of choreography - reflected in everything from fight sequences to camerawork to the joyful patter of interweaving and overlapping dialogue - has been honed to near note-perfect execution, and the audiovisual pyrotechnics that are reeled off here genuinely delight with every muzzle-flash, although the glossiness of this new veneer may lead some to yearn for the less knowing, more lo-fi days of Pegg and Frost. It also needs to be noted that this film isn't just about them this time around, and inevitably, by opening up the group to Considine, Freeman, Marsan and Pike, great as they are, it translates into reduced screentime for our favourite pair which has the effect of slightly diluting inter-character relations. The World's End isn't a great departure from what's gone before, but it does cement the creative ensemble's place in contemporary British cinema as purveyors of broad-appeal comedy with heart, the likes of which we have yet to tire of watching.