It's been a pretty good summer for apocalyptic comedies, and The World's End, the third film in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, is getting rave reviews from critics, earning a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 82 out of 100 on Metacritic. The film, a thematic sequel to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is once again directed by Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as pals whose friendship is tested during a surreal adventure, this time as they return to their hometown to complete the pub crawl they failed to finish in 1990. The spoiler-phobic should probably avoid reading too many reviews; despite a press note from Wright asking critics to refrain from revealing too much, plenty have dropped hints that could easily ruin the fun. Here's a (spoiler-free) look at what critics think:
The Los Angeles Times calls it "a comedy with action and wow-factor effects that's also tinged by regret, a light sadness and a lacerating self-awareness" and also "the most Edgar Wright of Edgar Wright's films." Dana Stevens at Slate "unreservedly loved The World’s End, whose compact dramatic structure and steady flow of good jokes puts most mainstream American comedies—too often loosely bundled collections of hit-or-miss sketches—to shame." "This is by light-years the most entertaining movie of the year," according to New York Magazine, calling the cast (also consisting of Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, and Rosmund Pike) "perfection."
Plenty of mostly positive reviews still found some issues with the film. Time thought it was "fun, complicated and emotionally rich" but also felt the end was "contrived and haphazard—as if [co-writers] Wright and Pegg came up with it after a long night at the pub." The Boston Globe called it "more frantic than funny, but it’s still funny enough—just—to outweigh its own silliness" and described it as the weakest of the trilogy. The Seattle Times said "spending time with these funny guys is always a pleasure" but that "while there are plenty of laughs, you wish they were bigger ones, particularly in the beginning."
And a few critics really didn't like it. The Newark Star-Ledger says the film is "mechanical," arguing that "life's too short to waste your time on this, even if the end isn't near." Newsday calls it "a disparate genre mash-up," arguing that "Wright knows how to keep the energy spinning, but he also doesn't know when to stop."