It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
You might not expect a slapstick comedy about middle-aged pubcrawlers brawling with superhuman extraterrestrial invaders to have brains, heart and wisdom, but that's "The World's End," a rare film that's as much fun as you've heard.
Directed by Edgar Wright from a script by him and his regular leading man, Simon Pegg, the film is refreshingly intimate, despite the chasing and stalking and beheading and exploding and gallons of blue goop spraying all over everything. The special effects are special, but they always serve the story and characters. And even when Wright is paying homage to his filmmaking heroes (John Carpenter especially) or staging some of the most cleverly choreographed fights this side of an early '90s Jackie Chan film, you never get the sense that it's bored with itself when the characters are sitting around talking about their shared history over a pint. In fact, they often talk about their shared histories while they're whaling on the invaders—and then they have a pint. Sometimes they have a pint during the fight. It's that kind of movie.
Pegg's character, Gary King, wants people to call him The King and considers himself a prince among men, but he's the sort of guy you'd tire of quickly. His friends had enough of him long ago. They tell themselves they've grown up; Gary thinks they've sold out and become tediously conventional. To the film's credit, neither of these points-of-view are presented as entirely wrong.
Oliver (Martin Freeman) is a fussy killjoy of a real estate agent with a Bluetooth receiver jammed in his ear at all times. Steven (Paddy Considine), an architect who was once Gary's rival for the affections of Oliver's sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), is recently divorced and sleeping with a young fitness instructor; he brags about that last bit to everyone who'll listen, which is how you know he's miserable about the rest of his life. Peter (Eddie Marsan) who was horribly bullied as a child, was always the tagalong nerd of the old group; now he sells cars for his dad. Andrew (Nick Frost) is a lawyer who refuses to speak to—or of—Gary. Gary says it's because he still owes Andrew six hundred pounds from long ago, but we deduce that the real reason for the split is much deeper. It is. In fact it's a doozy.