Despite being so young, the list of the best Edgar Wright movies is about as impressive as they come.
If you’ve frequented a cinema in the last week or so to see Baby Driver, you may have noticed the slight fact that it is ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE HOLY MOLY. Alright, calm down Josh.
The point stands though. Syncing an entire film’s movement to music, director Edgar Wright has transformed yet another car chase movie (even if we just include the Fast and Furious franchise we’re on about 652) into a cinematic masterpiece.
The crazy thing is, British director Edgar Wright is only 43. That’s like… really young and stuff.
And Baby Driver didn’t just fall from the sky in the same way that babies are made. Edgar Wright has a history of brilliant and creative films that defy regular cinematic conventions. Even better, they’re all individually unique, as if the director perceives each movie as a chance to challenge himself.
More so, the films works as near parodies of genres. Take my Fast and Furious example from before, a franchise and subsequent genre that is just beginning to tire – until Mr Wright steps in. “What’s that?” he asks. “Are car movies getting lame? Eat some of this.”
There is a consistent tone of quirkiness and eccentricity that links his works, but all in all, if you’ve only seen Baby Driver, you’re in for a whole range of surprises with the rest of his filmography.
Which provides me a great segway to… five of the best Edgar Wright movies that you need to do yourself a big ol’ favouroo and watch.
5 – Ant-Man (2015)
Okay, straight off the bat, I concede. Edgar Wright did not direct this film. In fact, including Ant-Man in this list is controversial for a number of reasons. Wright worked on the film for seven years, as writer/director. Unfortunately, the man who also doubles as the youngest looking 43 year old ever had to eventually part ways with the project due to creative differences.
However, the screenplay is still credited to Wright, and as a writer myself, I say F-word the system – writers deserve more credit for a film’s final product. But that is why it sits in the measly fifth place (also the other movies are better because Edgar Wright directed them shut up I know I’m a hypocrite).
Edgar Wright’s only influence on the world of superheroes so far (although Scott Pilgrim vs. The World shares many similar tropes – more on that later), Ant-Man is one of those heroes that makes you think, “umm… yeh, I mean that’s pretty cool I think”. It’s in the name really: A man can shrink to the size of an ant while still maintaining superhuman strength.
Ant-Man features Paul Rudd in a starring role, and ‘the dude from all of those movies’ is definitely one of the reasons this film is so enjoyable.
But for me, it is the distinct personality of Edgar Wright that makes it great. In a G-Rated Deadpool kind of way, Ant-Man is written with complete tongue in cheek, divulging from your stereotypical superhero film. It’s fun, funny, and just a generally enjoyable movie.
I can’t help but wonder how great it could have been if Edgar Wright had been able to follow the project through to its end.
4 – The World’s End (2013)
Before I discuss The World’s End, allow me to explain the Edgar Wright trilogy it’s associated with.
A title only Edgar Wright could conceive of and approve, the ‘Three Flavours Cornetto’ trilogy includes Shawn of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. That name was primarily born out of an observation made on the set of Hot Fuzz (more on that flick later) that each of Wright’s films to date had included a Cornetto.
There are some loose thematic connections between the different flavours shown in each movie. The World’s End is purportedly the mint chocolate-chip flavour of the Cornetto (though this is only shown by a Cornetto wrapper caught in the wind), representing ‘little green men’ and science fiction.
The trilogy feel is also helped by the fact that each of the films take place in England and feature the two same actors as protagonists: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. They also definitely share the most visibly similar tone between any of his works.
The World’s End‘s plot-line is as simple as a completely bonkers movie can be: Five friends reunite after 20 years to complete a massive pub crawl in their home town. The only issue is, everyone has become a human-hating robot, and the crew somehow become the only people able to save the world.
Mad. Hilarious. Brilliant.
3 – Hot Fuzz (2007)
One of my favourite movies ever (although this entire article is basically a list of my five favourite films so it’s really not such a big deal in context), Hot Fuzz tells the story of the greatest police officer in the London Met, Sergeant Angel (played once again by Simon Pegg).
Unfortunately for Sergeant Angel, the London Met decides that he’s actually too good an officer and is making everyone else look bad, so they ship him off to a quiet country town to serve there.
Here, he teams up with the impressively-terrible policeman Danny Butterman (played by the very not terrible Nick Frost), and the pair slowly begin to unravel a world of evil within the town’s crushing pleasantness.
If you were wondering what flavour of Cornetto Hot Fuzz is, it features a yummy blue one, emblematic of the police.
This is yet another example of Wright’s parodying of classic Hollywood films, this time with a spin on the tired cop narrative. And let me just say, call 9-1-1, because this is so funny I’m in trouble (don’t tell my boss I said that please).
2 – Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
If you like Michael Cera and also awesome films, you’ll definitely love Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. In this Edgar Wright movie, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) has to literally battle and destroy the ex-boyfriends of his new crush, Ramona Flowers.
Stylistically, this is as quirky as they come. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is like an arcade game comedy movie (it’s not a thing but it is now). Texts and graphics appear on screen randomly, transitions are comedic and unconventional, and the plot is, well, mad. But, in a way only Edgar Wright could pull off, it works.
Plus, the whole film is really just a simple metaphor: When you start a relationship, you need to deal with and overcome your partner’s history. And that’s pretty cool.
1 – Shawn of the Dead (2004)
Master Wright’s cinematic debut is about as brilliant as debuts of any kind get (in my debut for my last soccer team I scored two own goals and I REALLY DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT).
The blood and gore pink of the Cornetto flavoured trilogy, Shawn of the Dead takes everything you know about zombie apocalypse films and eats its face off (get it, coz zombies?).
Instead of the macho hero, we’ve got Shaun (Simon Pegg), also known as the most ordinary human ever. His best mate and sidekick, Ed (Nick Frost), is perhaps even more ordinary but probably somehow in a worse way. Yet as people tend to do in Edgar Wright movies, the two find themselves kicking zombie-ass and saving the world out of nowhere.
A small aspect of this film that I think works to exemplify Edgar Wright’s brilliance is the use of weapons, particularly one which has later become iconic. In zombie movies, we have become conditioned to expect crazy cool swords, axes or guns. So, what does Simon Pegg use? A cricket bat from his back yard. Boom. That’s all you need.
So there you have it, the best Edgar Wright movies to date! Be sure to check out my colleague Nirvana’s very very very positive review of Baby Driver, and then also just check out Baby Driver in real life, as well as every Edgar Wright film you’re yet to see. If you’re yet to get it, they rock.