Bands of Brothers: Comparing "The Watch" and "The World's End"The Watch (2012) without thinking about Edgar Wright's The World's End (2013). There is a similarity between these two films, much in the same way that Zombieland (2009) and Shaun of the Dead (2004) are similar but very dissimilar films (I previously compared those films in 2009). With their very close release dates, both films seem to have a almost symbiotic relationship with the zeitgeist of society.
There are spoilers ahead; these posts should be avoided for those who have not seen either film.
This is really where the two films diverge
Of course, you do have the expected differences between British and American comedies. The American comedy is far more reliant upon gross out humor, a bit of awkwardness around gender identity and sexual orientation, and the like.
But that is not the most fundamental difference between these two films.
Ultimately, The World's End is about a band of brothers - once inseparable, then diverged by life, and briefly brought back together again by sheer force of will. But as the film unfolds, the friends slowly become parted again. Their ways of life have taken them in different directions, no matter how much you may wish to recapture that initial camaraderie. By the end of the film all of the main characters are very different places, both emotionally, physically, and sometimes whether or not they're living or not.
This is so starkly different than the end of The World's End, that I think it highlights the differences between both the sensibilities of American and English filmmakers and filmgoers.
That is not to say that either of these films is bad. Both films are enjoyable in their own right. If you do not mind the gross-out humor (and a few "I'll do gay things if I have to" so-called jokes) or off-color jokes that pepper The Watch, I'd recommend watching both movies to see firsthand the differences in approach to humor. For writers especially, seeing how different people handle similar material is a great way to really learn about the craft.
What these films say about our sensibilities as filmgoers, as Englishman, as Americans I leave as an exercise to the reader.