Finally watched The World’s End. Definitely the weakest of the three films when taken individually, but as a whole the Cornetto Trilogy is a commentary on friendship - not your ordinary friendship, but the kind of intense lifelong bond stuff that I identify with a little too much - and without the third part, it would fail as a complete statement. It’s interesting, the way it ended, but look at it like this:
In Shaun of the Dead, Nick Frost ends up as Simon Pegg’s live-in pet zombie. Their friendship is sickly frozen in an ironic rictus. In Hot Fuzz, where notoriously the lines of Pegg’s love interest were repeatedly given to Frost’s character to say instead, Nick Frost ends up as Simon Pegg’s BFF and next door neighbor and co-hero of the town, but he’s grown to understand that what he idolizes about Pegg’s character is not what’s worthy about him - or about himself and his life goals. And in The World’s End, Nick Frost gives the ending monologue, he gets back together with his unseen wife, and is an absolute pragmatist, while Pegg is leading a pack of empty semi-robots in the guise of his younger cohorts, a complete and utter fantasy.
What we have here is an inversion of the ultimate fates of Pegg and Frost’s character over the course of the trilogy, but also a catch and release paradigm of true friendship. If you love them, let them go. Although Simon Pegg is presented as the leading man in each film, Nick Frost arguably takes the lead in The World’s End and in many ways is the PoV character for each movie, at least in terms of how the viewer is to gauge normalcy. Pegg is a maverick; Frost is mundane. To fall back on romantic tropes, because theirs is a love story, Simon Pegg is Nick Frost’s manic pixie dream girl, and in each film we’re presented a different end game for each scenario. What are they saying about this kind of deep friendship, then, that the film with the “best” outcome for Nick Frost is the film where the entire planet Earth is plunged into chaos and darkness?