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Film / The World's End

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Finish the Golden Mile.

"We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do! And we wanna get loaded! And we wanna have a good time!"
Primal Scream, "Loaded"

The World's End is a British-American science-fiction comedy released in the summer of 2013, directed by Edgar Wright and written by him and Simon Pegg, who stars in the film, with Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike in supporting roles.

Gary King (Pegg) is a ne'er-do-well Manchild who decides to reunite his old gang of friends — Andy Knightley (Frost), Steven Prince (Considine), Oliver Chamberlain (Freeman), and Peter Page (Marsan) — after losing touch 20 years ago. They've all got perfectly normal lives now, whereas Gary is still walking around in the same awful clothes, wearing the same pitch-black sunglasses and spouting the same old nonsense. Recalling the "Golden Mile" pub crawl they failed in their teens, Gary convinces them to return to their childhood village of Newton Haven, determined to finally do a complete run.

Things start out slow with the crawl, with everyone tired by Gary's antics right from the get-go. The guys make an effort to catch up with each other, enjoy the evening and get a bit of Character Development in while they're at it, but their hearts just aren't in it. And then, just as they're about to call it a day, something seems... off about the pubs.

Really off. Really, really off.

Cue things escalating, and the group soon has to wrestle with decidedly more than they bargained for, in addition to Gary's unwavering determination to finish the Golden Mile.

This is the final installment of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, preceded by Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

Watch the first trailer here and the full trailer here.

Not to be confused with This Is the End, another 2013 comedy about The End of the World as We Know It. Also unrelated to the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie At World's End, the Flash video game World's End, or the 2021 console game World's End Club.

This film contains examples of:

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  • Accidental Hero: All of them, Gary wanted to return to Newton Haven to finish the legendary pub crawl and tricked his childhood friends into coming along with him. They only discovered The Network after Gary got into a drunken brawl during a fit of angst and sadness. They only persisted with the pub crawl because nobody had a better idea, Gary couldn't be controlled, and Andy literally walked straight into The Network's base while chasing after Gary.
  • Acrofatic: Andy kicks more ass than any other character in the movie. To quote one of Nick Frost's lines from a different film, "It's not fat, it's power!" Subverted in that the Blanks operate with a We Have Reserves Zerg Rush tactic, and are quite fragile, being built for subterfuge and not combat. That's what the statue is for.
  • Acting Unnatural: The group's attempt at The Good Companions, to the tune of "The Alabama Song."
  • After the End: The finale, after civilization has been destroyed.
  • The Alleged Car: Gary's Ford Granada Mk. 2 AKA "The Beast." Gary mentions that he's replaced pretty much every meaningful part of it, and it still doesn't work.
  • Alien Blood: The alien robot replacements for the townspeople all have blue "blood."
  • Alien Invasion: Extraterrestrial machines have invaded a small town in England. And 2,000 other locations on the planet.
  • An Aesop:
    • A little nostalgia is fine every now and then. Too much, on the other hand, and you won't feel able to enjoy the rest of your life. So don't always look backwards.
    • Sam and Gary's relationship is a good illustration of how most teenage girls go through the bad boy phase and then, contrary to popular belief, they eventually grow up.
    • Failure isn't the end of the world and perfection always comes with a price, be a good person in your own way and not by someone else's standards.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Gary, along with some Blanks (who look like the rest of the gang as they were in their teens), is on a quest as he walks the Earth, with a bar being the first stop.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Steven catches Gary and Sam in the beer garden of The Two-Headed Dog after they defeat the twins and drunkenly admits he's always been in love with Sam, thinking Sam has feelings for Gary (she doesn't, but she will look back fondly on the times they did have), and says he would drop his fitness instructor girlfriend in a heartbeat if it meant he had one last chance with Sam. Fortunately for him, by the end of the film, he and Sam do end up together.
  • Answer Cut: Oliver asks Steve and Peter if they'd figured out who the biggest loser was for letting Gary convince them to do the pub crawl again - at that moment, Andy is revealed, having just arrived at the station.
  • Apocalypse How: A Class 1 or low-level Class 2. Humanity is knocked back to pre-industrial levels but the bulk of the British population apparently survives and there seems no danger of actual extinction as far as we know. A number have certainly died, but with all communication cut off from the rest of the world, that number will never be known.
  • Arc Number: Edgar Wright has stated that he did his best to include the 'number' of each pub (according to where it appears on The Golden Mile) somewhere in its scene (he did something similar with the Evil Exes in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World). These can usually be spotted on the chalkboards/signs or table numbers. For example, a table behind Mr. Shepherd in pub #9 The Beehive shows a place-card with a 9 on it. See a collage here.
  • Arc Symbol: Five pointed lines, similar to a Wi-Fi symbol, appear in many places throughout the movie (see Sigil Spam).
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • When asked if he ever regrets not finishing The Golden Mile as a teen, Gary says "no", but you can tell it's a "Eureka!" Moment for him.
    • Andy asks the Network how successful their plan has been. The Network sheepishly replies there have been some issues. Like 95% of the towns' population being mulched.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: It's subtle, but the background extras in the pub scenes are all going about their business: extremely limited, repetitive business. This kind of lazy choreography would normally be a sign of a poor production, but in this case it's actually a very sneaky hint that the populace of Newton Haven are not real people.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The film starts out on cheap home film to depict a flashback, changes to a more conventional format when the movie properly begins, and successively gets wider as the plot gets more dramatic.
  • Badass Longcoat: Invoked by Gary, who wears a long black coat to try and appear cool. Deconstructed in that, while it may have looked cool on him as a teen, the years of wear and tear now make him look like the shabby, alcoholic vagrant that he is. In his final appearance after the apocalypse, it actually does look pretty cool.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • While trying to get his friends together for the second attempt at the Golden Mile, Steven asks Gary, "What's this all about, Gary?" Cut to Gary on a couch saying, "It's about closure." One may think this is Steven's home or a therapist's office (due to how they often have their patients lying down). No, it's a house Oliver is trying to sell to a couple.
    • During the "Blank inspection" scene. Gary suggests Andy show the scar he received from a knife during an Aliens re-enactment. Andy instead suggests showing the surgical scar on his femoral artery from "the accident" (which is explained in all it's glory in the process). Gary says either one will do, and Andy shows him the knife wound... on his middle finger. It's clear in that moment that Andy had wanted to do this for years, not just for "the accident" but also for everything Gary had put him through in the years beforehand, and he also wanted to put Gary in his place when he did.
  • Bar Brawl: Obligatory. Plus, the main characters get better fighters as they get more sloshed.
  • Bathroom Brawl: Gary and his friends fend off some Blanks in The Cross Hands' bathroom.
  • Beneath the Mask: One of the movie's themes is that of adults hiding their insecurities and neuroses behind professional success / money / houses / etc. Then there's Gary, whose facade of cheer and energy starts crumbling at the second or third pub.
  • Berserk Button: A subtle, downplayed example. When Gary is trying to convince Andy to join him on The Golden Mile, notice how Andy finally forces him out only after making a reference to his wife. As in, the wife that's just left him.
  • Big Bad: The Network is very much this. It's a Well-Intentioned Extremist, though, and a bit of a Knight Templar.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Gary comes to the rescue of his friends whenever they're in trouble during all three fights. For example:
    • In the first fight in the gents' toilets, Steven manages to yell Gary's name for help when he can't fight off the Blank teenager attacking him. Gary uses the detached Blank arm in his hands to smash the Blank in the face and give Steven the upper hand.
    • Gary fights off the twins in the beer garden to save Sam, only to require Steven's help when they reappear.
    • Gary refusing to refill his beer glass in The Beehive fight when he sees Blank Oliver has trapped Sam with her own scarf, and taking out Blank Oliver via Chandelier Swing.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Gary's reaction to Andy ordering a tap water in The First Post.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In-universe, it's pointed out that the word "robot" is derived from a Czech word meaning "slave", and the Blanks object rather strongly to being called slaves. It turns out they were slaves, as they have free will after the Network is gone.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Network has left Earth, but in the process the planet is knocked back to the Dark Ages. Peter and Oliver are both dead and replaced by Blanks, while Gary resorts to Walking the Earth and Andy hasn't seen him since. And Gary still didn't finish the crawl, due to the entire village of Newton Haven being destroyed. However, Andy points out that his previously rocky marriage is back on track, Blank Oliver is doing well selling real estate, Blank Peter has gone home to his family as before, Steven and Sam are living rather happily in a "shack" just outside London, and Gary appears to have conquered his alcoholism as well as found purpose in his life.
  • Book Ends:
    • At the crawl's beginning, Gary chides Andy for ordering water, uttering the nonsensical statement, "Did King Arthur order water after the Battle of Hastings?" - to which Andy replies that ordering water in a pub full of rugby lads wearing war paint takes balls. At the end of the film, Gary (a King), following a battle against the Network, orders five waters in a post-apocalyptic pub full of skin-headed, armed, rugby lads wearing war paint.
    • "Look at the town in its original colours, cos tonight we're gonna paint it red!" At the end of the film, Newton Haven is engulfed by a giant, red fireball.
    • Gary's first attempt at the pub crawl ends with him sitting on a hill overlooking Newton Haven as the sun rises. Gary's second attempt has him sitting on the same hill overlooking a destroyed Newton Haven. The first bar he visits during the epilogue? The Rising Sun.
    • The film begins with Gary telling the story of the first pub crawl to a support group. It ends with Andy telling the story of the second pub crawl to a group of kids, and with Gary doing a pub crawl with his mates.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Ends with Gary and four blanks getting in a fight with a bar full of armed men. It's unlikely to end well.
  • Brick Joke: In a Black Comedy way, the death of Gary's mum.
  • Broken Bird: Gary, a rare male variant.
  • Broken Pedestal: A mutual example between Gary, and then the gang to him. Gary has the good old days so ingrained in his head that when he meets Andy, Steve, Oliver, Peter and Sam years later, he feels like he's talking to strangers. Whereas they are concerned that he's been doing nothing with his life and making self-destructive choices that have hindered any growth in him as a person. Gary ends up disappointed that his friends and the girl he fancied at school have changed and they're disappointed that he hasn't.
  • The Bully: Shane Hawkins, in the group's school-days, with consequences that echo through to the present-day plot.
  • Bungled Suicide: Gary is revealed to have slit his wrists sometime before the beginning of the movie.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Pete is deeply rattled when The Bully that made his childhood miserable doesn't even remember him. That might be because he's a Blank with selected memories from the real person. Alternatively, it is possible that the real Shane didn't realise how much of a monster he was to Pete at school. Or some of both. Take your pick.
  • Call-Back: See half of Mythology Gag.
    • Andy rips open his cardigan before a serious bar fight, mirroring when he ripped open his shirt as a youth.
    • Oliver is showing the same house in the same neighborhood to the same couple as the beginning of the film.
    • Gary tells The Network "To err is human." At the conclusion, the full idiom is spray painted, "To err is human, to forgive, divine."
  • The Can Kicked Him: Gary first encounters the Blanks in the toilets at the fourth pub, and is nearly taken down. A couple of pubs later, Oliver is replaced by a Blank when he unwisely goes to the toilets by himself.
  • Car Meets House: "The Hole in the Wall."
  • Cassandra Truth: Understandably, Sam doesn't believe what Gary tells her about the town, because of how weird it sounds. He even earns another slap in the face for it. She only realises Gary is right beyond a doubt when he starts fighting the twins and pulls one of their heads off.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Oliver's "W.T.F." Also lampshaded:
      Gary: What the fuck does WTF mean?!
      Peter: [barges out of toilet] What the fuck?!
      Gary: Oh yeah...
    • Sam has one too.
      Sam: Oh, crumbs!
    • "Let's Boo Boo!"
  • Cellphones Are Useless: The plot works because there is no cell phone reception in the area - or, rather, that The Network blocked until-then-perfectly-fine reception the moment the protagonists realise something is wrong.
  • Central Theme: Moving forward is an unavoidable factor of life and you can't avoid it by retreating into the past.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: In relation to the other two films in the trilogy, as described under Darker and Edgier below. Some of the scenes are quite tragic for a comedy, even a Black Comedy, with the prime example being the confrontation between Gary and Andy in the World's End just before the climax.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Nick Frost, master of pub stool-fu.
  • Chandelier Swing: Gary in The Beehive fight to take down Blank Oliver. Complete with slo-mo.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Early in the film when Oliver is on the phone with his sister Sam he teasingly asks "You get lost on the ring road again?". Much later in the film she says she came back for Gary, Andy and Steven because she got lost on the ring road.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The shooting star at the end of Gary's flashback, later revealed by Basil to have been the alien ship's arrival.
    • Oliver's birthmark.
    • The "Out of Order" sign from the disabled toilet at The Old Familiar, which Sam gives to Gary as a jibe, later comes in handy when the guys need to make sure no-one goes into the mens' toilet at The Cross Hands and finds the five teenage Blanks they just destroyed in there.
    • Also the... ugh... slippery toilet floor. It comes in handy for Oliver in the first fight.
    • The metallic statue in the middle of the town.
    • Gary won't show his elbow scar to prove he's human, but willingly shows an intimate tattoo. When his sleeve later turns up accidentally, Andy notices he is wearing bandages on his wrists and has a hospital wristband, revealing he has recently attempted suicide.
    • Sam's car. Sam tries to use it to flee Newton Haven after the fight in The Beehive, but due to getting lost on the ring road, she comes back and she, Gary, Andy and Steven use the car to escape from the town.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Sam. She first appears at The Old Familiar, then disappears from the plot for a while. She reappears at The Two-Headed Dog and helps to fight the twins in the beer garden, as well as joining in the fight at The Beehive, then when she gets lost on the ring road (again), she is able to get Gary, Andy and Steven out of Newton Haven when the Network ups and leaves.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Gary being impossible to argue with.
    • Gary is also introduced with having some basic Le Parkour skills. They come in handy later.
  • Clarke's Third Law / Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Blanks/The Network have technology beyond the scope of modern humanity, capable of interstellar travel and creating near-perfect robot duplicates of humans with seemingly unlimited stamina and the ability to function even when extremely heavily damaged. However, when said robots are damaged, it's revealed that they are hollow on the inside, with no circuits or machinery of any kind (even if they make mechanical whirring noises as they move around); just a strange blue ink that coats the inside of their hollow plastic bodies. Furthermore, their limbs and heads are held together by joints similar to action figures, which begs the question as to how the Blanks are capable of eating and drinking as they do in the film. Even the giant robot statue that comes to life halfway through the film seems magical in nature, having sleek, solid metal limbs with no visible joints. The only conclusion one can draw from all this is that the Network's technology is just so much more advanced that ours that to us it appears nonsensical.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: All of the main characters at various points in the film; justified in that they have all had far too much to drink as the film progresses. However, Gary stands out the most.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The 'Reverend Green' and two others in the Trusty Servant have decided to live in accord with the Network's plan rather than be replaced. They turn out to be the only three who have, apart from Basil.
  • Collapsing Lair: The titular pub, taking the entire town with it. Probably a deliberate Taking You with Me ploy by the Network.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Blanks, and anything associated with them, have a dominant blue and green coloration. Oliver and Peter are wearing blue. They are replaced by Blanks over the course of the movie. Sam and Steven also wear red, so as to show they will become a couple at the end.
  • Comedic Work, Serious Scene: Unlike most of the movie, the scene where it's revealed that Gary attempted suicide is not played for laughs.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When they're getting ready to go in the car, a conversation about Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers briefly occurs. During this Oliver points that The Three Musketeers is a fiction written by Alexandre Dumas, to which Gary replies that a lot of people were saying that about The Bible (i.e., that the Bible is a fiction). Steven jokingly asks if he means that it was written by Alexandre Dumas, to which Gary replies that it was written by Jesus.
    • After first discovering the robots, Andy is more concerned with the fact Gary lied about his mother dying rather than Gary accidentally killing a teenager who is actually a robot. In fact, the other three come in behind him and notice while he's still telling Gary not to change the subject.
    • Shortly after, Gary suggest they go to the Trusty Servant, implying he wants to continue the pub crawl. The other ask if he's fucking kidding, he answers "Oh yeah. It's the Good Companions next, I always mix those two up.".
    • At the end of the film, Gary triumphantly declares "There's only one Gary King!" after ripping the head off the Network's teenage duplicate of him. Later, when he points out that the Network's plan is flawed because humanity is filled with people like him, the confused Network points out that he just said there was only one Gary King.
    Gary: I fucking know what I fucking said!
  • Coming of Age Story: Gary King never let go of his past and drags his childhood friends back to Newton Haven to accomplish his dream of finishing the golden mile. He also learns to pick himself up from rock bottom after confronting the fact that everyone in his life has moved on without him and he has to break his coping mechanism of retreating into the past so he can live a healthier life. His depression stems from the fact that his adulthood was nothing like he was promised and he realised his glory days no longer have any merit in his adulthood.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Gary barely takes out a single Blank, though he is utterly confused by the fight. The whole group is in similar straits against an gang of equal size. As the film continues, they take on progressively larger hordes with increasing effectiveness.
  • The Conspiracy: The Network, an extraterrestrial intelligence/society, has been guiding human culture and technological development since the late '80s/early '90s. Related to this, it has spread the ideals of polite manners, civic mindedness and community through corporate culture, homogenized commercial branding, and replacing people who revolt with inhuman "robots" hosting people's memories. The dissenters are recycled as fertilizer.
  • Cool Teacher: Guy Shepherd is described as such by Gary, and when he shows up later, he proves to be rather affable and charismatic. He tries to convince the boys to join the Blanks and is revealed to be one himself.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: The film begins as a story of five childhood friends reuniting for a pub crawl in their old hometown. They struggle to come to terms with their problems, their friendships, and their pasts. It's a strong character development piece that gets hijacked about halfway through with the sudden revelation that the townspeople have been replaced by alien robots.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Andy seems to think so, believing that life has become simpler following the apocalypse. All other members of the gang are shown to adapt to their new life quite well too, with Oliver happily going back to his old job, Peter continuing to take care of his family, Sam and Steven building a life together, and Gary becoming the badass drifter he has always wanted to be.
  • Cover Changes The Meaning: In his argument with the Network, Gary quotes the film The Wild Angels (he's actually quoting "Loaded" by Primal Scream, which sampled the film). In Wild Angels, the quote is a justification for the life of nihilistic debauchery that the biker gang was committed to. When the same quote is used by Gary King, it's an affirmation of the human spirit and the importance of free will.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Averted. Blanks can lose a head with little problem, their torsos seem to be their weak point. Further proven when Andy smashes Blank Oliver's head, which is completely hollow space and Oliver can still talk. Andy later destroys the redhead schoolgirl with a body blow to the guts.
  • Creepy Twins: Discussed Trope, as Gary seems to think just being a twin is creepy.note  Then it becomes true when they are revealed to be Blanks.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Four out of the five are surprisingly handy in a fight.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Mad Basil was right about the aliens after all.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz. This is in part owing to all the deconstruction of the tropes that were shown as funny in the previous two films, with very significant rifts, backstories that were significantly darker such as Peter being horribly bullied, and a lead character that is outright suicidal. Additionally, the ending is pretty dark in comparison to either of the two films.
    • Despite this, Wright and Pegg have tentatively called it the happiest ending of the three films, because all of the principals technically get what they want in life, even though some of them are Blanks.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Gary dresses almost entirely in black (trenchcoat, Sisters Of Mercy T-shirt, Doc Martens) and still dyes his hair black, but he's definitely not a bad guy, just a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Debating Names: The characters at one point argue over what they should refer to the robot invaders as. Their suggestions include "nobots," "fauxbots," "blue bloods," and "Smashy-Smashy Egg Men." They eventually settle on "blanks."
  • Deconstruction: Gary can be read as a deconstruction of the typical 'Manchild' characters who populated the other works that Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost were involved in. His hedonistic embracing of alcohol and drugs and his refusal to move on from his teenage pursuits and obsessions is seen as more pathetic than charming. He's also significantly older than most of them were, being an example of what happens to that type of character if he maintains his refusal to grow up when he's almost in his forties. It is also a deconstruction of the notion of a man born into a civilized world, who is better suited for a more barbaric one. (e.g., Marv from Sin City or Esau Cairn from Almuric.) Gary is much happier as a sword-wielding hero in the World After The End, but whereas in the above examples the man is a thug in the real world, in this movie it's shown that he's just a loser.
  • Destructive Saviour: Gary sees off the Network, but they take their advanced technology with them. Humanity is free... and the world immediately collapses into chaos.
  • The Determinator: Gary is hell-bent on finishing the Golden Mile, to the point that he has the entire town full of Blanks chasing after him and he still won't quit.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Gary straights up tells the Network that they can go fuck off. It gives up without a fight.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Peter, Andy and especially Gary are more than pleased to be seduced by The Marmalade Sandwich. Even when he's told by Stephen they're Blanks, Gary criticizes, "Don't be so judgmental!"
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Some reviews noted that people who return to their home from the big city expect their hometown to treat them like prodigal sons, and are disappointed when the people barely - if at all - remember them. According to one reviewer, it's actually a relief to King that the reason no one recognizes him isn't because he just wasn't that important - no, they'd been replaced by robots!
    • There's also a parallel to people going to their 20th or 25th high school reunion having done nothing with their lives.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After several years of abuse at the hands of Shane Hawkins - now a Blank -, Peter goes ballistic after Blank Shane tries to apologise to him, physically attacking him both with his bare hands and a tree branch. Punctuated by the fact that Peter doesn't land a single punch in either of the two fights he's involved in, until he attacks Shane. Unfortunately for him, it gets him mobbed by Blanks.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The World's End refers to both the eponymous pub at the end of the Golden Mile and the actual end of civilisation as we know it through the complete destruction of modern technology.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Gary is straight forward with Sam about this in the bathroom ... and gets punched for his indecency.
  • Dramatic Drop: Sam drops her drink when Adrian Keane appears in The Mermaid. Why? Because he's not supposed to be there. According to Sam, Adrian Keane died in a motorbike crash in Italy eight years before.
  • Dressing to Die: A very subtle, subtextual example, as confirmed by Word of God, is that Gary King dresses in his high school clothes for this reason. He drags his friends along on One Last Field Trip to recreate the last time in his life that he felt things were going well, with the implication that afterward he intends to kill himself.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Oliver disappears to use the bathroom and is replaced by a Blank without any indication other than his change in behavior.
  • Drunken Master: The more wasted the protagonists get, the better they get at fighting. In Wright's words:
    "This is more the idea of Dutch courage. You know, when you're kind of drunk and you think 'ah, I can climb up that scaffolding!' Or just that you're impervious to pain. One of the things we talked about is this idea that [the characters] become better fighters the more oiled they get."
  • Dwindling Party: The gang lose Oliver to the Blanks before they fully know what's going on, then Sam flees the town, then Peter is mobbed by the Blanks, then Steven is abandoned with The Beast. Steven and Sam come back; Oliver, Peter and "The Beast" stay dead.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Peter finally getting revenge on his childhood bully, even if only by proxy.

  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the words of Edgar Wright, "the idea at the ending is that in a strange way everybody gets exactly what they want although it took a mess to get that".
  • Empathic Environment: During the first part of the crawl when everything seems normal, it is daytime and sunny. After the bathroom fight in The Cross Hands, the blanks are introduced and the film's tone becomes considerably darker, it is nighttime, and remains so for most of the rest of the film. After the End, it is daytime again.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: As you might have guessed from the title. It may be a bit misleading, however. The threat isn't the end of society, it's the nature of society itself - the Class II apocalypse is caused by the heroes when they reject the influence of the Network. This is a good thing, if a tad bittersweet.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The Network infiltrated society for our own good to help us make advanced technological discoveries which would otherwise have been decades or even centuries away and therefore prepare us for life in a bigger galactic community. Unfortunately, when humanity didn't want their help they took their ball home on a massive scale.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The entire opening credits serve as one for Gary, but there is a particular moment when Pete is introduced in the monologue that stands out: Gary talks about how Pete was "the baby" of the group and good for a laugh, while the image shows Pete being hit in the head by a bully with his school bag (Shane Hawkins, probably) and Gary immediately starting a fight with said bully.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: During the Impostor-Exposing Test, we learn how everyone got their scars. All of them were caused by Gary being an idiot.
  • Everyone Chasing You: At the end, the group is chased down the streets by what seems to be the town's entire population.
  • Evil Is Petty: After having his Utopia Justifies the Means speech poked with more holes than the Titanic, the Network decides to leave Earth alone. Taking all of modern technology with it and plunging the world into a second Dark Age.
  • The Evils of Free Will: This is the Network's position—that the human race is a massive screw-up and the Network must civilize us.
  • Exact Words: "Andy, I want you inside me."
    • "You will be left to your own... devices." Meaning, "So we're taking all of our devices -all your phones and computers and tablets and laptops- back."
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: The Trope Namer is invoked, as the group used that phrase in high school when leaving somewhere, but it morphed into "Let's Boo Boo!"
    Gary: If we needed to make a quick getaway, we'd say: "Exit, Pursued by a Bear". And then, it was: "Exit, Pursued by Yogi Bear." And then, it was just: "Let's Yogi and Boo-Boo." And then: "Let's Boo-Boo."
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: Attempted by Gary in The Beehive, as he's fighting blanks while trying to down his pint. It's not very successful, though.
  • Eye Awaken: The Blank youngster that Gary allegedly killed in the bathroom comes to live using this trope.
  • Facepalm Of Doom: The preferred Finishing Move of the Blanks. Presumably this is how they get a copy of your memories.
  • Fantastic Racism: To the 'Blanks' After the End.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: The main characters rediscover their friendship, but return to a semblance of their old lives after the events of the movie, with none of them hearing from Gary again.
  • Flipping the Bird: Blank Oliver does this, indicating they're no longer attached to The Network, and free to be as crude as any human. It's foreshadowed by young Oliver flipping it when his friends are razzing him.
    • Andy's scar on his middle finger allows him to flip the bird at Gary while proving he's not a Blank.
  • Foreshadowing: Tons:
    • Gary's description of the original Golden Mile at the very beginning is an almost point-for-point description of the events of the film. Specific details:
      • Oliver was the first one to fall on the original attempt at the Golden Mile, followed by Peter. They're the only two replaced by Blanks in the second attempt, and in the same order (as well as at the same points in the crawl).
      • Gary mentions that Sam hung around but then they had to let her go. Sam joins the group, but later, Gary tells her to leave for safety, again at the same points when she joined and left the first time. Unlike the flashback, however, she returns.
      • Things got "mental" for Gary and the remaining chums at the Beehive. The same things happen at the present day Beehive.
      • After the ninth pub, at the bowls club, "everyone got para and Pete chucked a whitey so we had to bench him". They go to the bowls club again after the ninth pub, and this is when they start accusing each other of being Blanks. note 
      • The shooting star shown in the sky after the first, failed pub crawl, as teen Gary watches the sunrise? That's important.
      • Gary in his flashback says that, as a teenager, he watched the red glow over Newton Haven. So does adult Gary.
    • Gary tells Oliver he needs to have an appointment with Dr. Ink ("drink", geddit?) However, later, they all have ink on their hands.
    • Andy's reaction to Gary asking if he needs to "Check with his missus "; he's not angry because Gary implied he needed his wife's permission, he's angry because his wife has just left him.
    • During the prologue, Gary says that Oliver was all mouth. At the end of the film he is that, pretty much literally, with a football replacing the top part of his head.
    • When we first see adult Peter (sitting at his kitchen table with his family), he's reading a newspaper where the headline reads "New Survey Suggests Happier Britain," which foreshadows the Network and its aims.
    • Throughout the movie you can hear some GSM-interference-like noises blended into the film's score. This foreshadows the true nature of the alien invaders.
    • This line from Oliver, "Follow Gary King into certain oblivion," is pretty much exactly what they end up doing later.
    • Gary explains that The Beast is the same car he bought in 1989, despite the fact that he had to replace almost all its parts, to the point that it's essentially a different car. This is similar to what The Network is doing; converting the people in Newton Haven that it deemed unruly (all but three of them) to the point that it's essentially a different town.
      • Similarly, even though Gary has replaced most of its parts, The Beast is still an unruly wreck that's barely road-worthy. This is similar to how The Network decided humanity was too troublesome to assimilate even after replacing most of the people in Newton Haven.
    • When the four are waiting for Gary and Peter suggests Gary might have had an accident en route to pick them up, he is quick to apologize to Andy. This is because of how Andy was involved in a car accident while driving drunk in 1997 because Gary had overdosed, before Gary abruptly recovered and abandoned him, leading to Andy's animosity towards him.
    • When Gary first arrives to pick the guys up in The Beast, a Vauxhall Ampera can be seen on a billboard/hoarding in the background. Another poster similar to this one is seen behind Oliver in the service station a scene or so later. All the parked cars in Newton Haven are green or blue Vauxhall Amperas.
    • When the gang arrived at the first pub, Oliver comments that the nationwide initiative robs charming pubs of any discernible character. This is what The Network does to humans.
    • On their way to The Cross Hands, the gang talked about food, and Oliver comments that Newton Haven is hardly the heart of the organic revolution. In the end, Gary, an organic being, revolted against The Network. Also, after the apocalypse, people started eating organic food. So, Newton Haven actually is the heart of the Organic Revolution, in more ways than one.
    • Gary telling the rest of the guys as they arrive in Newton Haven to, "get a good look at colors" as "they're going to paint the town red." Later on, the establishing shot of Newton Haven is mirrored, with the town glowing red. After all, it's on fire.
    • Despite having been slurring his words earlier on, Oliver (the first one to fall in the original attempt at the Golden Mile) remains perfectly sober, hinting at his being replaced early on.
    • Peter states after The Mermaid that he doesn't want to end up "dead in a field... I hate fields!" He is later attacked by Blanks in a field/forest the gang are running through after hiding out in the bowls club shed.
    • "I think they missed out on having five musketeers, cos' then you could've had two die and you'd still be left with three." This hints at the deaths of Oliver and Peter later on in the movie.
    • Oliver and Peter being the only two of the five wearing blue on their upper body: a blue suit for Oliver and a blue jacket and jumper for Peter.
    • Gary seems surprisingly knowledgeable about the psychology of depression when he tells Pete not to repress his bad memories. He's been attending grief counseling after a failed suicide attempt, explaining where he picked this tidbit up.
    • When trying to prove that they aren't Blanks, the guys deduce that Blanks are "fresh," lacking any physical abnormalities (tattoos, scars, etc.). Andy, Steven, and Peter all present scars they got courtesy of Gary, but Gary balks at having to remove his jacket and instead opts to bash his head against a support beam to disprove being Made of Plasticine. This is because he doesn't want the others to see the bandages around his wrists.
    • Andy says that the mobile phones aren't working because of the network. He has no idea how right he is.
    • In The Old Familiar, you can posters reading "School Disco." What is going on at pub number eight, The Mermaid?
    • Gary mentions Adrian Keane in the same pub. He also turns up at The Mermaid.
    • The conversation between Gary and Andy concerning teetotalling. Gary says that King Arthur didn't drink water at Camelot after winning the Battle of Hastings. Andy counters that to go into a pub full of hard men with war paint and order a tap water takes serious balls. Andy proves to be easily the best fighter of the group. In the end, a King walks into a bar in the wake of a great battle, and orders a water when surrounded by hard men with war paint. He has some serious balls.
    • The page quotation itself (see above) foreshadows the end of the movie.
    • It's very very subtle but during the prologue, as it cuts to Gary telling the story in the present day, it seems to be just a normal AA-style meeting. However, if you look closely enough, both the man and woman on either side of Gary have visible tags on their wrists identical to the one Gary is later revealed to be wearing, thus hinting at the true extent of Gary's issues.
    • The Network's symbol is seen in many places, one of them being on trash and recycling bins. This foreshadows what happens to the "empties," once their DNA is extracted.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • After Oliver gets replaced, the remaining crew briefly turns into one (at least until Peter is caught by the Blanks).
      • Sanguine: Gary.
      • Choleric: Andy.
      • Melancholic: Steven.
      • Phlegmatic: Peter.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Sharp eyes will notice Oliver's birthmark reappearing after he returns from the bathroom.
    • Each pub has a number representing its order in the film somewhere in the background.
    • In the opening, a lone falling star can be seen as the sun rises, which matches the date the Network first appeared (and symbolizes the simultaneous rise and fall of both Gary and humanity).
      • In Mr Shepherd's classroom, on the wall is a brief graphic of a honeycomb pattern promoting a "NETWORK EVENING". This also doubles as foreshadowing for Shepherd's re-appearance in The Beehive. Teenage Gary is also sat behind a classroom display asking "What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?"
    • At the conclusion, not only has a tee-totaling Gary clean-shaven, but he no longer dyes his hair black in an attempt to regain his youth.
    • Not exactly "blink and you'll miss it," but upon further viewings, you may notice one piece of Gary's neck-wear is an eye of Ra, who in Egyptian mythology, among other things, was the god of kings...
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Gary is this to Andy, Steven, Peter and Oliver in the present, mainly due to being an alcoholic Jerkass Manchild, to which they find him tiring and irritating, but especially Andy, because of how Gary abandoned him in a car crash after Gary had somehow recovered from an overdose.
  • From the Latin "Intro Ducere": The replicants take exception to being called robots because "Robot comes from the Czech word 'robotnik' meaning 'slave' and we are not slaves."
  • Functional Addict: Gary's freewheeling hedonistic lifestyle is initially Played for Laughs but it becomes increasingly apparent he's self-medicating on booze and drugs in order to avoid reality.
  • Funny Background Event: When Andy first initiates the pub brawl with the Blanks, Gary is calmly attempting to finish his pint.
  • Genre Shift: Two of them;
  • Glass Cannon: The Blanks have inhuman strength and agility, but you could burst their heads open with a well-thrown punch. This probably explains why our heroes, a bunch of a middle-aged out-of-shape men, are able to deal with crowds of them.
  • Glory Days: In his teenage years, Gary was the coolest kid in school (or thought he was). Twenty years later, he still hasn't moved on.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The doppelgängers' eyes and mouths glow with a blinding white light when they attack.
  • Going Through the Motions: All the extras in the film undertake simple, repetitive tasks on a loop. It's a hint that they're all robots.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Something of a Running Gag, Gary will hear a phrase and tell Steven to write it down. He turns it round in the climax of the film.
  • Goth: Gary King. His continued love for The Sisters of Mercy years after his teenage years certainly shows this, as well as his choice of clothing.
  • Graceful Loser: Subverted. The Network initially seems to be willing to leave, if not in good grace at least with a minimum of fuss. Then it spitefully knocks out all human technology on the way out.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Several times Blanks are beaten with their own limbs.
  • Growing Up Sucks: The movie examines different approaches towards dealing with a mid-life crisis.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: A bittersweet comedy about trying vainly to hold onto your youth goes completely bonkers when Gary discovers that the town is populated by robots.
  • Haunted House Historian: Basil. His Infodumps help to unravel the town's dark secret.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The doppelgängers do this at the end of the movie, having no one to answer to and feeling lost.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: The main plot of the film is this when the gang are not fighting the blanks, as Gary wants to retry the Golden Mile, the twelve-pub crawl the gang attempted and failed as teenagers. At the start, Steven is also seen in the gym with his fitness instructor girlfriend, and Oliver is seen getting a coffee.
  • Hive Mind: The blanks are linked and controlled through a hive mind.
  • Holding Hands: Steven says of his blossoming romance with Sam: "It was going somewhere! We held hands!" The best part is that both Sam and Steven are forty, give or take.
  • Honor Before Reason
    • Gary puts Sam in a car and tells her to get out of Newton Haven and he'll figure a way out with the rest of the group. When he tells the rest of the group this, they call him out on sending away the only person sober enough to drive, only for him to retort that they would've criticized him if he hadn't done so.
    • This is also a way of summing up the film's climax. Even after considering all of the Network's advances in our society, Gary and the gang still hold that it's not worth sacrificing humanity's right to be a race of fuck-ups.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The Network certainly seems to think so. It responds by basically replacing the ones that refuse to adhere to its standards with robots.
  • Humans Are Flawed/Humans Are Special: Deconstructed. It turns out that humanity is the least civilized species in the galaxy, and the Network is trying to bring it to a level where it could be brought into the galactic community. However, to do so they have to remove anyone who doesn't want to be part of the Network; and because humanity doesn't like being told what to do, the Network needs to replace a lot of people in an attempt to make them more acceptable to the galactic community. Arguably, the point of Gary, Andrew, and Steven's rebuttal is that "Humans are special because they are flawed", specifically asking the Network how many humans it had to replace (only three people in Newton Haven haven't been replaced - and one of them wasn't because he avoided having his DNA sampled for decades), and stating that replacing them all with robots defeats the purpose of uplifting. The Network doesn't give a straightforward answer when it is challenged on how many other species, besides humans, it has dealt with using the same hamfisted methods, in a way that seems like a tacit admission of previous failures. This could count as a subversion of the "special" aspect, as any number of other aliens may have had the same reaction.
  • Humans Are Morons: See above.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Boiled down, humans are utterly incapable of being governed by a higher authority like the Network because we simply are too violent, belligerent, individualistic, freedom-obsessed, and vice-ruled to be told what to do.
  • Humanity on Trial: Symbolically in the finale; The Network accuses Gary as a representative of the human race (or as the character implies, "Gary, King of the humans"), with Andy as his defense.
  • Human Resources: "Empties" are turned into compost.
  • Humble Goal: Gary seems to want nothing more than to have a pint at each of the twelve pubs. Taken to the point of deconstruction, as he continues to work at it long past the point that the pub crawl could be a sane priority. He even drinks someone else's leftover beer at The Famous Cock after the proprietor throws him out because he had been permanently banned from the place.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming:
    Andy: Gary may be a bit of a cock- actually, he is a cock, but he's my cock.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • At one point Gary tells Peter to "get out of the 90's."
      Andy: We all had to go organic in a big way. But if I'm honest, I'm hard-pressed to recall any processed foods I actually miss.
      [Cut to Andy spotting a mint choc-chip Cornetto wrapper and staring desperately after it]
    • The Network gets one as well, with their claim that Gary's use of profanity is a sign of immaturity. Their last words before leaving? "Fuck It."

  • Implausible Deniability: After Gary pulls one of the twins' heads off to show Sam he was right about what's going on, the head in his hand tries to make it seem like he's lying, saying, "Come on, Sam. You know better than to believe Gary King."
  • Impostor-Exposing Test: To prove that they haven't been replaced by "blanks," the characters decide to show each other the scars, tattoos, corrective surgeries or other modifications they got over the years. Gary refuses to do so because they'd see he's attempted suicide, but instead bashes his head several times against a support beam, showing he's not Made of Plasticine and doesn't bleed blue ink.
  • Improvised Weapon: Pint glasses, umbrellas, and bar stools, among others.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Andy doesn't say this, but despite saying earlier in the evening that he is now a teetotaler, he starts pounding shots immediately after the gang finds out about the robots in the town.
  • Insistent Terminology: The doppelgängers are not "robots" (because "robot" is Czech for "slave"). After a whole scene spent trying to invent a term for them, the gang settles on "Blanks" by default.
    • Irony: The Blanks are slaves, because when they're no longer controlled by the Network, they regain their real personalities..
  • In Vino Veritas: Referenced. Steven states to Sam that his Anguished Declaration of Love is not because he's had seven pints.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • The flashbacks of their first stab at the Golden Mile are redone, almost shot for shot.
    • A few lines crop up in different contexts, like "you're never wrong," "there's no point arguing with you," and "selective memory."
    • "And you, sir, have the honor of drawing first blood."
    • Gary sends away Sam in her car so the crawl can continue, who says before leaving "It's important to go forwards, not backwards." As Sam arrives to save the group once The World's End explodes, she frantically asks which way is best direction to drive in, to which Gary answers "Backwards!", and Sam speeds into reverse.
    • Andy narrates at the end that "there were casualties... my cousin Paul. Gary's Mum." Earlier in the film, as the group works out that Gary borrowed from all of them in order to repay his debt to Andy, Gary confesses that it wasn't a case of robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul, it was "borrowing off Peter to pay Andy. I still owe Paul!"
    • At the end of the original attempt at the Golden Mile, Gary sat in a field and watched the dawning of a new day with Andrew and Steven, knowing nothing would ever be the same as it was when they were at school. After the second attempt, the three of them are joined by Sam and end up in the same field, watching the destruction of Newton Haven and the dawn of a new age for mankind.
    • The first time The Network addresses Gary, it calls him "Gary King, of the Humans." The second time, it's "Gary, King of the Humans."
  • Irony:
    • Gary wants the pub crawl to be a fun time for his mates. However, whenever his mates actually start relaxing and enjoying themselves, he's usually the one who does something to ruin the atmosphere.
    • See Insistent Terminology above.
  • I Was Quite the Looker: Gary, he even says so himself. "Oh my god! ...I'm so cute!"
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Zig-zagged. Steven tells Gary and Andrew to leave him as the Blanks drag him away in 'The Beast' only to turn up fine a few minutes later.
  • It's All About Me: Gary. He's not completely selfish, but he does tend to think of himself first; for all his self-identity as the super-cool and super-loyal knight in shining armour to his friends as a youth, it's heavily implied that he was a lot more selfish than he wants to admit as revealed when he abandoned Andy to the police after the accident, when Andy had been trying to save his life. And as an adult, while he claims he wants to have fun with his mates on the pub crawl, it's pretty clear that he really means that he wants to have fun on his terms without much consideration for what they think about the matter, and refuses to abandon the pub crawl regardless of their wishes or how insane it becomes. Though the fact that he's revealed to be suicidal offers some further insight into his motives regarding the latter.
  • Jerkass: Most of Andy's behaviour towards Gary in the present pushes him into Jerkass territory. However, his behaviour is mostly justified, due to his anger at his wife leaving him and taking their kids, and the fact that in the past, Andy was driving Gary while drunk to the hospital after an overdose and after rolling the car and almost severing his femoral artery, Gary recovered enough to abandon him, which led to Andy's arrest, after twelve hours of life-saving surgery.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gary. Sure, he's an irresponsible Manchild and an alcoholic, but he will stand for his friends and Sam. This is seen in all three fights in the film.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Just leave town, or don't attempt the crawl in the first place.
  • Killer Robot: Ones who keep insisting that they're not trying to hurt you.
  • Kick Chick: Taken up to eleven. After one of the twins has been killed and the other de-armed, the latter takes the former's legs and attaches them as arms.
  • Kill All Humans: What the Network is inadvertently doing by replacing those who do not comply to its plans, i.e., almost everyone.
  • Kill and Replace: The doppelgängers' standard M.O. in serving the Network.
  • The Last Dance: It's implied that Gary's devotion to the Golden Mile is his way of reliving his past glory before committing suicide.
  • Lens Flare: Lens flare effects are applied to lights in the film as an homage to modern Sci-Fi movie aesthetics.
  • Le Parkour: Gary is unexpectedly proficient at it. It proves handy as he has to outrun the Blanks. Andy also shows some of this for an Acrofatic.
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: The main argument of Gary VS the Network
  • Light Is Not Good: The Network is represented by a light that looks like the reception bars of a mobile phone, and is the film's Big Bad.
  • Literal-Minded: When Andy tells Gary he hasn't had a drink in sixteen years, Gary's response is that Andy must be thirsty. And that's not the only time...
  • Logic Bomb: Done to the Network by Gary, Andrew and Steven after they learn that anyone who doesn't go along with its plan is killed and replaced with a Blank, and the Network argues that it is the easiest way to prepare humanity to join the galactic community. Since the Network has been forced to replace everyone (bar three people) in Newton Haven, it's clearly not a good plan; Andrew drives the point home by asking how many people they've been forced to replace at the 2000 other locations on the planet, to which the Network can only reply "Shut up!" and leave.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Mermaid uses blanks modeled after the former love interests of the group to tempt them into staying at Newton Haven so that they can be replaced by blanks or at least harvest enough DNA to make a copy of them. The group was fooled because they were too drunk to realize the manipulation. Sam and Steven were only able to realise the trap because Sam's former crush had actually died years earlier in a motorcycle accident and Steven encountered Basil who explained the blank's existence to him. Oliver wasn't affected because he was already replaced by a blank and seems to be the orchestrator of the trap due to existing knowledge of the groups history and his subtle smiles and nods to the other blanks.

  • Made of Plasticine: The Blanks seem to be made of some kind of brittle plastic, like giant action figures. Their heads explode with well-placed punches and kicks. This actually plays an important part late in the film where Gary proves he's not a Blank by bashing his head against wooden post.
  • Manchild: Gary King is an idiot who still acts and dresses as he did as a teenager. See Deconstruction above.
  • May–December Romance: Steven is in a relationship with his 26-year-old fitness instructor. He dumps her in a flash, though, when he gets a chance to get together with Sam.
  • Mauve Shirt: The Reverend Green turns out to be one, until Gary trying to talk to him and find out what's going on in Newton Haven ends with him being converted into a Blank, as we find out in the climax.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • In the epilogue, the words "To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine" are written on a train as Andy retells the story. "To err is human" was part of Gary's Patrick Stewart Speech; "to forgive is divine" seems a reference to the Fantastic Racism against the Blanks.
    • During Gary's opening monologue of the 1990 Golden Mile, most people won't notice the shooting star fly past as he stares into the new sun. according to Mad Basil, the shooting star is The Network arriving on Earth.
    • In "The Trusty Servant," Oliver leaves to go to the bathroom and Gary begins talking to the 'Reverend Green' about the invasion. A burly-looking man walks behind them in the direction of the toilets shortly as the conversation begins. When the subject changes to 'doing your business in the toilets,' two more men follow the burly man, and another about twenty seconds later. As Oliver comes back out, the hand-driers are on, possibly hinting that there was a struggle.
  • Meaningful Echo: In "The Two-Headed Dog," all of Gary's questions about Crowning Glory beer from "The First Post" are parroted back to him by the bartender, foreshadowing the hive-minded Network.
  • Meaningful Name: All of the pubs have common English pub names, but ones that reflect what happens there during the film:
    • The First Post: The starting line for the crawl (the sign notably shows Two Roads Before You).
    • The Old Familiar: They are creeped out by the pub being virtually identical to the last one, and they bump into Sam, Oliver's sister.
    • The Famous Cock: Gary is (finally) recognized... for his previous dickish behaviour that got him banned.
    • The Cross Hands: The group have their first fight with the robots, and come together as a team for the first time.
    • The Good Companions: They decide to stick to Gary's plan of playing the part of a bunch of mates out for a drink to avoid suspicion. The pub sign shows four "tragedy" masks around a smiling "comedy" mask. Guess which one Gary is.
    • The Trusty Servant: They discover that some of the townspeople are humans working with/for the robots. This is also where Oliver gets replaced by a Blank.
    • The Two-Headed Dog: They fight the twins in the beer garden.
    • The Mermaid: They get seduced by siren-like robot schoolgirls. The pub sign shows two blondes flanking a redhead.
    • The Beehive: They discover the Network's plan is to build a community, and fight a swarm of angry robots.
    • The King's Head: Gary King reveals that he's going to finish the Golden Mile and/or die trying. He, like Charles I on the sign, "loses his head". Better still, look at the sign again. The depicted king has Gary's face.
    • The Hole in the Wall: Steven smashes a hole in the wall with The Beast.
    • The World's End: The end of the journey, and the cause of all modern technology being destroyed.
    • In the last scene of the film, The Rising Sun - the dawn of a new civilization without the Network's influence.
    • Gary's surname, King, symbolizing his egocentrism, as well as his ultimate role in deciding the fate of the human race.
    • Andy's surname, Knightley, due to his fighting skills and being Gary's best friend.
    • Steven's surname, Prince, due to being a rival with Gary over Sam, both in school and in the present.
    • Oliver's surname, Chamberlain, as a chamberlain was the chief officer of a royal household, so it makes sense that Oliver is an estate agent.
    • Finally, Peter's surname, Page. A page was in the personal service of a knight, i.e., Gary, so Peter always wanted to hang around with him in school.
  • Metaphorgotten:
    • "And this time we're going to see it to the bitter end! ...Or lager end."
    • "It's just robbing Peter to pay Paul!" "No, I borrowed it from Peter to pay you! (Beat) I still owe Paul."
  • Moment Killer: "SHOTS! S-H-O-T-S! Shots!"
  • Mood Whiplash: Peter's talk about how he was bullied is interrupted by Gary loudly bringing over several shots. Andrew calls Gary out for it though.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both in-universe and out, the Marmalade Sandwich. "Two blondes and a redhead in the middle."
  • Mundane Made Awesome: It's an Edgar Wright film so, yeah, we get awesometastic sequences of the drawing of four pints of beer (and one tap water).
  • My Fist Forgives You: Peter beating thirty kinds of hell out of Blank Shane. Edgar and Simon expressed in the commentary that they had Peter deliberately not land a punch in any of the fights until that moment, when he goes absolutely ballistic...and who can blame him?
    Steven: Pete! Get over here! It's not worth it!
    Peter: YES IT FUCKING IS!!!!
  • Mythology Gag: Several nods to the previous two films in the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy.
    • Gary King fails in trying to climb a fence, just like Shaun and Danny, and in general does a lot of jumping over fences and hedges and suchlike.
    • The cameo from the Cornetto wrapper also counts.
    • All three films also feature identical twins.
    • The last time Bill Nighy told Simon Pegg what to do, he was much more obedient, although he still disagreed.
    • The familiar fruit machine jingle plays in one of the pubs (The King's Head), as in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. In fact, it's the same machine in every movie.
    • Oblique references to an accident in Pegg and Frost's characters' past that had a lasting impact on their friendship.
    • Gary King asks a teenager in the toilets if he and his mates are "having a good time", echoing a similar scene in Spaced which also ends up with Tim and Daisy involved in a fight with a group of teens.
    • The school girl silhouettes in The Mermaid are also pretty reminiscent of Marsha's daughter Amber in Spaced.
    • The people pictured on the poster for the disco event looked an awful lot like z—- We're not using the zed-word!!
    • The crowd of Blanks that is no longer being supported by the Network also looks like a horde of zombies.
    • Rafe Spall, who played the snotty teen who insults Shaun at the electronics store and one of the Andys in Hot Fuzz, appears here as the man Oliver is showing a house to. He is joined by Alice Lowe who played Tina in Hot Fuzz. The actress who played Mary the zombie in Shaun is sitting next to Gary at the support group meeting.
    • Michael Smiley, who played the bike messenger/drug dealer in Spaced and also has a cameo in Shaun Of The Dead, has an appearance here as Gary's former drug dealer, gone legit.
    • Julia Deakin, who appeared as the landlady in Spaced, appears here as the proprietor of the B&B the Five-Man Band checks into in Newton Haven. (She has parts in Shaun and Hot Fuzz as well.)
    • Pierce Brosnan appears as Guy Shepherd. This isn't the first time a James Bond actor appeared in a Pegg/Wright film.
    • Mark Heap (a.k.a. Brian) appears as a pub landlord in The Two-Headed Dog.
    • Peter Serafinowicz (a.k.a Duane Benzie and Pete from Shaun of the Dead) shows up in a blink and you miss it cameo as the man whose home Gary ding-dong-ditches.
    • The song that plays during the opening montage is a remix of the theme from The Magic Roundabout which was used for Daisy's one-woman show.
    • The King's Head is also the name of a pub in Shaun of the Dead.
    • Gary thought it would be quicker to jump down from a tall building using Sam's car as a cushion, which didn't work. This is a callback to Hot Fuzz where Nicholas and Danny jump out a window to land in a dumpster that would cushion their fall.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: There's a brief moment during the bathroom fight where Steven grabs one of the Blanks, holds him high in the air....but before he can smash him into the ground, the Blank reverses the move, and Steven ends up having his face slammed into the floor.
    • This gets averted beautifully in the later pub fight when a blank tries the same trick on Andy.
  • New Media Are Evil: Perhaps the only fictional work to date where digital technology itself is the villain. Notably, Gary King defeats it by being resolutely stuck in the past.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
    • Successfully arguing that the aliens should leave humanity to its own flaws leads to the downfall of civilization. Depends on your definition of "breaking it", however. All the advancements the Network promises are pretty much worthless if they need to nearly eradicate humanity to implement them...which is a major point brought forth at the climax.
    • Two of the only three people in Newton Haven who aren't Blanks adopt this attitude at the end of the movie.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: At the Mermaid, the Blanks have successfully seduced Gary, Andy, and Peter and attempt to seduce Sam with a Blank of her teenage crush, who (unbeknownst to the Blanks) has been dead for several years. Sam immediately breaks out of whatever trance the Blanks tried to put her in and gets the other Musketeers out of the bar.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: After it's hammered in that they are not robots, the group discusses what they should call them and eventually settle on "Blanks".
    Andy: Nothing anyone's suggested in the last five minutes has been better than smashy-smashy eggman.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Andy points out that the death toll was surprisingly low after the destruction of all technology and civilization. Justified in that it counts actual humans.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After the fight in The Beehive, Gary tells Sam to leave Newton Haven for her own safety. When he catches up with the others in the smoke house, Steven accuses him of doing it out of envy that she prefers Steven to him, while Andy calls him out for sending away the only one of them sober enough to drive.
    • Exaggerated. In December 1997, Gary overdosed and Andy, despite being four times over the drink-drive limit, tried to drive Gary to the hospital, but ended up rolling the car and almost severing his femoral artery. Gary then somehow recovered enough to flee the scene; Andy, after twelve hours of surgery needed to save his life, ended up getting arrested. This led to him becoming teetotal and to sever his friendship with Gary.
  • Nothing but Hits: The soundtrack is composed almost entirely out of UK hits from the early 90's; similarly, Gary doesn't seem to listen to anything else.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Gary suffers very, very badly from this and has gone to ludicrous lengths to relive his youth. It's his disillusionment about reality not measuring up to the expectations he had as a teenager that prompts his suicide attempt.
  • Off the Wagon: Andy hasn't had a drink in 16 years, but starts back in after the fight in The Cross Hands. He quit drinking after he got into an accident while drunk and driving Gary to the hospital so he could be treated for a drug overdose.
  • Off with His Head!: The teen in The Cross Hands gents is revealed as a Blank when Gary slams him down into a urinal and his head flies off when he hits it. Later, when Andy realizes Oliver has been replaced by a Blank due to the reappearance of his birthmark, he smashes Blank Oliver's head with a barstool. This is also how both the Twins are disposed of.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: You know shit's about to get real when Andy downs all five shots.
    • When the Network switches from chiding Gary for swearing to swearing itself, it's an indication that Gary has out-argued it
  • Oh, Crap!: All five of them get one when the decapitated Blank in the gents' toilet in The Cross Hands gets up and faces them. Then the four other lads enter the bathroom...
    • Sam gets one when Gary pulls the head off of one of the twins, thus exposing her as a Blank and revealing Gary was right about what was going on. Steven gets one later in the same scene when the twins reappear.
    • Bar Andy who already knew, they all get another one in The Beehive when Oliver is revealed as a Blank.
    • Gary gets one in the smokehouse when Andy asks him to show them his elbow scar. He doesn't want to do that because it would reveal the bandages around his wrists.
    • When the Network gets so pissed off it leaves, The World's End starting to collapse triggers one for Gary, Andy and Steven.
  • Omniscient Morality License: The Network claims to have one. It mainly serves to cheese people off.
  • One Crazy Night: Gary, a middle-aged man child, gets all his school buddies back together to recreate the pub crawl that they couldn't finish when they were teenagers. The pub crawl is complicated when they find out that most of the townspeople have been replaced by robots, but Gary insists on pushing on with the pub crawl as they brawl with the robot hordes.
  • One Last Field Trip: The Golden Mile.
  • One-Man Army: Andrew turns out to be surprisingly badass, felling waves of Blanks at one point without stopping for breath. Justified since he plays rugby, or at least used to.
  • One-Steve Limit: Invoked. "There's only one Gary King!"
  • Order Versus Chaos: The driving question of the film-do you accept an orderly, technological society with little free will, or a free, individualistic society with little in the way of technology? Humanity chooses Chaos.
  • Organ Autonomy: The heads and limbs of the Blanks can be broken off and will move on their own, even reattaching themselves if you don't smash them.
  • Outrun the Fireball: When the World's End explodes and the remaining group has to out drive it. Subverted in that its world-wide and thus does catch them eventually, though they made it out of town.
  • Parental Abandonment: When the Network leaves, all of the Blanks are effectively on their own, with no guidance. Andy remarks it's a lot like children being abandoned by their parents. On the plus side, they are no longer slaves and have free will.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: In The World's End.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Peter's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on his former bully when he tried to apologize for his past behaviour though the fact that said bully is a Blank does diminish things somewhat.
  • Pillar of Light: What The Network appears as, with a twist. See the Visual Pun entry.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Andy has one in The Beehive when he rips open his cardigan: "AAAAGH! I FUCKING HATE THIS TOWN!" He then picks up two bar stools, one in each hand, and makes short work of the Blanks around him.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • In comparison to the rest of the cast, Sam uses euphemisms rather than swearing, but she does drop a bomb whenever something seriously freaky happens.
    • And one by none other than the Network. "It's pointless arguing with you." [leaves the planet and blows up The World's End]
  • Product Placement:
    • Several beer brands are prominently displayed throughout the film, such as Foster's and Kronenburg.
    • Bland-Name Product: The fictional beer, "Crowning Glory," crops up twice in the movie.
    • A mint Cornetto wrapper appears during the epilogue - well, it is the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy.
  • Properly Paranoid: Basil.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Stated by name.
    Steven: No, we can't—-you sold my guitar to buy drugs.
  • The Quisling: Blank Guy Shepherd and Blank Oliver Chamberlain argue the most for letting the robots take over.

  • Rage Breaking Point: Andy finally snaps when the Blanks first have them cornered, picking up a pair of bar stools and opening a jumbo-sized can of whoop-ass.
  • Rays from Heaven: Flipped exactly on its head by the ending: rays from above represent the aliens who have been preparing humanity for entry into the galactic civilization.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gary delivers one to The Network during their argument in the climax.
    Gary King: FACE IT! We’re the human race, and we don’t like being told what to do!
  • Red Is Heroic: Sam wears a red coat and joins in the fights at The Two-Headed Dog and The Beehive, helps to convince Gary that it's not all about the past and saves Gary, Andy and Steven at the end of the film when Newton Haven is destroyed.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: The Blanks, at the end of the film.
  • Replicant Snatching: Courtesy of an Alien Invasion, pulling the ol' Kill and Replace on humanity with identical robots.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The Movie. Just look at the number of Book Ends, Foreshadowing and Chekhov tropes on the page alone, before heading into the Fridge tab.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Enough to probably satisfy several viewings.
  • Running Gag:
    • For this movie:
      • Signs being destroyed or misused, usually by Gary. Possibly symbolizing free spirit vs. well-meaning authority.
      • Thinking up A Good Name for a Rock Band.
      • Not calling the Blanks robots.
      • Gary dragging Sam off to the toilets. But only once out of lusty intent.
      • In fact, the use of bathrooms in general. Gary first follows Sam into the toilets of The Old Familiar to ask for sex, the gang first fight the blanks in the toilets of The Cross Hands (where they first discover the blanks in the first place), Oliver is replaced by a blank in the toilets of The Trusty Servant, and Gary tells Sam what's going on in Newton Haven in the disabled toilets of The Two-Headed Dog.
    • For the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy:
      • Trying to jump a fence and failing.
      • The same jingle from the other two films being played from one of the fruit machines in a pub.
      • The Cornetto wrapper.
  • Robotic Reveal: Several. The first one happening in the bathroom during the struggle between Gary and the kid.
  • Sad Clown: Gary, who is desperately eager for light-hearted fun, yet is actually a complete wreck and has recently attempted suicide.
  • Say My Name: Gary yells "O-Man!" in slow-motion as he uses a Chandelier Swing to take down Blank Oliver in the fight in The Beehive.
    • Gary and Andy both yell "Stevie-baby!" in delight when Steven rejoins them in The World's End.
  • Scars Are Forever: Peter, Steven and Andy all have scars resulting from their Glory Days with Gary, proving that they haven't been replaced. Gary is mentioned to have a metal plate in his elbow from a dislocation, but refuses to show it, since he also has bandages hiding scars from a suicide attempt, which he really doesn't want to show them.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Network responds to Gary's speech in this way in the end. After decades of frustratingly slow progress in trying to uplift the human race, getting yelled at by three drunk men who survived an entire village of Blanks is the straw that broke the camel's back, and it just gives up and leaves.
    The Network: It's pointless arguing with you. [...] Yeah, fuck it.
  • Self-Healing Phlebotinum: Blanks can reattach their severed limbs without much difficulty and get right back into the fight. As robots, however, they never heal their cosmetic damage. The Network apparently just spits out fresh copies of models that are damaged beyond functioning.
  • Sherlock Scan: Subverted. Sam seems to pull one of these when she says in the disabled toilets of The Two-Headed Dog that Gary had sex with the twins in the past, pointing out her reasoning by saying that she's not stupid and Newton Haven is a small town. It turns out she knew this because the twins had told her themselves.
  • Skewed Priorities: Gary King's obsession with finishing the Golden Mile, even if it literally kills him.
    • Also, after their first encounter with the blanks, rather than figuring out a survival strategy, the gang immediately starts Nicknaming the Enemy.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: As explained In-Universe, the "Let's Boo Boo!" was derived from "Exit, Pursued by a Bear" from The Winter's Tale.
  • Sigil Spam: In a very subtle example, the Network's icon, a variation on the 5-bar cellular phone connection meter, appears throughout Newton Haven, most notably on signs for the town and its various pubs. Since the meaning of this symbol isn't revealed until the end, any viewer who did notice probably assumed it indicated wifi.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Sam is the only female character in the central cast.
  • Spit Take: As in the other Blood & Ice Cream films; this time, it's during Gary's Bar Brawl while still trying to finish his pint" scene, when he takes a swig and gets immediately punched in the face.
  • Spot the Imposter:
    Blank Oliver: C'mon, Andy. They can't start without you!
    Andy: [suspicious] What?
    Blank Oliver: We can't start without you!note 
  • Staging an Intervention: About a third of the way in, the gang are prepared to confront Gary for his increasingly self-destructive behaviour, after they learn that he lied about his mother's death to get them to go drinking with him. However, they're distracted by an alien invasion. Several aborted interventions occur throughout the film, culminating in a climax that is a bizarre combination of intervention and Humanity on Trial.
  • Stealth Pun: When Peter is surrounded by Blanks, Andy threatens to "punch their lights out." At this point the Blanks are emitting light from their eyes and mouths.
  • Stepford Smiler: Blanks under the Network influence, of course.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Newton Haven.
  • Stout Strength: Andy.
  • Straight Man: Andy out of the entire group.
  • Strawman Has a Point: invoked Invoked in-universe by Andy, who admits that The Network was right about people being uncivilized.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Peter accuses Gary of stalking him in the beginning, Gary denies ever being to Bishop's Gardens, meaning he knows which neighborhood Peter lives in.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Gary pisses the Network off to the point where it just leaves.
  • Tempting Fate: Averted when Gary keeps insisting, "We're gonna make it" when trying to Outrun the Fireball - setting the scene up for a failure. They outrun it.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The surnames of the five lead characters are positions in a royal court: King, Knight(ley), Prince, Chamberlain and Page.
    • Guy Shepherd tries to guide the main characters into accepting fate and becoming alien replicants (i.e., sheep).
  • Thematic Series: The final installment of the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy. None of the movies are direct sequels (and if they exist in the same world there are an awful lot of Doppelgangers running around). Though even then, they couldn't be in the same continuity because Shaun of the Dead's ending showed that Zombies were being used as cheap manual labour, in which this movie showed a severe lack (not even a mention) of zombie slaves.
  • Theseus' Ship Paradox: The Beast has had every meaningful part replaced, but looks the same and runs about as junkily as it did in the '90s. In a similar way, the Network has been replacing so many citizens of Newton Haven that it's hardly worth calling it the same town as before.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: The alien replacements all look like normal humans until they attack and they turn into blue lightbulbs.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Gary tries to jump a fence while running from the Blanks, and goes "Oh, no!" when it collapses under him.
  • Those Two Guys: The two Network collaborators.
  • Throat Light: White light spews from the mouths of those replaced by aliens.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Gary is so hell-bent on finishing the Golden Mile that by the finale he has the entire town chasing after him, and even then he refuses to quit.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Gary's fixation on the pub crawl certainly gets the 'Five Musketeers' into a lot of trouble, and it's made clear that even in their teenage years, he wasn't a particularly good friend to them in many ways.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The Movie.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: It turns out that Gary's opening narration is being given to a support group, presumably either for alcoholics or attempted suicides.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Gary had done this with "the twins" in the past before they were replaced with Blanks. He's not proud of it. He is a little.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Between Gary, Steven and Sam. Steven has carried a torch for Sam since they were all in school together, and even years later resents Gary for sleeping with her. Steven and Sam end up together at the end.
  • Two Words: I Can't Count: After Gary is asked how his mother's funeral was:
    Gary: It's difficult to put into words. But if I had to choose three, I would say, 'Really, really sad.' Oh, no, that's two, isn't it? How about, 'Really, very sad'?

  • The Unreveal: The film makes it painfully obvious that Oliver's been turned into a Blank, but it allows for a Comically Missing the Point with Gary, who seems to express suspicion at his behavior:
    Gary: (suspiciously) Wait a minute. 1990 model Oliver was out of commission by this point of the evening.
    Oliver: (guiltily nervous) What are you saying?
    Gary: (brightly) I like the new you!
  • Unexplained Recovery: After overdosing, Gary somehow recovered enough to abandon Andy, who had just rolled the car he was driving while drunk, leaving Andy to get arrested, after twelve hours of life-saving surgery (he had almost severed his femoral artery).
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In the bathroom, Andy is more interested in chewing out Gary for lying about his mother's death than the decapitated body in Gary's lap...
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Network believes so. Almost all of the human characters beg to differ.
  • Verbal Backspace: After the encounter in the toilet at the 4th pub:
    Gary King: The last thing we neeed to do is getting pulled over by the police. A, we're all drunk, B, they might be in on it, and C, we've got blood on our hands.
    Peter: It's more like ink.
    Gary: We've got ink on our hands.
  • Villains Out Shopping: When they not trying to convert humans into blanks, Blanks are seen doing pretty much everything the humans they replaced would be doing, such as drinking, shopping, and hanging out at a disco. Mr. Shepherd, when they come across his Blank at The Beehive is enjoying a drink and holding a copy of Brave New World.
  • Villain Has a Point: The Fantastic Racism directed towards the freed Blanks has Andy acknowledging that maybe the Network was right about humans being a bad influence on the rest of the galaxy.
  • Visual Pun:
    • From the blank Marmalade Sandwich: "Andy... I want you inside me." Andy then punches a hole in her stomach to retrieve his wedding ring.
    • "There is nothing between me and Gary!" The twins then barge between Sam and Gary.
    • When The Network finally appears, it looks much like a five-bar internet connection, and hangs up like a phone would.
  • Walking in Rhythm: The group walks in time to the Doors' version of "Alabama Song" as they try to give the appearance that all is normal on their way to the next whiskey ba—er, pub. Unfortunately, the way the Blanks stare at them ominously from that point on...
  • Waxing Lyrical: Gary does this a lot, always with songs released in the early nineties by British bands
    • An exchange between Gary and The Network at the film's climax repeats the spoken-word opening of Primal Scream's "Loaded"note  pretty much word for word:
      The Network: Just what is it that you want to do?
      Gary: We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do! We wanna get loaded! And we wanna have a good time! And that's what we're gonna do!
    • He quotes Happy Mondays during one of the fights with the Blanks
      Twist the melon!
    • He tells the rest of his friends "I'm free to do what I want, any old time," quoting "I'm Free" by The Soup Dragons note .
  • We Have Reserves: No matter how damaged any of the Blanks are, they are replaced with identical ones moments after by the Network.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Network just want humanity to reach its full potential (by their standards). They only want to kill as many as they have to in order to ensure that. Unfortunately, it turns out to require killing almost all of the human race, because humanity doesn't like being told what to do.
  • Wham Shot: Two.
    • Gary tackling the teenager in the The Cross Hands toilet and slamming him into the urinal, knocking his head off.
    • When Gary's sleeves turn up in the scuffle he and Andy have in The World's End, and Andy sees the bandages on Gary's wrists, and realising Gary had attempted suicide.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Delivered to Gary a few times, mostly by Andy.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Andy reconciles with his wife and is trying to make do with his own farm, Sam and Steven are living together in a shack outside of London, the Blanks of Peter and Oliver are trying to live the life the real ones did before the Network left, and Gary is Walking the Earth with the Blanks of the younger versions of Andy, Steven, Peter, and Oliver.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: There is no real-world town called Newton Haven, though it's most likely taking the place of the town where the movie was filmed, Letchworth, Hertfordshire. The railway station where most of the group disembarks from for the rendezvous is High Wycombe.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: Newton Haven is destroyed by one in the climax of the film as the Network leaves Earth. And then it keeps going...
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The gang in the first fight, especially Gary whose spectacular Rock Bottom into the urinal reveals his opponent is not exactly human. Andy also does a mighty back-breaker and decent elbow drop. One of the lads fighting Steve does an amazing tilt-a-whirl bulldog after putting him in a shoulder lock.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: One of the central themes.
  • You Do NOT Want To Know: Invoked by Basil on the fate of the "Empties". When Gary asks The Network, Basil yells out, "I told you not to ask that!" When Gary finds out, his shocked expression confirms it was definitely Schmuck Bait.
    Gary: MULCHED?!?!