There will be some spoilers in this post.
The World’s End is an Edgar Wright sci-fi flick about the perils of nostalgia. Gary King (Simon Pegg) rounds up his old friends, played by Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan, for a second attempt at an ultimate pub crawl they failed to complete when they were teenagers. After much convincing, pleading, and duping, Gary convinces them to all return to their old town. What strikes Gary first about the town is that all the uniquely atmospheric pubs have been remodeled to look and feel exactly the same. They’ve been Starbucksed, so to speak. Cleverly, this ground level observation and annoyance in the real world is later paralleled on a cosmological scale when things start to get really weird. Most of the people in town have been taken over by aliens in effort to Starbucks the galaxy. That is, the aliens are a homogenization of all planets scheme, the same way all of the pubs are now corporate cutouts of each other. As much as the movie is about nostalgia, and friendship, and the psychological issues that Gary’s going through, it is also a satire on commercialism.
This isn’t a far cry from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which also begins with a ground level observation and annoyance in the real world: Arthur Dent’s house is going to be torn down to make way for a new road, and because of bureaucratic oversight, no one has warned him ahead of time. This is later paralleled on the cosmological scale when a space ship, the same yellow as a bulldozer, shows up to blow up the Earth to make way for a new hyperspace bypass, and because of bureaucratic oversight, no one has warned the Earthlings ahead of time. H2G2 is largely, if not entirely, a satire on bureaucracy.
Toward the end of The World’s End, we learn that Gary King is not only the high school rebel whose self importance has made him the center of his little world, but an actual nuisance to the entire galaxy, and he is now the representative of the entire planet. While H2G2‘s Arthur Dent certainly does unwittingly become the center of some small world’s–becoming the arch nemesis of Agrajag, despite that Arthur’s not sure he’s actually met him before–Gary King’s situation is much more akin to Zaphod Beeblebrox. In H2g2, Zaphod’s massive ego is often dismissed by his friends, but he discovers in the Total Perspective Vortex that his ego is completely warranted as he is, galactically speaking, a pretty amazing dude. Gary King, although recognized by the aliens as important, is deemed more of a trouble-maker than a hoopy frood.