The 13-ish Best Edgar Wright Movie Characters

hf simon pegg

4. Nicholas Angel (Hot Fuzz)

“[Police work] is about procedural correctness in the execution of unquestionable moral authority.”

All great lead characters are flawed in some way and by the time the credits roll, they’ve either addressed the issue or at least acknowledged it. But Wright has a history of taking the idea a step further. His flawed leads are typically some combination of incompetence and dickishness. Shaun is the former, Scott Pilgrim and Gary King are both, and only Nicholas Angel (Pegg) stands above the fray. Not only is he employed in a position of respect and power, he’s terrifically good at his job. He may be a bit detached emotionally, but he’s highly competent in his abilities both physical and deductive. And not only does he learn to bond with those around him, but he also takes a lesson from Danny and learns the importance of delivering a good post-kill one-liner.

hf nick frost

3. PC Danny Butterman (Hot Fuzz)

“He is not Judge Judy and Executioner!”

Frost always ends up as second fiddle while Pegg’s around, but while he manages to be plenty funny here as the sidekick, his character also gets an arc fairly similar to his co-star’s in their previous film. Danny is essentially Shaun – a nice but incompetent guy who hasn’t found the motivation to believe in himself and step up his game. Brain freeze gag to the contrary, he’s no idiot. He just hasn’t tried to be any more than what others see in him. That changes though, as he turns his playful, childish enthusiasm for action into real ass-kickery. He gets an arc, he gets the emotional beats, and he still gets to be stupidly hilarious along the way.

sp ellen wong

2. Knives Chau (Scott Pilgrim vs the World)

“I’m too cool for you anyway.”

I’m on record as being no fan of this film’s ending and think all three members of the love triangle should have gone their separate ways. As it stands, the only one to come out on top is Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). This isn’t me being creepy, I swear, but she’s the only good person between them and lucks out in dodging the bullet that is Scott. Knives is a pocket of sincerity in sea of shallow, self-centered people, and while her youth is what’s fueling her full-tilt enthusiasm and energy, that doesn’t make it any less infectious. Wong gives her a perfect pairing of innocence and resilience, and as the film ends, it’s her we’re cheering for while the two doofuses with hair insecurities walk off into the night.

hf dalton

1. Simon Skinner (Hot Fuzz)

“I’m a slasher. I must be stopped! A slasher…of prices.”

Hot Fuzz is the smartest, funniest, and best of Wright’s first four films (with The World’s End coming in second obviously), and I could have easily made up this list entirely with its plentiful and perfect character roster. I didn’t do that of course, but there was never any doubt that one of them would nab the top spot. Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton) is that one. His introduction as a “slasher of prices” is an all-timer, and his boundless enthusiasm only enhances his smarmy evil. He’s almost always smiling throughout the film, and it’s impossible not to smile back every second he’s onscreen. Dalton’s performance here is enough to make you wish he hadn’t been saddled with the most dour James Bond interpretation and that other filmmakers would afford him some comedic roles. Dammit, now I’m depressed. Time to watch Hot Fuzz again, I guess.

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