These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Ending Fatigue: The climactic battle between Archer and Castor goes on for an insanely long time. Archer's final cry for Castor to "DIIIIIEEEEE!" seems rather on the money.
Harsher in Hindsight: The movie starts with Archer's son Michael dying in his arms after being shot by Castor Troy. Then there's the fate of John Travolta's son Jett, who died January 2, 2009.
Actual face transplants, now that they're being done, have a loooong way to go before their recipients can pass for ordinary. Seeing Archer and Castor both come out of their transplants with great looks and immediate control of their facial expressions is bound to be frustrating for real graft recipients.
Any review that slammed the movie on the basis of the "ludicrous" concept of face transplants. Especially the ones that went to great lengths to explain why it's medically impossible. Of course they aren't yet as sophisticated as the film depicts but then again they were "impossible" just a few years back.
Read this. Laugh your ass off. Laugh even more when you learn that at the same time those photos came to light, two more films starring Cage and Travolta were announced.
Castor Troy takes Archer's face, then has everyone who had knowledge of the specific details of Archer's assignment burned alive so that Archer will be unable to prove his real identity to anyone.
Before that, Castor did plant a chemical WMD intended to destroy Los Angeles. He was well over the horizon before the movie started.
His accidental killing of Archer's son seems to be his own moral horizon; as he appeared to be genuinely shocked when it happened. Realizing what he did was monstrous, his morality then slipped very strongly.
Especially as it's quite on the nose to the audience, given the length of the climax.
Most of Nicolas Cage's time as Castor Troy is full of this, especially when he plants 'Sinclaire', headbangs to Handel's "Hallelujah," then that epic face he makes while groping a blonde choir girl. If that doesn't tell you how psychotic Castor is, what does?
Nightmare Fuel: Castor Troy kidnapping the doctor who transferred his face to Archer, and making said doctor give him Archer's face in return. Then he and his two cronies burn down the Walsh Institute to destroy all of the evidence. The quick flashbacks of Castor's men setting the fire are made even scarier by the fact that you are shown Archer's friend Tito, Dr. Walsh, and Miller sitting on the floor, bound, gagged, struggling to scream as Leo and Lars pour gasoline all over them, which means that they were basically burned alive. Even more unsettling is the cheery tone Castor uses as he tells Archer about what he's done and rubs defeat in Archer's face.
Paranoia Fuel: When you're Eve, you probably would reach the conclusion you can't trust anyone when you discover that your husband is actually Castor Troy wearing your husband's face.
Rooting for the Empire: Who isn't rooting for Castor Troy? Craziness aside, he stops his own bomb, is friendlier with Archer's FBI agents, and pretty much becomes a significantly better husband and father to Eve and Jamie and even beats up a boyfriend who tries to rape Jamie.
Squick: The scene with Castor giving Jamie the butterfly knife doesn't seem so nice when you remember that earlier, Castor is blatantly leering at Jamie while she was in her underwear (and quips "The plot thickens"). And he does basically push himself up against her to grab the cigarettes he's itching for. For bonus points, remember that, as far as she knows at the time, this is her ''father'' doing this. Then he licks her cheek.
When Castor Troy weeps over Pollux's body, and lovingly ties his shoelaces for him one last time. It shows Castor feels sorry that his own brother ended up a collateral victim of his own vendetta against Archer.
Archer, face restored, comes home. He's already in the arms of his wife. But then we hear "Dad?" from offscreen. The shot changes to Jamie, who is no longer dressed all punky. And her face lights up with joy as she breaks into a top speed run to hug her father. "Dad?" she says. "I'm sorry I shot you." And he just silently shakes his head and gives her the peculiar affectionateFace Palm particular to this movie to show her he forgives her.
For Archer, his scar from the bullet that injured him and killed his son had been a bit to the side, even when it's pointed out that it would have been a fatal wound in that case. Essentially, he wishes he'd died instead of his son.
As a by-product of the mythological symbolism, we have possible astrological symbolism, what with Sagittarius (the Archer) facing off against its opposite sign, Gemini (Castor & Pollux—the twins).
The Reality Show
Base Breaker: Viewers have very mixed opinions on Alana from the third season.
This hasn't changed since her return in season 5.
Miranda and Laney are also breaking the base in season 5.
Miranda hasn't gotten over her self-esteem issues since season 2, but has returned as a much more talented artist than before. Unfortunately this means she is (or is edited to look like) she's constantly whinging, doubting herself, and taking up other artist's time asking if her sculpture looks good enough, even though as of episode 8, she's won half the challenges and really shouldn't need this much assurance.
Some fans don't like Laney because she's very monotone and deadpan in her delivery, and has frequently been a top look for what some fans consider to be mediocre work.
Creator's Pet: Nicole, Nicole, NICOLE. Not only did the show bend over backwards to bring her back after she had been eliminated, her frequently mediocre makeups won 2 challenges, got her into the finals, and won the whole damn thing.
Hoo boy, Miranda. Again. Even though she's a Base Breaker and The Scrappy to most viewers, the judges LOVED her work in season 5. Which, usually, was incredibly stunning, but there was often a look fans felt deserved top looks more. Her sculpts were very intricate and well done, but she often only sculpted one or two pieces, a move that would get other contestants in a lot of trouble, if not eliminated for not doing enough work.
The Scrappy: Jerry, Joe, a few others depending on who you ask.
Miranda, if the Face Off Reddit is to be believed.
Tear Jerker: Jenna's elimination. Everyone there accepted that it was her hand, not her skills, that took her down.
To boot, it wasn't even something like carpal tunnel (something she could rest and/or control). As mentioned several times, it was a tumor in her hand.
The web spin-off Face Off: Redemption reveals that her hands have been treated and restored to normal function now. She didn't win Redemption, but did win her first round.
Alana's elimination from the episode Cosmic Circus. Both her and Laney burst into tears on stage.
Cat and Niko, two contestants from Season 6, are in a relationship so Cat's elimination and her subsequent speech to Niko about winning it for the both of them made Niko burst into tears.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The audience-picks-the-winner format of season 3 upset some fans because they felt that in such a highly technical field (of which only 30 minutes of a 4 day period any given week are shown), uninformed laymen shouldn't be deciding who is the better since it turns it into a popularity contest as opposed to a skill- and craft- based challenge. The fourth season went back to having the judges decide.
The producers seem to have realized their mistake in running Season 3 the way they did; neither the option of allowing an eliminated contestant the chance to come back nor the American Idol style finale have happened on the show again.
Averted with Season 5; many fans were quite happy seeing the vets. The contestants, on the other hand, were less than pleased, but still up for the challenge.