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.
A pre-That '70s Show Danny Masterson plays a guy who attempted to rape Jamie. Masterson was fired from The Ranch after allegations that he had actually raped several women.
The aforementioned scene of Troy grabbing a teenage girl's backside while dressed as a priest makes for uncomfortable watching after decades of clerical abuse scandals.
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.
Ho Yay: There is some context between Archer and his Black Best Friend, Tito. When the latter is killed by Castor after getting his face, Archer is quite mournful of his loss.
Idiot Plot: So, in lieu of traditional police investigation and interrogation methods to find where the bomb is, the police have one of their own undergo a highly experimental, and almost certainly illegal, face transplant with a comatose criminal, then drop him into prison with the criminal's brother to get him to spill the beans. Then no one thinks to leave any sort of guard or restraints on the comatose criminal, allowing him to wake up, call his gang, and have them kidnap the people who performed the surgery and do it to him too. And all of this is entirely off the books with no records and only a handful of witnesses, so once they're dead there's (almost) no way to prove it happened (and no reason is ever given as to why it's being done with zero oversight). But, then again, if you're watching this movie, it isn't gonna be for the story.
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.
"I'm going to take his face... off." Even his cronies lampshade the awkwardness.
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?
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.
A faceless Castor Troy is pretty unsettling to see. Mercifully, we see it very little.
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. Then again, there's Castor's own behavior towards Jamie.
During the first part of the hangar shootout, at one point, Castor shoots a SWAT officer, then uses that officer's shotgun to shoot another agent. When he shoots the second agent, you can see the wire used to pull the actor backwards.
After Pollux falls to his death through the skylight, you can partially see the tether keeping Archer from falling through as well. While Archer is chasing Pollux across Dietrich's roof, the safety lines attached to both actors are visible.
When Castor shoots Agent Loomis, you can see the makeup mark for where he's supposed to get shot for several seconds before it happens.
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 panties (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.
Do not forget also that when Sasha says goodbye to his brother, before escaping with Castor, he for some reason stops his sister in order to share a kiss with her. It seems that this film has big problems in the image of family relations....
The "family" tradition of the Archer is touch the faces of his relatives with the palm of his hand ... rather strange, too.
Just Castor Troy with his face missing. That's nasty.
The whole surgery scene with Archer and Castor's faces being sliced off. At the end of it, we see the doctor placing Castor's face over Archer's facial muscles, then trying to straighten it in place.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Many Nicolas Cage fans have wondered why he didn't play Archer in the beginning instead, so when they get their faces swapped we see Nic Cage be a crazy bastard for the other 80% of the movie.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: After capturing the Troys, Sean Archer is seen by his associates as a bitter Jerkass for refusing a celebratory champagne and instead naming the agents who were killed in the firefight, despite it being a very thoughtful and decidedly not-sociopathic way to react. When Castor impersonates Archer, his fellow agents compliment his new "fun" personality, even after Castor dismisses the brutal murder of two more associates (one of whom was Archer's best friend) and an innocent doctor with a flippant "Hey, well, shit happens."
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
Badass Decay: Some contestants become the frontrunner in the first couple of episodes, only to become wildly inconsistent later on, like Season 3's Sarah. Conversely, some contestants are good for the majority of the season, but screw up badly the last couple of weeks, leading to them being disappointingly eliminated, like Season 4's House and Season 6's Daran. Another notable example is Anna from season 10 who was in the winning team for the first three weeks in a row but fell in the bottom for twice before being eliminated at 7th place.
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.
It is also interesting to mention that her assistance on Dina's fish knights won season 7.
Hoo boy, Miranda. Again. Even though she's divisive 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.
George in season 6. He stuck around even though many things he did would have gotten other people eliminated in previous seasons. Though to be fair, most of the time there would be someone worse up for elimination with him, and he did have his share of good makeups.
Cross the Line Twice: Many of the models' action as their character on stage can be counted as this. This is due to the nature of the show requires them to dress as different creatures weeks after weeks. Special mention should go to season 8 Darla's model in the creepy doll challenge who continuously smashes her prosthetic forehead to the back of a hand mirror while already dressed as a creepy porcelain doll.
Elimination Houdini: Season 4's Autumn was a complete Jerkass who was impossible to work with and put up consistently terrible makeups, yet she made it to eighth place. Season 6's Matt and Cat are also noticeable examples: they were in the bottom looks for four times without making any top looks yet they made it to the sixth and seventh episode respectively.
An in-universe example would be Meg from season 9 who herself turned this into a Running Gag. Ironically, Jason from the same season seems to take this trope as he was only eliminated after spend his fourth week in a row at bottom look.
Ensemble Dark Horse: A lot of the recurring models have their own fanbase for being ridiculously attractive and committed to the show.
Heartwarming in Hindsight: During the Frankenstein challenge of season 5, Laura asks Tate if he can model his left hand for her to make a sort of "bodypunk" umbrella handle. He agrees, and says in the talking head interview: "I don't really have time for this, but I would love help from her at some point, and I will call that card in." In the end, he didn't even have to. When that same left hand got smashed by his massive mold in that season's Living Art challenge and he had to be hospitalized, Laura was the first (along with Roy) of the people who led the effort to get his mold emptied and latexed so he wouldn't be screwed over by his accident. Especially poignant in that the execution of it that he managed to do thanks to the time she and the others saved him wound up saving him from elimination, because his concept got him on the bottom for missing the point of surrealism. He was spared from elimination because, while it missed the mark, it was still an amazing makeup.
Ho Yay: George and Cig have a lot of this in season 11, particularly on George's part. They walk into the competition holding hands and after they have to work as individuals, George has a difficult time. After having worked with Cig all season long, George says that he doesn't want to compete against his best friend, but almost immediately after he says it feels like he lost his other half.
Memetic Mutation: The Ben T-shirts, in universe. Since Season 11 has the allstars work in pairs for the majority of the season, team Ben and Evan made Tshirts of their faces, which they wore every episode. When the teams formed into two super teams, they gave Cig and George a shirt each, which they redesigned to resemble themselves. Over the next few episodes, contestants who were not part of Ben and Evan's super team would be wearing the shirts, such as Emily in episode eleven (who was not wearing that shirt before walking onto the main stage), and Logan in episode 12, leaving only Tyler as the remaining contestant who had not worn the shirt at least once.
Shocking Elimination: Sometimes the artists remaining are depressed by the elimination of one of their friends, or sometimes even their siblings.
One of the more recent people who experienced this was Vince, who was in the top looks for the first two weeks, was safe the third, and was in the bottom in the fourth week for the first time and was eliminated.
Heather in season 2. She was in top look for three episodes, safe for two and eliminated the first time she falls into the bottom.
One of the most well known examples of these was season 4's Eric Fox. A fan and judge favorite, he fell just one episode short of reaching the finals.
Divide And Conquer's Faina who was eliminated just before the finale despite only having one weak makeup in the entire competition.
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.
Not a huge example, but Daran having a really sucky birthday week. The day before reveal day in the "Industrial Revolution" episode of season 6, the other contestants got him his favorite red velvet cupcakes for his birthday (which he admitted he had forgotten about). The next day he reveals by far the lamest creation of the episode (and even though that's not saying much considering the awesome top three, it was still really awful), getting him slammed by the judges and ultimately kicked off. He took it very well, but it's still hard not to feel sorry for the guy, especially since he was clearly out of his element (though the judges made a convincing argument that he let that sentiment get in the way more than he should have). Hell, there wasn't even a contest with him. The Judges opted not to do the usual bottom two drama by stating flat out that Daran's work was the only contender for worst.
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.
Worse still, Cat got eliminated the week before they all got to go to Japan, which, according to Niko, is one of her dreams.
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 newcoming contestants, on the other hand, were less than pleased, but still up for the challenge.
Season 12's "FX shop" thing wasn't well-received by many people, since it didn't allow the contestants to showcase their individual creativity and skills. At first it also seemed like a strategy to build up drama among the teammates, with previews amping up arguments that, in the actual episodes, were solved rather quickly with no lasting impact.
Uncanny Valley: Some of the less successful make ups for "Switched & Hitched", "Triple Threat" and "Covert Characters" could be considered this.
For the Toy Challenge, Robert and Yvonne's character fell into that valley.
Ben's "Inappropriate Uncle" from the Season 9 semifinal, which won top looks thanks to purest Creep Factor.