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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Valiente just a testosterone-fueled Jerkass, or a Drill Sergeant Nasty who is honestly doing what he thinks is necessary to survive? Given what he knows, the world really is just a choice between being strong and having a chance against the matador or being weak and just being sent to the butcher. Once he realizes that the bull never wins he turns around and becomes The Ace in less than half a scene.
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  • Americans Hate Tingle: While it's doing reasonably well in Spain, Portugal and other countries where bullfighting is still popular, Moral Guardians and celebrities of all sorts have their veins boiling with lava at this movie because it portrays bullfighting for the sociopathic sport that it is.
  • Awesome Music: This movie has "Home", a beautiful, uplifting Award-Bait Song sung by Nick Jonas.
  • Base-Breaking Character. Lupe the goat. Some love her while others see her as the unholy offspring of Sid The Sloth and Flo from the Progressive Direct commercials.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The bulls having a dance off against the horses. It's bizarre and strange, and it's never referenced again afterwards.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Ferdinand discovering that "the bull never wins" is meant to be a big shocking plot twist, but to those who know the first thing about bullfights, it comes off as no surprise whatsoever.
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  • Critical Dissonance: It has a 71% "Fresh" rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but an audience rating of only 49% there.
  • Designated Villain: The ranch hands. They take quite a lot of physical abuse before all's said and done, but they're just doing their jobs.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Ferdinand earns his freedom and returns home, along with all of his friends. However, the bull fights are still going on, and thousands like them will continue to die in the ring. Though it's likely that Ferdinand's stand would at least lead to changes in the way people see or conduct future bull fights, creating a small but ultimately positive difference.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Fighting isn’t strength, which is a good moral, but fighting in self-defense also being wrong is a bit dubious.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film did particularly well in Sweden, where the original short film is broadcast every Christmas Eve as part of the Disney special From All Of Us.
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  • He Really Can Act: John Cena's warm and surprisingly sensitive performance as the title character ended up being widely praised by critics, even those who didn't think the movie was particularly great.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the Japanese dub, the titular hero is voiced by Ryotaro Okiayu, whose most famous role was as Alucard in the Castlevania franchise, and especially in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, when he have to face many bull-like enemies through the game. In this film, he voice a literal bull this time.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Bones becomes this when he starts crying over Guapo's supposed death. Later on, he's quick to transition into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Doctor Who and DuckTales (2017) fans want to see the movie due to David Tennant's role.
  • Narm: The slaughterhouse is a dark and dreaded place, the final destination of all bulls considered unfit to fight in the ring. When we actually get inside, it turns out to be an unrealistically goofy Conveyer Belt Of Doom.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general opinion seems to be that the film isn't particularly spectacular, but it's still a fun movie, bookended by a great beginning and ending, and if nothing else, has John Cena giving a surprisingly heartfelt performance.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Don't conform to harmful stereotypes of what you should be, especially if they'll get you killed; as Ferdinand learns to his horror, the bull never wins the bullfight, so be they tough or soft, every bull who competes in the ring is doomed.
    • Similarly, It's okay not to conform to gender stereotypes (like men being tough and unemotional), as the scene where Ferdinand comforts Bones after Guapo is taken to the slaughterhouse shows. Cruel and haughty demeanor is harmful, but there's also nothing inherently wrong with being assertive, competitive, and tough. Ultimately, the film concludes, that as long as you're courageous, altruistic and benevolent, there's no wrong way to be a guy.
    • Also, bullfighting is a blood-sport that's based on teasing and killing a bull for entertainment. The movie was controversial in Spain for this reason, since bullfighting is a beloved sport there. The fact this is an American film doesn't help matters either.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: All of Ferdinand's interactions with his owner Nina are just too cute!
  • Tainted by the Preview: A good chunk of the early teasers and trailers did not portray the movie in a good light, focusing more on the slapstick and funny animal elements. While there's plenty of this, the actual movie is a very sweet and bold tale involving bullfighting and bonding.
  • Trailer Joke Decay: The "bull in a china shop" bit. Despite being a brief, unimportant (albeit technically impressive) scene, it's splashed all over the marketing and interviews, and the crew generally seems to be under the impression that it's funnier than it is.
  • Unfortunate Implications: All the sympathetic characters have American or British accents, while the more antagonistic characters are the ones to have actual Spanish accents. The movie as a whole can be constructed as anti-Spain.
  • Viewer Species Confusion: Dos looks a bit more like a stereotypical rat than a hedgehog.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Subverted. Casting John Cena as the lead character, at first, feels like Stunt Casting until you realize how much it makes sense for someone who fake-fights for a living to play a character who has to fake a fight. Come the actual movie, his acting was actually held up as one of the more redeeming things about it. In fact, Cena was a failed voice actor before becoming a wrestler.
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