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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Because of how rushed it was, some viewers questioned if Sunset Shimmer was really remorseful of her crimes and wanted to be redeemed or was just faking it to gain sympathy and avoid any serious punishment. Rainbow Rocks shows that her remorse is shown to be genuine. There is also the question of if her brainwashing the school and invading Equestria was her original plan or just due to her mind being corrupted by magic. Though really that just swaps one question with another: Did her sense of remorse actually come from her, or did the Care-Bear Stare nuking she get rewire her mind?
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  • Anti-Climax Boss: A common complaint about the climax of the movie is that the battle with the raging she-demon form of Sunset Shimmer is over far too quickly. The sequels addressed this by making their climaxes longer and with higher stakes.
  • Ass Pull: The climax reveals that Twilight doesn't even need the other five Elements of Harmony to be present to tap into their power; it seems like the power of the bond Twilight shared with the human versions of her friends was sufficient to not only allow Twilight to reclaim the powers of the Element of Magic but also summon the powers of the other five elements... which has no basis in the show's actual canon. Sort of but not really justified by the complete lack of any explanation on how the Elements actually work in the show anyway, and by a Hand Wave from Sunset Shimmer that taking the Elements of Harmony into a world where they don't belong affects their powers (don't ask how she knows that).
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  • Awesome Music: The rather innocuously-titled "Cafeteria Song" features a catchy beat and a pep rally-ish rhythm. Plot-wise, it acts as the turning point in the story where Sunset Shimmer's grip on the school slowly begins to break.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Sunset Shimmer. Haters point to her stereotypical Alpha Bitch personality, lack of depth, and similarity to other, more popular Friendship is Magic villains, while fans point to her awesome design and the potential for her backstory with Celestia. She grew out of this status with Rainbow Rocks giving her Character Development.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene with Trixie and the vending machine. It doesn't really do much to advance the plot and it seems to be there for pandering.
  • Cliché Storm: A new girl adjusting to school! Bumping into a cute Nice Guy! Who plays guitar! And is the former boyfriend of a popular girl with a snotty attitude! They share a Third-Act Misunderstanding! A school dance! Clique drama! All these high school tropes, and more! Subverted by the end, however, when it has a Genre Shift.
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  • Critical Backlash: After receiving massive controversy, the movie's objective quality (nothing to write home about but inoffensive ) didn't seem so bad, and it was successful enough to warrant sequels that were better received.
  • Die for Our Ship: A One-Shot Character? Having a canonical (if temporary) relationship with Twilight Sparkle? In a series as thickly saturated with shipping as Friendship Is Magic? Yeah, poor Flash Sentry never had a chance. Hell, he was hit with endless amounts of bile even before the movie aired — before anyone even knew his name, for a picture of stock vectors of him and Twilight standing together — in what may be the fastest case of this happening to any character in any show.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Normal Norman notable for being one of the few humans in the movie to sport a realistic skin tone.
    • Amongst the female background humans, Mystery Mint seems to garner the most attention.
  • Evil Is Cool: It's mostly agreed that Sunset Shimmer is one of the best part of the movie. Despite her Heel–Face Turn in Rainbow Rocks, a part of the fanbase prefers her as a villain, finding her too bland after her reformation compared to her snarky and manipulative Alpha Bitch depiction here.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Sunset Shimmer's design, if not necessarily her characterization, was warmly embraced. Even more her demon form, which wears a fiery dress cut low on the breast and high on the leg.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • The thought of there being other mirrors that lead to different worlds other than a human world. Even as is, there's now an excuse for "Human in Equestria"/vice versa fanfics.
    • Both Pinkie and her Alternate Self know of the existence of other worlds, and it's implied they share some kind of mind link. The potential there is just staggering...
    • While it is very disappointing that Sunset Shimmer lacks a real character beyond being an evil Alpha Bitch, the potential for any story about her is immense whether it's exploring her time under Celestia, the time between her leaving Equestria and the beginning of Equestria Girls, or the aftermath of Equestria Girls.
    • Similarly, those not turned off by Flash Sentry becoming Twilight's crush or his lack of character can now explore any potential backstory regarding him, like what his relationship with Sunset was like before they broke up or explore his Equestrian counterpart's backstory or potential relationship with Twilight.
    • The existence of a Twilight Sparkle native to the human world. The Stinger of Rainbow Rocks confirms this, and she has a major role in Friendship Games and Legend of Everfree.
    • The existence of other villains (such as Nightmare Moon, Discord, and King Sombra) native to the human world.
    • The identity of the mystery writer who sent Derpy the letter that made her blush has fueled endless speculation.
  • Foe Yay: Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle. Sunset has a bit of of an antagonistic obsession with Twilight, and some her interactions with her (like the moment Sunset lifted Twilight's chin with her finger), look like aggressive flirting. Not to mention their relationship developed into Les Yay/Romantic Two-Girl Friendship in the second movie.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • One of the movies' criticisms was how the final fight was unsatisfyingly short and one-sided, despite a Curb-Stomp Battle once The Power of Friendship (or such) was unleashed being par for the series. Why was it a problem here? 1). The series would build up to the climax, while here, what enabled the climax (magical super modes) came so out of the blue as to be an Ass Pull. 2). Those turned off by the human High School A.U. premise felt it was the one interesting part, which by holding it out till the end, wasted much of its potential. This got bad enough that the sequel went out of the way to atone by parodyingnote  and averting the series' tendency to such "fights".
    • Within the franchise itself, Juniper Montage's easy defeat in Mirror Magic is quite similar to Sunset Shimmer's. Both transform into One Winged Angels, threaten evil without actually doing anything, get beaten quickly and then Easily Forgiven. However Sunset had the benefit of an entire movie devoted to her redemption - and the conflict over her transformation - and still had an interesting backstory as a former student of Celestia's. Juniper meanwhile had none of these things.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • After watching Rainbow Rocks, Twilight telling the defeated Sunset that the other students will never accept her again can come off as quite a bit nastier.
    • Nicole Oliver's character, Princess Celestia, tells how she lost a girl she cared about because she ran away without explanation and Celestia hoped that one day she would return to seek her guidance. In The Haunting Hour, she plays a mother with this same problem. Only, the results were a lot darker on that show.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Equestria Girls commercial. For starters, Spike, who was parodying Snoop Dogg's lines in the commercial, is now a dog.
    • Now that it's been revealed that Spike is a talking dog, suddenly this video makes more sense.
    • Numerous fanfictions had touched on this concept before. Now it is canon.
    • The movie makes a pretty big deal about Twilight having to get her crown back (which was more about getting back the Element of Magic than the crown itself), but the whole "You have to get your crown back!" plot seems silly when in the very next animated adventure the Mane Six return the Elements of Harmony to their source and Twilight just gets a new, so far magic-less crown to replace the one that once held the Element of Magic.
    • Rarity tells Twilight "If I had a crown like that, I'd never take it off. I'd sleep in it!" In the Season 4 finale, we see Celestia sleeps in her royal regalia.
    • Princess Twilight goes to the human world, which is in a different universe than Equestria. In other words, she becomes a magical princess from another dimension.
  • Idiot Plot: If any of the friends had talked at all about the things that caused them to drift apart - a simple text asking what happened - Sunset Shimmer could have been exposed sooner.
  • It Was His Sled: You'd know Sunset Shimmer reforms by the end of this after seeing her be friendly with the rest of the Mane Six in later installments. She's even front and center of the cover of Friendship Games with a decidedly more heroic look.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Some fans see Sunset Shimmer as this after her apparent remorse at the near end of the movie. Helping is that the sequel fully embraces The Woobie part.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Plenty of people only watched this to see what Human Derpy would look like. She literally does nothing but walk across the cafeteria halfway through the movie, then dance with a muffin at way in the back during the cafeteria song, and then again at the very end of the credits.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • These deranged and hilarious YouTube videos.
    • Twilight Sparkle's horrified reaction at her new form has become quite exploitable.
    • There's also Fluttershy's WTF expression that she gives Twilight when she sees her eating an apple like a horse.
    • Another popular exploitable is Trixie holding anything from pinecones to marijuana.explanation 
    • Sunset Shimmer's portrayal has earned her the nickname "Sunset motherfuckin' Shimmer" among members of the fandom, mainly because of the similarities they found with Gary Oak.
    • Flash Sentry, the Waifu thiefexplanation 
    • Flash Sentry, Savior of the Universe! (Flash Sentry shares a first name with Flash Gordon)
    • Normal Norman, the name of the guy with the knit hat and reddish jacket, partially due to that he lacked any obvious "cutie mark" equivalent for the human world. Also add that he's seen talking friendly with no less than three of the background female characters, suggesting he forgot to turn off his swag.
  • Misblamed: People were quick to blame Equestria Girls for impacting the episode count of Season 3, even though the actual reason for Season 3's 13 episode count is because Hasbro was undecided on whether or not they wanted to continue the show past the standard 65 episodes that many animated shows get (26 + 26 + 13 = 65).
  • Narm:
    • During the film's climax, a Wilhelm scream is heard, ruining the mood of the dramatic scene.
    • There's also Demon Sunset Shimmer saying "spoiler alert!"
    • The franchise's naming schemes are a bit harder to take when applied to humans.
  • Never Live It Down: The relation between Twilight and Flash extends to just a crush and nothing more. However, the fans bash upon Flash Sentry like it he did more than just that and give him the title of "Waifu Thief".
  • One-Scene Wonder: Trixie's cameo at the vending machine lasts barely 15 seconds, but it's one of the most remembered parts of the film.
  • Pandering to the Base: Two different reactions came from the amount of Fandom drops that were in the movie:
    • The more accepting fans see the fandom drops as a great nod to them, and quite enjoyed moments such as the Cutie Mark Crusaders dancing to their theme song or the appearances of Derpy. They saw this as a way to Win Back the Crowd from the Audience-Alienating Premise, and plenty watched just for the appearances. As a positive review put it, the movie "Lets bronies know they were not forgotten."
    • The less accepting fans see the pandering as a blatant attempt to cover up what they perceive as bad writing, and feel insulted.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Averted with Twilight and Flash Sentry. Even though they develop a crush on each other, the film never goes beyond that. They don't kiss, hold hands or say goodbye. They share one dance and that's all, and ends up dwindling even further through the next two installments to the point that it's basically irrelevant by the third chapter.
  • The Scrappy: Flash Sentry, Twilight's new male friend, managed to become this before the movie even premiered! Some bronies feared he'd become her boyfriend. While he doesn't outright become her boyfriend and instead is shown as a crush, Celestia have mercy on his soul, for the shippers will not. Even some who aren't shippers feel he's a Romantic Plot Tumor, or just part of the High School Cliché Storm. Even aside from shipping concerns, a lot of people dislike him simply for being nearly irrelevant to the plot. There are only two scenes in the movie where he's relevant (joining the mane six in "Cafeteria song" with his guitar which helps boost the song's effect, and when he finds photographs that prove Twilight didn't wreck the gym). It's to the point where some people were convinced that he was a product of Executive Meddling and was edited into the movie.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus appears to be that while the movie did turn out better than expected and is enjoyable (just look at the Moments pages), it's not as good as some of the better episodes of Friendship Is Magic.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Twilight, despite never having shown romantic interest in anyone before, bumps into a random guy (Flash Sentry) several times and immediately starts crushing on him, despite knowing nothing about him, the fact that he does nothing noteworthy that would garner her affections, and that he's of a completely different species (who may be younger than her). Then she starts crushing on his pony counterpart, whom she knows even less about.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The background track that plays during Twilight Sparkle's football match against Rainbow Dash uncannily copies from Elvis Presley and his "A Little Less Conversation", referencing this commercial.
    • Daniel Ingram's remix of the title theme seems to be an homage to the remix by DJ Alex S.
  • They Changed It, So It Sucks: Likely the reason it received unprecedented fan backlash from the mere concept of being a humanized High School A.U.. It died down once it became clear it kept what made the parent series well received, and was in no way replacing it.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The most common criticism is that the two new characters — Sunset Shimmer and Flash Sentry — come off as a little flat and could have benefited from more development or focus. Even those that did like them wish they were given more character and didn't adhere so much to their High School Cliché Storm roles.
    • Towards the end, Sunset Shimmer has a Heel–Face Turn, yet is still left behind in the human world by Twilight Sparkle and Spike, and we're not even told whether Sunset voluntarily chose to stay, or if she was left there as punishment. If anything, it just seems like a shoddy excuse to keep The Movie as self-contained as possible.
    • Sunset Shimmer's premise alone was wasted. Her being Celestia's first personal student (implying that Celestia intended her to be the bearer of the Elements of Magic), though admittedly cliché, implies that she is Twilight's only equal if not superior in the magic arts... and she is introduced and reformed in a setting where Sunset and Twilight can never truly duke it out horn-to-horn. At least Rainbow Rocks made her into a compelling heroic characcter. The part about battling gets remedied in Friendship Games, horns and all.
    • And then there's the pony Flash Sentry, which we can assume would be characterized like the human, and could be an interesting addition to the mix of male characters in the show — he's only made brief cameos in the show and comics since then and none of them involve Twilight. So much for giving Twilight a love interest.
    • Pony Celestia proved herself to be just Mr. Exposition and didn't do anything else beyond just dropping exposition, which also wasted a possibility of closing off the "former student" subplot that they made.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Sunset Shimmer driving the Humane Five apart is something that happened offscreen - and it was done with rather mundane Alpha Bitch moves that a preteen could have uncovered. Driving the friends apart is actually a pretty impressive accomplishment, and could have been used to show Sunset as a legitimate threat instead of Generic Doomsday Villain.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Sunset Shimmer is intentionally unsympathetic up until the finale, where the only evidence to support her Heel–Face Turn due to the crown corrupting her to do things (like murder) she was unwilling to do otherwise and guilt over it, was her unwillingness to harm Spike. A textbook case from How Not To Write A Novel, that one positive moment was viewed as insufficient compared to all her cruelty throughout the movie and backstory that her forgiveness seemed undeserved. Contrast Princess Luna, whom despite worse, HAD such sympathetic reasons her Heel–Face Turn was uncontroversial. Rainbow Rocks addressed this by having Sunset's attempts to prove she was reformed the main subplot.
  • Win Back the Crowd: The second trailer received more positive reception, and leaked camera phone images from the late part of the movie (from a 4chan'er who had to see the movie but had no interest in the show) further pushed some in the "win" column.
  • The Woobie:
    • Twilight Sparkle. It's bad enough that she's really awkward with her new body and doesn't fit in the school right away, but Sunset Shimmer makes things more difficult by uploading a video of her onto YouTube that makes her seem like she's mentally unstable... Or has a mental disorder. Basically, she's been cyber-bullied In-universe.
    • Fluttershy. She's prone to this in the main universe anyway, but here it's shown that not having the steady circle of friends she has in Ponyville hasn't been good for her. The flashback to how Fluttershy got the Element of Magic involves her collapsing into a heap and crying because she can't get anyone to care about the animal shelter she volunteers at.

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