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  • 8.8: Bordering on He Panned It, Now He Sucks!, an IGN journalist got a lot of backlash for giving the film a 3.5 note , with many accusing them of focusing too much on trivial details and inaccurately representing the show that the film was based on, despite claims to have seen the series before. Given the existence of Seaquestria and its significance to the plot, jokes about "too much water" were inevitable.
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  • Accidental Innuendo: The Storm King enjoys playing with his staff.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Was Klugetown's slave and body part trafficking a result of the Storm King's rule, or something they still would have done or did regardless? Was it legal, or illicit but operating brazenly due to corrupt leadership? Was it due to Klugetown's unique status as a Wretched Hive, or is it indicative of civilization outside Equestria?
    • Was Twilight losing her temper at the other five a result of Pinkie calling out her misdeeds and her not willing to accept responsibility, or the buildup of stress that came from having to endure her friends not taking things as seriously as they ought to and snapping in a moment of rashness? Was Twilight projecting her own insecurities onto her friends, given that she could have intervened and used her magic many times where she instead just stood there and cringed?
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    • Was the flashback of Tempest's friends shunning her for her broken horn really true, or simply a Self-Serving Memory? The prequel comic seems to support this by portraying them as more sympathetic.
    • Was the Storm King being Stupid Evil for backstabbing Tempest Shadow, or could he not fulfill his deal to restore her horn even if he wanted to, and thus there was no way or reason to keep up the act? Did he only pretend to accept Grubber's explanation for her "show all of them what I can do" comment and in actuality suspected she might backstab him if he gave her what she wanted after Strife's betrayal in the prequel comic? Were his actions in the movie at odds with his comic portrayal as a Pragmatic Villain, or did he become Drunk with Power or was this his true nature that he let loose once he thought Nothing Can Stop Me Now?
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    • Some have jokingly interpreted the Storm King as an Author Avatar for Hasbro's marketing department. He is fully aware of and embraces his villain status, apparently sells merchandise of himself abroad, is interested in making everyone work for him moving said merchandise, and is conscious of his brand image and actively works to reinforce it with everything he does including his name.
    • Did Derpy Hooves perform a Heroic Sacrifice for Twilight by jumping in front of Tempest's magic orb, or was she trying to flee the invasion and just accidentally ran in front of Twilight at the right time? She's definitely good-hearted enough to do the former, but her klutziness could explain the latter. However, the script confirms that she did indeed try to save Twilight; Rainbow Dash simply got to her first.
    • Twilight befriending Tempest Shadow in the climax. Was it more pragmatic than appears? Tempest had shown herself to be quite powerful and effective in battle. As she had essentially been disowned by the Storm King, was Twilight thinking of a potential ally if the battle got worse?
    • Celestia rather easily leads herself open to attack and is the second princess to be petrified. Did she just panic at the shock of seeing it happen to Cadence? Or did she realise that as the strongest princess, she'd be the easiest target, and was pulling a Heroic Sacrifice in the hopes that Luna and Twilight would be able to get to safety?
    • Luna not bothering to check her surroundings when attempting to escape Canterlot leading to her getting petrified. Was she too focused on escaping Canterlot to notice? Or did she think that since Tempest needs them alive for their magic, and didn't think that the latter would have the guts to petrify her in the air with no one to catch her and risk failing her own mission?
    • Queen Novo forgiving the attempted theft of her pearl; done out of altruism or pragmatism as holding a grudge against Twilight who had become a hero to her actions which Novo opposed would have destroyed her support as Queen otherwise?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Despite the fact that their home has just been attacked and conquered by an invading force, their friends' lives are in danger and are forced to leave their home on such short notice, the Mane Six don't appear all that concerned or upset about the whole ordeal. It's lampshaded later on when Twilight calls out her friends for their unnecessary cheerfulness and not taking the journey more seriously. However, the Mane Six's staying true to their friendliness despite difficulties is what ultimately saves the day come the end.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Compared to other villains of the series like Tirek or Discord, the Storm King comes off as an underwhelming disappointment. He doesn't show up until halfway in the movie and once he finally does show up, his performance is pretty lackluster. He falls into the typical villain traps, and despite having the combined magical power of the Princesses in his staff, the Storm King is easily thwarted by the good guys, who by the way had no special powers of their own (or at least didn't try to use them).
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • One of the complaints fans had with the initial official posters and trailers was that the Celebrity Voice Actors were listed in favor of the show's regular voice actors. At San Diego Comic-Con, Hasbro released a poster that gave the Mane 6 voice actors top billing instead. From that point on, the Mane Cast actors started getting advertised in individual posters, the official website, and even the second full trailer.
    • A major issue lots of fans have with the show's treatment of villains is that some of them get redeemed too easily without earning it. Even fan favorite Sunset Shimmer was only Rescued from the Scrappy Heap after she had to earn her redemption. Tempest Shadow does not earn her redemption until she pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice, defeating the Storm King in the process and with the full knowledge that she could be petrified forever.
    • For those who disliked "A Canterlot Wedding" for the Mane Five abandoning Twilight, the movie mitigated this by acknowledging how Both Sides Have a Point but at the same time, what they've done wrong: Twilight was wrong for trying to steal Queen Novo's pearl and chasing her friends off, but had every right to be angry at them for not taking anything they've gone through seriously; the Mane Five had every right to be hurt and angered by Twilight's actions, but were wrong for letting Twilight get abducted. It also helps that the Mane Five were about to look for Twilight and immediately went off to rescue her once they discovered Twilight was caught, with both sides apologising upon reunion.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The first song released from the official soundtrack, "Rainbow" (as sung by Sia, the voice of Songbird Serenade), definitely qualifies. It's simply gorgeous.
    • The rest of the soundtrack follows suit. From the heartwarming "We Got This Together", to Capper's solo "I'm The Friend You Need", to Rainbow Dash and Captain Celaeno's confidence-boosting "Time To Be Awesome", to the upbeat and perky "One Small Thing", to Tempest Shadow's haunting Villain Song "Open Up Your Eyes", there's plenty to enjoy. The tracks provided by the various celebrity artists don't slack in the quality department, either — each of them is epic in their own way, all of them having the unifying theme of friendship within them.
    • Rachel Platten's ponified cover of "We Got the Beat."
  • Badass Decay:
    • Throughout the movie, Twilight Sparkle is only shown using basic levitation, illumination and magic blasts despite her huge repertoire of spells in the show proper. When captured by Tempest Shadow's cage, she doesn't attempt anything beyond blasting it with magic when she could have easily just attempted a teleportation spell, no matter how well that would have turned out in the end.
    • Applejack has Super Strength and is second only to Rainbow Dash in terms of athleticism, while Fluttershy has gone through plenty of Character Development in the show and has been known to keep up with Rainbow Dash when motivated enough. Come the final battle, Applejack's only method of offense is lassoing a bunch of minions, and Fluttershy's only contribution is comforting a minion in what's obviously supposed to be a gag.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Capper, the bipedal anthropomorphic cat, is so far the most controversial character to be revealed. Some find it odd to see a full-blown Funny Animal in the series, as opposed to the usual Civilized Animals we see, complete with accusations of both pandering to the Furry Fandom and trying to ride the coattails of Zootopia (not helping is that it was stated that Capper's a Con Man, much like Nick Wilde from said film). Others find the character to be interesting and unique and point out that anthropomorphic cats have appeared in G1 in the form of the villainess Catrina as well as in the IDW comic book as the cat-like denizens of Wuvy-Dovey Land. Some even consider it to be rather hypocritical considering nobody batted an eye towards the Diamond Dogs (though that may have been because they were more hunched over and ape-like than upright walking Funny Animals).
    • Tempest Shadow. Some find her design interesting, others think she looks like a typical "edgy" OC, with black and red color patterns, a scarred face, and a broken horn. The fact that she was described as having a "troubled past", another common trend with bad OCs, didn't help. And when her prequel novel (The Stormy Road to Canterlot) came out, the base got even more broken — some did indeed see her as a genuine Jerkass Woobie because of her unique Fictional Disability, but others just saw her as Unintentionally Unsympathetic and Wangsty in the same vein as Starlight Glimmer when her own Freudian Excuse came out.
    • The Storm King's portrayal compared to the prequel comics. While there are those who appreciate having a main villain who manages to be funny and genuinely threatening at the same time, others decry how the comics depicted him as a pragmatic, savvy chessmaster, only for the movie to turn him into a Stupid Evil villain who causes his own downfall due to his poor choices regarding Tempest.
    • Grubber can be seen as funny, or an annoying tagalong who doesn't do anything aside from making stupid jokes.
    • The Mane Six themselves. Are they perfectly in-character enough for you to enjoy them like you normally do, or have they been simplified too much to even sympathize with them?
    • Queen Novo seems to be the least-liked new character. She's seen as the main source of the They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot regarding both the Seaponies/Hippogriffs (excluding Princess Skystar) and the Pearl of Transformation, not to mention her Bystander Syndrome that can make her come across as Unintentionally Unsympathetic — as well as her role in the Third-Act Misunderstanding, which involves nearly drowning the Mane Six and Spike over something only Twilight did. Her defenders state that she was convinced to help Mane Six after Pinkie’s "One Small Thing" number, until Twilight was caught in her attempt to steal the pearl. And given the mysterious and unexplained absence of the Hippogriff King (Novo’s husband and Skystar’s father), she might have reason to be initially wary of them since the whole reason they were in hiding the first place was because they let in an outsider who repaid their generosity by stealing their pearl. Her detractors still stated that her response to the whole situation is still too extreme as she could had put them in prison or on trial first to let them explain themselves before jumping straight to death by drowning. It doesn't help that both sides agree that it's a massive case of Poor Communication Kills on both ends: The former group saying that the Mane Six made themselves out as normal refugees instead of emissaries from Celestia which didn't help their case while the latter group states that Queen Novo didn't go into detail nor explain as to why they can't help (other than wanting to keep her Pearl of Transformation from falling into the Storm King's clutches), making her people (except Skystar) look like apathetic jerks.
  • Broken Base:
    • The film's official soundtrack, released three weeks before the film, was criticized by some fans as short-sighting Daniel Ingram's music in favor of Oscar Bait-y-type music from celebrity musicians, only one of whom makes an actual appearance in the film. The fact that none of Ingram's film score appears in the soundtrack doesn't help matters.note  While some see this as Hasbro trying to broaden the movie's appeal, others have pointed fingers at the soundtrack's distributor, Sony Music, believing that the featured artists were shoe-horned into the compilation to sell as many copies as possible.
    • The Princesses get taken out easily at the beginning of the movie. Again. Some are okay with it as it serves the plot, establishes the stakes, and they'd be too much to focus on along with the rest of the cast. Others are not happy about continuing something the show gets flack for or that the villains are arbitrarily given a Story-Breaker Power solely to facilitate this.
    • The movie itself. Some are fine with the movie as is, enjoying the animation style, the world-building outside of Equestria, the in-movie soundtrack, and the overall new cast of characters, while others aren't satisfied with the movie's Cliché Storm of a plot, the entirety of Equestria suffering The Worf Effect, and the journey to recruit the Hippogriffs being a "Shaggy Dog" Story because of Twilight's actions.
    • And speaking of Twilight's actions... hoo boy! First off, you have the camps that lambaste her decisions in trying to steal the Pearl of Transformation and yelling at her friends as her being Out of Character. Then you have those that say her decisions were justified in that their ways of friendship weren't working outside of Equestria and she was getting desperate, not at all helped by said friends not treating the situation seriously. Then there's the third group that agrees that Both Sides Have a Point, where Twilight shouldn't have done what she did but the others should have been more empathetic to Twilight's plight and noticed her growing doubts. Even that last group is broken up into more camps; some say it's an Author's Saving Throw in regards to "Canterlot Wedding's" portrayal of a near-falling out, while others hate it for that same reason and for being a forced excuse for getting Twilight alone and captured by Tempest. Long story short, this is an argument nobody can win no matter how hard they tried.
    • The Mane Six's overall characterization in the movie. Were they flanderized, or is it Character Rerailment? The former camp, which consists of people who liked the show since the beginning, say that the movie deliberately sacrificed over seven seasons of Hidden Depths and Character Development for a cliched plot and didn't appreciate this being done, seeing it as mere laziness on part of the staff to write a better story at best, or a disservice to the characters they watched grow with them at worst. The latter, which conversely consists of fans of the earlier seasons who see the Mane Six's development as depriving of them of their signature quirks, see this as a welcome return for the ponies they fell in love with years ago and added to the story and the movies' entertainment value while still giving them what they saw as a satisfying story, which they argue wouldn't have been possible with the current Mane Six.
  • Cliché Storm: No pun intended. This movie apologetically plays all of the cliches of every single children's movie right to the hilt — such as the Hero's Journey, Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure, Disney Death, Disney Villain Death, Save the Villain, Heroic Sacrifice — and in some cases, plays its own cliches too much.
  • Critical Dissonance:
    • Critics have been decidedly mixed on the film, while audience scores have been a lot higher. It's best put by the film's critics' consensus on Rotten Tomatoes:
      "Charming and sweet, My Little Pony: The Movie will please its dedicated fanbase, even if it's unlikely to encourage non-devotees to gallop along for the ride."
    • Rotten Tomatoes is also a good view in general of how polarizing it is with a 50% rotten critic score but a 87% fresh and average score of 4 out of 5 stars from the audience ratings as of this edit.
    • There is also a drastically different reception to Daniel Ingram's musical sequences in the movie between the fans and the critics, though it very likely ties in to reception to the film itself. After all, if you don't like a musical movie or play very much, you probably won't like the musical sequences much either.
  • Ear Worm:
    • The song in the first trailer, "Off to See the World" by Lukas Graham, has left many a viewer clamoring to hear more of it, especially since the single wasn't even released by the time the trailer came out.
    • "One Small Thing" is easily the catchiest song in the movie - since it evokes a Busby Berkeley Number. There are reports of people literally dancing in their seats when this song played.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • The idea of a major character such as Celestia being Killed Off for Real, similar to Optimus Prime in The Transformers: The Movie, a previous animated film based on a Hasbro product, seems to be a popular prediction. Someone dies, but it's not a major recurring character.
    • The Storm King being reformed at the end. While villains getting reformed isn't anything new to the series, most fans base this prediction off of one bit of footage from the official trailer, where the Storm King hugs Twilight and Tempest and mockingly refers to the concept of friendship. He actually doesn't reform; in fact, he's the one who dies at the end.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Most everyone agrees Tempest Shadow is the best part of the movie. Equestria Daily had a poll on which new movie character was the favorite, and later pulled the poll and restarted it excluding Tempest, because after only two days she already winning with more than 56% of the vote, whereas second place, Capper, only had 13%. Her song is also widely agreed to be the best one.
    • Those who pay no mind to the Storm King's seemingly Anti-Climax Boss status find him to be a delightfully entertaining villain. Even acknowledging that he's one of the most accomplished, dangerous, and powerful villains in the franchise.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • The fate and resolution of the movie characters after the Dance Party Ending. Not to mention, with the Storm King probably dead, what is going to happen to all of the lands he had conquered, including a certain Klugetown should Celestia catch wind of what is going on down there...
    • How did other notable allies of a post Season 7 Equestria fare against the Storm King's invasion? Shining Armor, Ember, Thorax and the Pillars of Old Equestria are the biggest examples.
    • Skystar's father was never mentioned at all, even in supplementary material. What could have happened to him?
  • Fanon: What is Tempest Shadow's cutie mark? The fandom has variously depicted it as (1) the Storm King's logo; (2) nothing, she's a blank flank; (3) fireworks; or (4) an ice cream float, like the G3 pony Fizzy Pop, whom she was named after.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The meh reception even from those who liked it, questionable characterizations and plot developments, seeming disregard for the show's continuity, and failing to do anything meaningful compared to the show has caused many fans to ignore the events of the movie. Despite Word of God that is was canon, fans were very surprised Season 8 of the show confirmed its canonicity by extensively referencing the movie's events. Since it glosses over the events proper, even seemingly at odds like Twilight Sparkle's 100% Adoration Rating by the hippogriffs despite her attempted theft of their pearl, and simply focuses on the end results like the hippogriffs returning to society, Tempest Shadow having pulled her Heel–Face Turn, and the occasional reference to Klugetown and the pirates, those inclined can pretend things happened differently. Not helping is that supplementary material relating to the movie seldom agree with each other.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • Most of the princesses (especially Celestia) had been hit by The Worf Effect before due to the show focusing on other cast members. But as this was their Big Damn Movie, fans had higher expectations since they had the time and budget to let them shine and it was supposed to make them appeal to mass audiences. Alas...
    • The Storm King is not the first villain criticized for grabbing the Villain Ball (Nightmare Moon, Discord, Queen Chrysalis, Lord Tirek). But My Little Pony: The Movie Prequel portrayed him as a savvy Pragmatic Villain, making these faults stand out worse to fans who were led to expect better. Also, prior villains compensated with coolness that, in the Storm King's case, was largely delegated to Tempest Shadow. At least until the climax, when he finally shows up and fully upstages Tempest as a villain.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Rarity's Comically Missing the Point when complaining that if her hair was sold, it would be worth more than what they were initially bidding for? It's less funny with "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You" where Rarity's mane falls out, and the process is understandably traumatic for her.
  • Genius Bonus: "One Small Thing" perfectly illustrates the idea of Reciprocity - a social psychology wherein people are compelled to respond to positive actions with an equally positive, rewarding action. In this case Pinkie's action is to show selfless kindness to Princess Skystar - giving her time to have fun with friends, even though they do need to leave eventually to save Equestria. And thus Skystar and Queen Novo are compelled to help in return.
    "One small thing is not so small. One small thing can be the biggest thing of all..."
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While the film underperformed in it's home country of the US, it made tons of money in the United Kingdomnote , where it had a longer theatrical run than it did in North America and in China, where it's made more money than Peter Rabbit and Ferdinand.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Rewind back to 2011. In Season 2's two part premiere "The Return of Harmony", there was the hypothetical scenario of the Mane Six's friendship completely breaking apart in an illusion by Discord to Mind Rape Applejack. Here in the movie, we see the nightmare come true. The Mane Six do argue and fight and their friendship does break apart (temporarily). No Discord corruption needed, and it isn't a pretty sight. However, it's also just as easy to interpret it as just a fight (even if it is the biggest they've ever had), not their friendship breaking apart.
    • Back in "Fame and Misfortune", the song "Flawless" becomes this when you consider Twilight's lyric "I never claimed to be perfect". When we see her try to steal the pearl, it truly hits home how far from perfect she is.
    • "Castle Sweet Castle" had one time where Pinkie Pie was worried if they couldn't meet Twilight's standards, then she'd say something along the lines of "Some friends you are!" In the movie, Twilight does say something along those lines.
    • When the Mane Six met the Hippogriffs, Twilight must have been wishing she had glanced through that book on Seapony etiquette that Spike found in "Shadow Play - Part 2".
    • Remember what Hagrid said in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban about hippogriffs being proud and offending them would be the last decision one ever made? Well, somepony should have told that to Twilight when she decided to steal that pearl.
    • Tempest petrified all the princesses but Twilight. Again, rewind back to 2011 and watch one episode to see what happened to her.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: If you take "One Small Thing" as Pinkie's anthem, it calls back perfectly to her role in the premiere episode. In that, she simply laughs at the monsters Nightmare Moon has conjured up. But in doing so, she convinces the others that there's nothing to be afraid of - allowing them to continue their journey, and freeing Princess Luna from her corruption. One small thing can be the biggest thing of all.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • Andrea Libman's performance during Pinkie and Twilight's argument sheds a whole new light on the former, implying a sense of vulnerability that hasn't been seen before. The same also goes for Tara Strong after the fight when Twilight realizes what she did, with some emotional dialogue not seen in the series.
    • Even those disappointed with The Storm King's Anti-Climax Boss status admit to still enjoying Liev Schreiber's performance which shows his great range and that he can do comedic acting just as well as the dramatic acting that he's usually known for.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Idiot Plot: Given how easily Twilight's friends fight off the Storm King and his troops in the climax, if both the mane and supporting cast actually did it in the prologue instead of looking for the queen of the hippogriffs, they'd save us a movie. Afterwards, there's numerous times where the characters could have had an easier time had the Mane 5 sans Twilight taken the journey more seriously, and Twilight herself didn't feel the need to resort to thievery.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • Detractors of the Storm King and/or Tempest Shadow point to the fact they recycle a lot of traits of previous villains. The Storm King is a mash-up of Discord's humor, Sombra's dark crystal petrification schtick, and Tirek's plan to drain the magic of the princesses. For Tempest Shadow, she's yet another Shadow Archetype for Twilight who espouses an anti-friendship worldview and has a Freudian Excuse backstory to justify why she's so jaded.
    • For critics of the story, a lot of plot points the film hits have already been done by the show for its season premieres and finales, especially the princesses being hit by The Worf Effect. This is a major reason that the impact of seeing the Storm King's forces invade Canterlot and petrify the Princesses can fall flat; other villains have done it, too, and it's already starting to become a Discredited Trope.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Fans of traditional animation, even the ones who aren't fans of the show, have expressed interest in the film due to how rare Western 2D-animated theatrical films are in this day and age.
    • Several people have expressed interest in the film solely based on the celebrity voice actors, with Sia fans in particular being drawn in by her music video.
  • Les Yay:
    • Pinkie and Skystar are fairly touchy-feely with each other.
    • At the end of the movie, the shy glances exchanged between Tempest and Twilight during Tempest's fireworks display are another source of shipping fuel.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: When Twilight Sparkle gets sucked into the tornado in the final act, everyone mostly saw the Disney Death coming a good lightyears away and in turn, really took the drama out of the scene.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • The Storm King. Seeing that this is a movie, you expect him to personally provide an epic showdown... only for him to not only go down in one hit from the Mane 6, but also get himself petrified and shattered shortly afterwards. He's also been compared to Mettaton Neo here. Although, he does at least get a Near-Villain Victory by enslaving Canterlot, robbing the princesses of their magic, and conjuring a massive storm to ravage Canterlot. And in spite of getting knocked down a couple times, he doesn’t give up until his ultimate demise.
    • The Princesses hit an all-time low with this, what with them being taken out by Tempest Shadow in only a few seconds.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Tired Rainbow Dash", based on the sunken eyes Rainbow Dash's character model appeared to have in the teaser due to rendering issues, making her look very sleep-deprived.
    • One on this very wiki: it seems to have become popular to make Star Wars-related guesses on the WMG page here.
    • "RIP, Brian", in memoriam to Party Favor's poor deflated balloon animal, took off just minutes after the official trailer launched. He even got a character tag on Derpibooru!
    • "More butt." note 
  • Mis-blamed: Once it came out Friendship is Magic would end in 2019, some blamed the movie's weak reception and earnings. However, Hasbro stated they wanted it to continue for five years in 2014 when the movie was first announced, wanted to wrap it up in the very early pitches for Season 7 which during the movie was released, and leaks for the next series came only a few months after the movies release. The plans to end the series were in motion before the movie could influence things. Plus the series was already a Long Runner by this point and toy sales were slowing down before the movie released (and it's reported toys made from the movie didn't push much either). So it was pretty inevitable regardless.
  • Moe: The ponies are much cuter and more adorable than in the series, thanks to some Art Evolution and Visual Effects of Awesome. The hippogriffs/seaponies's designs actually help, thanks to the added designs of fish tails. The d'awwwww levels are taken Up to Eleven.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Storm King might be silly, but he's responsible for a lot of suffering. However, the point where he crosses this line is either his enslavement of Canterlot's population (which is treated dead seriously) or stabbing Tempest in the back and attempting to outright murder her in cold blood when she asks for him to fix her horn to fulfil his end of the deal. He may have crossed this right before the latter by creating a massive tornado that threatened the lives of not only his uprising opponents and newly aquired slaves, but HIS OWN ARMY AS WELL!
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Princess Skystar, sad that the Mane Six will have to leave soon, holds back her tears and quietly accepts her new friends will leave her. Then Pinkie Pie starts singing "One Small Thing" to cheer her up, bringing a smile to both Skystar and the audiences.
  • Narm Charm: The song "Time to Be Awesome" would have been very hard to be taken seriously thanks to its lyrics, but Ashleigh Ball, Zoe Saldana and the orchestrated music make it work.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • For some fans, just how easy it was for the other Princesses to be captured in the prologue just sinks them to Memetic Loser levels to the extent that the drama of The Worf Effect fell flat and was met with raised eyebrows. Especially for Celestia who after seeing Cadance get turned to stone in front of her, proceeds to leave herself wide open instead of finding/taking physical cover when telling Luna to find the queen of the hippogriffs. Even Luna only managed to blast one Mook before flying away to find said queen of the hippogriffs only to get petrified in mid-air. On the bright side, Cadance being the only other princess that actually tried to do something and was only thwarted due to being unaware of the Anti-Magic properties of the Obsidian Orbs let some fans give her a free pass on this.
    • Some fans will never forget Twilight going behind her friends' backs and attempting to steal Queen Novo's Pearl of Transformation. Even if the queen ever does forgive her, that black mark will not be coming off anytime soon.
    • Likewise, there are some that won't forget Rainbow Dash performing a Sonic Rainboom in the middle of the sky, drawing Tempest Shadow's legions to Celaeno's ship and essentially almost dooming the latter's crew and Capper. Notable in that it's what drives Twilight to do what she did above.
    • The Storm King gets called a weak villain by a lot of fans for his final moments, ignoring that he did enslave all of Canterlot and several other nations - even forcing an entire kingdom into hiding because he was too powerful. It's just that a lot of this was done off screen or only done under his command - so it's easy for people to forget that Tempest Shadow did all her cool villainy at his instruction.
  • Older Than They Think: A bipedal cat is nothing new to the series, as G1 had an anthropomorphic cat in the form of the villainess Catrina. Plus, the comic books had the cat people of Wuvy-Dovey Land (referred to as Wuv-Cats by fans) whose hometown Queen Chrysalis takes over as a temporary base of operations.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Songbird Serenade is only on screen for 10 minutes at most, but when she finally gets to sing Rainbow at the end, she really steals the show.
    • The Storm King as well, but for a different reason: He doesn't show up until the final ten minutes, and when he does, he will forever be remembered as an anticlimactic loser. Unless, of course, he’s remembered fondly for his humor combined with his sociopathic ruthlessness.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Queen Novo gets this for punishing Twilight's friends when the latter acted alone. From her perspective she welcomed these seven people into her safely guarded home and they reward this by trying to steal from her. What's more is that Twilight makes it look like her friends were trying to distract everyone so she could steal the Pearl. She really does have every right to be annoyed.
  • So Okay, It's Average: While most fans think the movie was really good, other people who aren't fans of the series have a mixed reaction towards this movie — it's well animated, the characters are likable enough and it's mostly just harmless, enjoyable fun if you are bored, but it's also predictable, repetitive and too saccharine at times and you won't miss anything if you skip it. At the same time, the movie isn't awful either, so it doesn't make good riffing material. Even those that actually like the movie admit it's hardly going to blow anyone away.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • While many agree the character animation from the teaser is impressive, to say the least, it's obvious copy/paste vibe and bizarre, oversaturated shading (resulting in "baggy eyes" that are particularly noticeable on Rainbow Dash) have resulted in the character models appearing slightly off even to those who have expressed high hopes for the film after watching the teaser. Art director Rebecca Dart has pointed out that much of this stems from the failure to convert the film's 16-bit images into 8 bit for the teaser, which "crushed all the [models'] shadows". She has since assured fans that the teaser does not reflect the overall quality of the film, which has some fans pumped up for how awesome the movie will look in comparison, but others worried that it blew its first impression with such sloppy oversights.
    • The quality of the CGI in the main trailer varied noticeably, and some of the models (most egregiously the airship, which was noted by some fans to have an "unfinished" look compared to the CGI models used in the rest of the trailer) have been unfavorably compared to the quality of a cutscene from an early Playstation game.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • Between the invasion by a faceless force that descends from the skies, going to foreign lands to win over allies to take back the main character's homeland, and the main character being forced to make morally questionable decisions as the quest goes on, one could consider this movie to be a great fantasy version of Mass Effect 3.
    • Though this show preceded it and did its themes also, the emphasis on the value of friendship, conflict within a closely tight knit group, villain having a complex motive parallel to that of the hero, Disney-esque songs, and celebrity voice actors, it's the closest thing we'll get to a Sofia the First theatrical movie.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Tempest Shadow's claim that "All this power wasted on parties when there are far greater uses" is meant to be part of her villainous philosophy that gets disproven. However...
    • If a nation as great as Equestria was not content to focus on domestic affairs and had focused on building a strong military, then the surprise attack on Canterlot would've floundered or turned into a costly victory for the Storm King.
    • If Klugetown had been annexed by Equestria, then the lawless and corrupt environment which permits the existence of a black market there (slavery and sale of animal parts) would've been stamped out long ago.
    • Tempest makes another good point with her Villain Song, "Open Up Your Eyes". It explains her back story of why she distrusts friendship, but rather than evil, it comes off more as a warning of being careful who you choose to trust because someone who calls themselves your friend can still stab you in the back.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The intro to "Off to See the World" has a similar melody to that of "Eye of the Tiger".
    • The refrain of "Time to be Awesome" ("Ah, ah, ah-ah, awesome! It's time to be so awesome!") sounds a lot like the one from the Friendship Games theme ("Na, na, na-na-na, oh, na, na, let's go"). And what's more is that both songs are sung by Rainbow Dash to motivate others.
    • "One Small Thing" combines elements from the Sofia the First songs "Welcome To Merroway Cove" and "Joining Together", the upbeat tempo of the former, and the message on working together from the latter.
    • "We Got This Together" is also like "Tri Kingdom Picnic" from Sofia the First.
    • One deviantart user favorably compared most of the movie's songs to that of Sofia the First.
  • Tainted by the Preview:
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: A frequent negative reaction to the movie from mainstream critics, another being What Do You Mean, "It's for Kids"?. Both of these are ultimately the result of Mood Whiplash.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • In the storybook adaptation The Great Princess Caper, which was written by Mike Vogel, one of the screenwriters, Tempest and Grubber leave Canterlot to spread friendship over Equestria and beyond. That, and the fact that they are both voiced by Hollywood stalwarts (not to mention Blunt will most likely be doing reshoots of the upcoming Mary Poppins sequel in London) means we shouldn't expect to see them on the show anytime soon.
    • Capper and the Mane Five never bother releasing any of the imprisoned ponies before they head off to the castle, it would have been fun to see secondary and background ponies fight off the Storm Guards alongside the pirates.
    • Quite a few fans wish Countess Coloratura note  was part of Songbird Serenade's concert.
    • Discord. While from a story perspective, it makes sense not to have him in the movie due to the fact that he can literally save the day with a snap of his fingers. note  However, it's still disappointing he didn't even make a cameo and allowing us to see him in the upgraded animation. His only in-movie cameo wasn't even him, but a balloon sculpture by Pinkie. Likewise, while he did directly cameo in the end-credits, their animation style was completely different from that of the movie itself.
    • Sunset Shimmer. A festival of friendship that every pony in Equestria was attending would've been a great opportunity to go back home for an extended visit, make new friends among her own kind, and finally make amends with Princess Celestia for their previous falling-out. But she doesn't even make a background cameo. This did at least get fixed in the Forgotten Friendship special, which finally featured her reconciling with Celestia.
    • The Storm King was portrayed in the prequel comics as a silly, yet ruthless and competent Evil Overlord. The movie only gives him around 10 minutes of actual screentime and reduces him to a Stupid Evil villain. He does accomplish a lot in the movie, but it's mostly done off screen.
    • Grubber is underutilized as a character, with very few meaningful interactions with other characters and contributions to the plot. The only place he really does anything is the first act where he reports Twilight's escape to Tempest, who addresses him maybe twice and then more or less ignores him completely from that point onwards, and he's relegated to providing occasional bursts of comic relief and nothing else for the rest of the movie. Why couldn't we have seen him and the Storm Guards reacting to the Storm King's death?
    • Shining Armor and the Equestrian Royal Guards aren't even around to defend Canterlot. Their valiant but futile attempt at fighting off the Storm Guards could've added a much more dramatic effect to the invasion scene and let Twilight Sparkle realize how much more higher the stakes are. Especially if Shining Armor had to force his sister to go while he stayed behind and the last moment that Twilight Sparkle saw her brother was shortly before he became overwhelmed.
    • A lot of effort went into pitching Stratus Skyranger as a collectible figure and a notable character in the prequel comics. Yet he doesn't even get a speaking role during the Mane 6's visit to Seaquestria.
    • There is also the fact that the movie doesn't use the Mane Five the best it could as it is, their contribution to the plot being limited due to the screentime needed for the new characters or Twilight's character arc. Fluttershy and Applejack suffer from this in particular. Applejack at least gets to the The Lancer to the team, whereas Fluttershy reverts to her timid Season 1 persona a few times and only gets one small moment in the final battle.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • We never got to see a resistance movement to the subsequent invasion of the rest of Equestria after the fall of Canterlot, especially at prime spots like the Dragon Lands, the Changeling Hive and the Crystal Empire. After all, considering what happened to Ponyville, it must have been quite a blast. (The Yaks and Griffins might be counted as a separate nation and therefore wasn't invaded.) In fact, we never got to see the state of Equestria during the 72 hour war until the liberation of Canterlot which ended the war.
    • Seaquestria lacks an Establishing Shot or any sort of exploration of the place. The Mane Six (and Spike) travel through quite a bunch of Klugetown, with a number of long shots that show the impressive size and vertical element of the city. In contrast, when they get to Seaquestria, they head straight for the royal chambers, which is also the only structure seen, making it seem like that's the only building in the place and the Seaponies just kind of live among the coral and kelp (which admittedly could tie into how sad and bored they are).
    • Tempest Shadow's motivations for helping a warlord take over her home country seem selfishly shallow, but we get a brief line that she believes the princesses (and perhaps ponies in general) are wasting their powers when they could be using them for greater purposes. This interesting motivation/plot is not explored beyond that.
    • The long-awaited Seaponies/Hippogriffs end up being a collective Red Herring (excluding Princess Skystar). Because of Queen Novo's Bystander Syndrome and eventual Get Out! reaction, the whole journey turns out to be a "Shaggy Dog" Story (until Capper, Celaeno's crew, and Skystar help Twilight's friends form a backup Ragtag Bunch of Misfits). A Big Damn Heroes moment was planned for the Hippogriffs at some point, but the filmmakers didn't want to take away the focus from the Mane Six.
    • If this movie was going to have a The Magnificent Seven Samurai plot, why couldn't the Mane Six and Spike have been the Seven Samurai, instead of being the helpless townspeople who go out to recruit the Samurai?
  • Tough Act to Follow: The Storm King is a character example compared to the show's villains — like Tirek, he's trying to seize the power of all four alicorns, but being a Laughably Evil Psychopathic Man Child makes him far less threatening than Tirek was, and the final battle against the Storm King is ultimately less action-oriented than the battles against either Tirek or Chrysalis (he mostly plays with the power he gained and seems to be slow to figure out how to use it to fight), making one wonder how he amassed such a armada and became a threat before he even had the staff. And it doesn't help that the prequel comics gave him some unique Pragmatic Villainy that could've made him stand out more had it carried over more into the film. Even his better qualities, such as his humorous personality, somewhat fall short against previous charismatic villains like Discord.
  • Ugly Cute: Grubber, the Storm King's weird little hedgehog henchman, is surprisingly adorable in his own way.
  • Uncertain Audience: If it's intended for fans of the show, it doesn't offer anything the show hasn't done as well or better, while its attempt to avert Continuity Lockout by ignoring much continuitynote  resulted in longtime fans seeing plot, character, and continuity problems. If it's intended to win over new fans, it doesn't offer any hook that would make a non-fan interested.
  • Unexpected Character: Some of the cameo appearances from the trailer. While some expected Starlight Glimmer and Trixie to appear, very few expected to see Cheese Sandwich and Tree Hugger.
  • Viewer Species Confusion:
    • Many fans initially thought Captain Celaeno was a griffon when she was first revealed, due to her having a similar design as the griffons in the show, and long pointed ears similar to the kind griffons are sometimes depicted with in fiction. Others pointed out that her name doesn't start with a "G" like the other griffons in Friendship Is Magic, and is a reference to a harpy from Greek mythology. Then her official toy was revealed, showing that she didn't have lion parts, resembling a humanoid parrot instead of a griffon. Due to her kinetic animation and split-second appearances in the trailer, however, the confusion still persists even among a reviewer or two.
    • No-one seems to know or agree on what kind of animal Grubber is supposed to be. However, he is confirmed to be some kind of hedgehog by toy descriptions.
  • Vindicated by Cable: A number of problems plagued the film's theatrical run that caused it to not do so well at the box office, including an advertising dispute between Hasbro and Lionsgate causing barely any TV ads to be shown for the film, poor critical reception and the film not only being released during a dump month, but on the weekend Hurricane Nate hit the southern part of the United States, which also affected several other movies released that weekend. However, the DVD release sold many copies and lead to more people discovering the film. Most notably, on Amazon Prime, it's the fourth best-selling film on the service as of May 2019.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The characters' smooth and expressive animations are downright stunning, with some even comparing the animation to a Disney film from The Renaissance Age of Animation.
    • Rainbow Dash doing the Sonic Rainboom once again. Seeing it done in the new animation is a sight to behold, even if it wasn't the best time.
    • The opening scene, where we get a oner starting with a starry sky, pan down to some clouds, where we follow some pegasi flying over the fields of Equestria and through the streets of Canterlot, all set to "We Got the Beat."
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • The first full trailer won back many viewers who had, at best, a lukewarm response to the teaser trailer, many feeling it more than compensated for the teaser's degraded animation and lack of new information.
    • The second full trailer managed to win even more people over with its more upbeat, yet still fairly serious tone, and even crediting the main characters' voice actors.

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