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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Depending on how you see him, Dave can be a Tragic Villain, a case of Evil Is Petty, or perhaps even both.
    • Classified's interactions with the penguins are reminiscent of an adult trying to get his children under control.
  • Awesome Music: Lorne Balfe delievers a rather excellent score for the film. Examples include "He is Dave" and The Penguin's Main Theme. You can here the full score here.
  • Badass Decay: The North Wind is introduced giving a Curb-Stomp Battle to several mooks that had been giving the penguins trouble. They never do anything equally impressive after that. Though this can be partially attributed to their rivalry with the penguins impeding their effectiveness, even after they decide to cooperate with the penguins, they are quickly taken out of the fight in the final battle.
    • Interviews state that the North Wind really does overestimate their abilities sometimes (like the penguins do) and while a great team, has come to rely too much on their tech.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Agent Classified is arguably the most popular member of the North Wind for being a smooth and confident wolf agent (plus it doesn't hurt that his voice actor is Benedict Cumberbatch), but there are also those who thinks he's just a snobby Jerkass (like how he just HAD to rub it in that Private was captured, even after it was noticably heartbreaking for Skipper. Even the biggest Classified fans thought that was an incredibly low blow.)
  • Broken Base:
    • For fans of the show, some weren't very happy when they found out Chris Miller, Kowalski's voice actor in the first three Madagascar movies, would be voicing him for this one over Jeff Bennett, Kowalski's show voice actor, as many think that he gave him more personality than Miller.
    • Many people are confused as to why John DiMaggio was replaced as Rico by Mason's voice actor, Conrad Vernon, given that John could've easily reprised the role.
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  • Crack Pairing: Corporal/Classified is probably the strangest shipping you will ever find in the Madagascar fandom. Which is even weirder when you realize it kinda works... arguably, of course. Especially considering Classified clinging onto Corporal as they're forced to go through Dave's death trap and their dynamic. note 
  • Crazy Awesome: The first thing the Penguins do in the movie (after the flashback). Successfully breaking into Fort Knox is awesome enough, it's the fact that they did it to get to a vending machine and buy some Cheesy Dibbles that cements this as crazy.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight
    • Long before this movie, Benedict Cumberbatch narrated a documentary in which he had trouble pronouncing the word "penguin" as he does in this film (he pronounces the word as "pengwing" especially when he has to rattle of lines rapid fire).
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    • In the movie, the fate of Dave the Octopus is that he gets trapped inside a snow globe. In Splatoon, the fate of DJ Octavio, also an octopus, is that he gets trapped in a snow globe.
    • An Octopus pretending to be a human? Someone should make a game about that...
  • Ho Yay: Taking a cue from his cartoon counterpart, Rico shows moments of attraction to the other penguins. When Private gives the other penguins a thankful kiss on the cheek, Rico pulls him in for a full on smooch. Later when high fiving, Rico gives Skipper a slap on the butt. And during the Lederhosen dance, Rico and Kowalski go all out, clearly playing on their Ho Yay in the cartoon.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Once living at the Central Park Zoo, Dave had a roomy habitat and all the fans. Then started a chain where penguins unintentionally stole his glory as the octopus was moved to zoos and aquariums around the world, where he was forced to live in small tanks.
    • Skipper himself becomes this after Private gets captured and he realizes that he didn't give him the credit that he deserved. It gets even worse when he starts thinking that Private died.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Some fans of the show were disappointed that the movie focuses only on Skipper and Private and that Rico and Kowalski are pretty much just supporting characters. Considering that the show gave both Rico and Kowalski well-defined personalities ( Rico is an agressive explosion-lover with a sensitive side and Kowalski is an Adorkable, yet egotistical and eccentric smart guy ) and those traits do show up in the movie from time to time, it's kind of confusing.
    • The North Wind except for Classified. They are a more competent version of the titular penguins and it would be interesting for them to play off their counterparts more ( Kowalski and Eva, Rico and Short Fuse, and Private and Corporal ), but there's not much to them.
    • The fact that the movie takes place in the main Madagascar universe instead of The Penguins of Madagascar universe practically made it impossible for fan favorites like Marlene, Dr. Blowhole (who was more or less replaced by Dave) and Hans to show up.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • The penguins, after they've been mutated, are supposed to be hideous monsters, and although they possess a Sickly Green Glow and mismatched body parts, but are still, well, penguins. Especially Private, whose only monstrous traits are a purple tint and a pair of antlers.
    • Dave could also be considered as this, especially after he is hit by the reversed ray, turns into a cuter version of himself. His octopus assistants are also somewhat cute with the bubbly sounds they make.
  • Uncanny Valley: An intentional example: Dave, when posing as Dr. Octavius Brine, makes some movements that are impossible even for a cartoony human, like walking on the ceiling, leaning forward almost to the ground, and stretching his arms to extreme length. These all indicate his true identity, but the humans are still fooled by his appearance.
  • The Woobie: Private. For all we know, his family lost his egg and didn't attempted to look for it or worse yet, died. He was also totally unappreciated by other members of team, captured by Dave after one of Skipper's plans went wrong and had to watch his adoptive brothers turn into horrible monsters. Combine this with his friendly and kind personality and cuteness and you have this trope.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Many people felt that Kowalski and Private's TV actors, Jeff Bennett and James Patrick Stuart, should've voiced the characters in the movie instead of their movie actors, Chris Miller and Christopher Knights, due to how the former two's performances as the characters were widely praised for bringing more depth to the characters.
    • Many people are confused as to why John DiMaggio was replaced as Rico by Mason's voice actor, Conrad Vernon, given that John could've easily reprised the role.
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