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YMMV / The Mighty Ducks

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The films:

  • Accidental Aesop:
    • In D2, having good sportsmanship on the ice is a Moral Pragmatist move because sometimes Life Isn't Fair and the referee may be an idiot. Dean is expelled from the first Iceland game for a relatively small infraction and gloating about it, as is Julie. Meanwhile, the player that badly injures Adam is given a few minutes in the penalty box. (At the least, Dwayne avenges Adam by lassoing Sanderson and humiliating him for trying to bodyslam Connie.)
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    • D3 has that sometimes a coach has to be Cruel to Be Kind to get the best players on the ice. Bombay has always given Goldberg seniority over Julie even though the latter is the better goalie and it's lampshaded a few times when she politely asks to play more. Coach Orion does not believe in seniority; he has them both audition and notes that Goldberg didn't even block one goal from his teammates. The first game of the season proves him right when Julie is a Curb Stomp Cushion against the visitor team, and Goldberg is completely curbstomped when Orion sends him in as backup. Orion goes further by making Goldberg line defense; it turns out Goldberg is better at line defense and becomes a star player. What's more, Julie gets to shine in the climax when blocking several goals from Varsity and getting some help from Adam.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The first one has The Outfield’s "Winning It All" in the end credits.
    • Queen's "We Are the Champions" at the end of D2.
    • The end-credits follow-up, "Rock the Pond", boasts solid sound and intelligent lyrics.
  • Catharsis Factor: D2 has a fair number of moments:
    • Ms. McKay revealing she canceled the Ducks' intensive practice session because they are exhausted and falling asleep during her classes. She tells off Bombay for risking the team's health to win a game, reminding him they are just kids. Much later, she lies that she is their replacement coach to keep them from forfeiting a match; Bombay thanks her with a kiss to the cheek and apologizes to the team.
    • Russ's brother invites the Ducks for some rollerblading hockey to give them Tough Love and cheer them up. After the devastating loss they suffered, it is a relief that Russ is simultaneously telling them off for being "babies" and also giving them a chance to let off steam. It ends with both teams hugging Ken Wu after he's taught how to intimidate guys bigger than him.
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    • Iceland has the Ducks on the ropes and is winning by a large lead. They then try to go after Connie, who's struggling with the puck, just because she's struggling to stay upright. Dwayne humiliates the guy trying to bodyslam her — a move that gave Bombay a permanent knee injury, by the way — by grabbing his trademark cowboy rope, jumping onto the ice, and lassoing him like a cattle. Connie thanks Dwayne, who says, "Where I come from, we treat ladies with respect" and then knocks the guy down. Bombay is disappointed that Dwayne decided to stoop to Iceland's level, but it is hilarious and satisfying since he saved Connie from leaving the ice on a stretcher.
    • Another Iceland one; they've been keeping Russ from doing his trademark knuckle puck. Bombay then comes up with a strategy: have Russ and Goldberg switch uniforms, and pass the puck to the "goalie". Russ then takes off his helmet, revealing who he is to the delight of his big brother. Stansson can only give a Big "NO!" as the puck flies towards the goal, tying the teams.
  • Designated Villain: Of the three rival teams the Ducks had to overcome in the trilogy, Team Iceland is the least dickish to them. Unlike the Hawks and the Varsity team, we never see the Ducks interact with the Iceland players off the ice. True that the Iceland players were anything but nice to the Ducks during the games but then again, they're playing hockey. Aggression is all apart of the game and even their taunting could be viewed as their competitive nature shining through. Sanderson is probably the worst of the lot since he injured Adam for the crime of scoring a goal and then whacked him again on the same wrist, which is bad sportsmanship for many reasons. The one thing that cements Team Iceland's status in this trope is the fact that they are the only team to have the decency to go back on the ice and congratulate the Ducks on a game well played.
    • Even Wolf Stansson, Team Iceland's coach, isn't that much of a villain. He's just a damn good coach who did everything he could to make sure his boys were ready to take on the world, from scouting his opponents to targeting the players. Yeah, he was an arrogant Jerkass that talked a lot of trash but could be translated as him being confident in his team. And just like his team, Stansson, after losing the big game to Ducks at the end, was humble enough to shake Gordon's hand afterwards and congratulate him on the win. It was still a dick move on Stansson's part to clip Gordon's injured leg the moment he was on the losing end of their one on one contest. He also didn't have to pop the beach ball they were tossing around during their last practice.
    • In D3, Banks is looked at as a traitor for being a member of the varsity team despite the fact that his promotion to varsity was the coaches' decision and beyond his control. While he does hang around the Varsity team at school, you could tell it was out of reluctance and peer pressure than pure spite. He didn't even take part in the varsity's locker room and restaurant pranks against the Ducks and only found out about them after the fact. The Ducks, on the other hand, are quick to treat Banks no differently than any of the other varsity members.
    • While the varsity team was viewed as the antagonist in D3, they haven't really done anything outright malicious towards the Ducks apart from instigating the Escalating Prank War. The worst they did was making them pay for the dinner they treated them but even that was out of retaliation of being on the receiving end of the Ducks freezing their uniforms.
  • Designated Hero: The Mighty Ducks have usually been considered the lovable underdogs in parts I & II of the trilogy, but come part III they were dangerously close to losing the lovable aspect. Granted, the varsity were dicks to them, but when Banks got promoted to the varsity team, he became a victim of the Ducks' pranks without any provocation on his part. And when the Ducks failed to meet the academy's standards, they had to use Bombay to bully their way into staying at the school. Also, even though it's clear that most of the school board never wanted the Ducks there in the first place, it wasn't like they were purposely trying to sabotage them either.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Fulton Reed, the Mysterious Protector with one of the coolest Signature Moves on the ice, is a major fan favorite.
    • Fans were crushed when trash-talking lancer Jesse Hall didn't come back for the third movie.
    • Down-to-earth Official Couple Guy and Connie are often considered some of the most likable of the players.
    • Among the new characters in the second movie, people especially enjoy goofy Cowboy Dwayne and unfairly sidelined goalie Julie.
    • Goldberg is considered an unforgettable character for being a good source of comic relief and getting an interesting transition from goalie to a defenseman in the final film.
    • Adam is well-liked for his Character Development over the trilogy and for arguably being the team's best player.
  • Even Better Sequel: Specifically, D2. It's more ingrained into pop culture than the original — especially considering its popular new characters that replaced the old ones — to the point that when the cast of kids reunited to celebrate a 20th anniversary, it was in regards to the sequel's anniversary.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Towards the end of the first movie, Gordon takes the Ducks to an NHL game between the hometown Minnesota North Stars and visiting Hartford Whalers. Within a few years of the movie's release, both teams relocated (to Dallas and Raleigh, NC (renamed the Hurricanes), respectively). Somewhat downplayed in Minnesota's case, as they would eventually get a new team, the Wild.
    • The bit in the first movie where Bombay teaches the kids how to fake injuries became this in 2019, when Terry Hall's actor, Jussie Smollett, was arrested for filing a false police report after claiming he was the victim of an anti-black assault. As it turns out, the assault was actually carried out by two Nigerian men — not white, as Smollett had claimed — who he had hired to commit the deed.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the first movie, Jesse and Terry's father is livid that Gordon would force them to pretend that the Hawks are committing physical penalties against them. Remember that Terry was played by a certain actor who became rather infamous for doing just that...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Emilio Estevez's character is obsessed with winning in the first film. Nearly twenty years later, his brother Charlie Sheen began using "Winning" as one of his catch phrases.
    • In the third film, Fulton realizes that he doesn't want to play hockey his whole life and wants to get a good education. He grows up to be a lawyer.
    • In the second film, Team Iceland is led by a coach whose nickname is "The Dentist" (because he often knocked other players' teeth out). Decades later during the 2016 Euro and 2018 World Cup soccer tournaments, Iceland's national team was managed by Heimir Hallgrímsson, who actually works as a part-time dentist.
  • Ho Yay: Averman appeared a little too into seeing Dean stripteasing while in the penalty box in D3.
  • Idiot Plot: The reason why Varsity doesn't like the Ducks is because their siblings and friends were passed over for spots at the school in favor of a bunch of at-risk kids receiving academic scholarships. It turns out that the board was willing to expel the kids they lauded in a press conference because of that fact. Gee, shouldn't this have come up before the school head warned Orion that if the JV team doesn't win a game they could lose their scholarship?
  • Memetic Badass: Gordon Bombay and the team have become this to hockey fans. A lot of people joke about how if Bombay were an NHL coach, the Mighty Ducks would win every season. Indeed, when Emilio Estevez tweeted his support for the Anaheim Ducks against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Western Conference Final, and Anaheim went on to win that game (and was even spotted in a Flying-V formation), his popularity boomed.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Reilly, the Hawks' Coach is just a smug jerk for most of D1, but he crosses the line when he has McGill check Adam Banks (who had been playing for him until a few weeks ago and was only a Duck because Bombay took advantage of a change in the district boundaries to have him play for his team) into the net so hard that he had to leave the game due to injury.
    • McGill also crosses the line in doing the deed. While Adam's friend was frantically checking on him, McGill coolly watches as Adam is loaded onto a stretcher.
    • The player that gave Bombay a permanent knee injury counts as this. When you see his face as Bombay is checked, we know that he was doing it on purpose. Bombay even mentions that sometimes he is tempted to get even with the guy.
  • Narm: Everyone seems to pay a little too much attention to a pee-wee hockey team in the first movie. Entire front-page news articles about a bunch of ten-year-olds in a Minneapolis youth league? Guess that pee-wee league is Serious Business to someone.
    • It's forgivable in the second movie, since Gordon Bombay is apparently a celebrity or something, but even so, the entire country gets behind a youth hockey team when said country can barely get anyone to care about international youth sports in general.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Charlie was played by Joshua Jackson, who went on to Dawson's Creek, Fringe, and The Affair.
    • Elden Henson has had a very respectable career as a character actor, popping up in everything from She's All That to Daredevil (2015).
    • Russ Tyler was played by Kenan Thompson — the same one who was on All That, Kenan & Kel, and is currently a cast member on Saturday Night Live (notable as the first to be born after SNL premiered in 1975 and the first one to be a child star and perform in more family-friendly fare [specifically this movie and the two aforementioned Nickelodeon shows] before moving on to fare that's more adult).
    • Julie Gaffney was played by Colombe Jacobsen, who eventually became a chef and competed in the 2007 season of The Next Food Network Star.
    • Terry Hall in the first movie is played by a young Jussie Smollett of Empire fame (and other unmentioned public incidents).
  • Rooting for the Empire: One wouldn't blame those who felt Varsity should have beaten The Ducks. Especially, after a series of taking levels of jerkass The Ducks provide.
  • Sequelitis: D3.
  • Toy Ship: Connie and Guy.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Most of the Ducks, but especially Charlie, in D3. While the Varsity team were hostile to the Ducks from day 1, Coach Orion doesn't act like a jerk to them and is just stricter with them than Bombay was. In spite of this, the team initially doesn't show him any respect and act like a bunch of entitled, arrogant brats who expect him to cater to them just because of their past success. Charlie in particular not only constantly disrespects Orion, but comes off as unreasonably angry for most of the film, lashing out at anyone that tries to reason with him- including the (unbeknownst to him) dying Hans. We're supposed to sympathize with him because his whole world has been thrown into upheaval, but he just comes off as a colossal jerk until Gordon returns to set him straight.
  • The Woobie: Bombay, believe it or not. Missing a penalty shot to lose the district championships as a child costs him his passion for the game, although he's very skilled. He makes a comeback as an adult, tears up the minors and seems to be on the fast track to the NHL when a cheap shot to the knee by a frustrated opponent ends his career for good.


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