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2.) Naruto retains some very good moments and SPECTACLE in their fights. The sheer scale of the battles is enough to be engaging. But there is quite a lack of strategy in much of the latter half, and the plot meanders a lot. ESPECIALLY the bits with Sasuke and Naruto's obsession with saving him.
With regard to the meandering plot and lack of strategy, this is definitely the case insofar as the filler material goes - that's unsurprising, as filler is handicapped right from the get-go - but I don't think that that's true with regard to the main post-timeskip plot. It might be a little bit slow to ramp up, but once it does it really takes off.
Naruto's obsession with saving Sasuke is somewhat eye-rolling, but... (I'll spoiler this next part just to be safe):
This eventually turns him into a much more palatable character, although it takes quite some time for him to get there. (Even better is that Sasuke's character arc goes through a number of very believable changes which, rather gratifyingly, have almost nothing to do with Naruto at all.)