Broken Aesop: While the film's environmental message may be valuable in real life, it makes no sense in the context of the story and contradicts the original moral of Jurassic Park. The ostensible heroes constantly endanger themselves and others by treating reanimated dinosaurs as if they're a normal part of the ecosystem, when invasive species are a real and serious environmental problem. While InGen isn't making things better by trying to bring the dinosaurs to the mainland, the "good guys" are effectively enabling them.
Contested Sequel: This film might have as many fans as opponents. The upside is that there are more dinosaurs and the action sequences are really exciting. The downside is that the script is sloppy and the characters are at best difficult to like. In particular, Sarah and Nick are two excellent examples of scrappies, designated heroes, and having informed abilities.
Designated Hero: One of the main criticisms of the film. The 'villains' keep going out of their way to save the protagonists' lives, while the 'heroes' are responsible for every human death while on the island by either stupidity or malice. First, they intentionally release several multi-ton wild animals into the hunters' camp, destroying their radio equipment. Then, Nick brings the baby T. rex to the trailer, which brings its parents there, getting Eddie killed and their radio equipment destroyed, requiring everyone to cross the island to get to a working radio. That was going perfectly fine — but Sarah foolishly brought her bloody jacket (with the baby's blood still on it) which again brings one to their camp. Then, even though Roland had saved his life, Nick takes the slugs out of Roland's best anti-T. rex weapon, making it impossible for the hunters to defend themselves against the rampaging rex, so they kill some of the expedition members and chase the rest straight into the raptor hunting area. The T. rex's San Diego rampage could have been avoided if the hunters could have left with herbivores or killed the rex, so the protagonists are partly to blame for that too. Granted, the hunters work for shady characters, but almost all the actions of Malcolm and company just exacerbate the problems.
Roland Tembo is supposed to be one of the main villains but ends up being the Ensemble Darkhorse because he's (A) the only character on the villains side that doesn't have his head up his ass, (B) most concerned with the safety of those around him, including those who willfully screw him over, (C) smart enough to depart quietly after seeing how destructive it is around the dinosaurs, and (D) he's played by the late Pete Postlethwaite.
The closest he ever gets to a Moral Event Horizon is using the injured T. rex baby as bait. In the original cut, the baby's injury was an accident caused by Ludlow, for which Tembo gave him an epic ass-kicking. The filmmakers cut the scene to make Tembo less sympathetic.
Peter Ludlow is depicted as a Corrupt Corporate Executive, but his motives aren't that different from Hammond's in the first movie (to build a successful and accessible park), and he is acting responsibly as a new executive by helping to salvage the heavy investment for his company. While he can be an idiot and a jerk, the film's vilification of him gets to the point that his ordering the death of a rampaging Tyrannosaurus is treated as a low point (even though it's clearly a massive danger to the city, has killed civilians and caused lots of damage already) and his horrifying death is treated almost lightheartedly. He is also the only one to show sympathy for the loss of Eddie Carr after the two groups team up to trek across the island.
Ending Fatigue: Once the main cast gets rescued off the island, we see that InGen has successfully bagged a T. rex which makes the heroes feel they have ultimately lost. This seems like a decent drop-off point and Sequel Hook, but the film continues for another thirty minutes so the T. rex can terrorize San Diego for a second climax.
The Velociraptors ambushing and killing the unsuspecting hunters wandering in the long grass brings in mind of Pokémon to modern audiences, especially with the line "Don't go into the long grass!"
Any scene between Nick and Sarah, given Vaughn and Moore's roles in Gus van Sant's Psycho remake the following year.
Just Here for Godzilla: Just here to watch the T. rex rampage through San Diego. All the marketing focused on that rampage.
Memetic Mutation: Professor Oak warned you about the long grass!note It's a common joke to combine Pokémon with the Velociraptor scene.
Moral Event Horizon: Features one of the rare variants where someone connected to the protagonist crosses this, unintentionally from the writers. Nick van Owen, to some of the fans, crosses this by unloading the bullets from Roland's gun. This guy just doomed many people — who helped save his life, by the way — to die simply because he disapproves of hunting. Since he's a 'good' guy, nobody calls him out, but worse, since Roland only managed to tranquilize the T. rex he meant to kill, it goes on another rampage later on, in the highly and densely populated San Diego. This isn't viewed as such in the movie, furthering the Designated Hero aspect.
Sarah, due to being a complete idiot who hinders the rest of the characters. She causes nothing but problems for everyone involved and is the sole reason poor Malcolm has to come to the island in the first place. People are also annoyed that Sarah's so super-special she is the only character to survive being attacked outright by a Velociraptor, all because of that stupid "lucky pack".
In the scene where it destroys the conference tent at the InGen camp, there's a clipping error with the CG Triceratops' tail.
Sarah has to duck to avoid getting hit by a Stegosaurus tail early on. Unfortunately, there's a puddle nearby that fails to reflect the tail.
Strawman Has a Point: The villains, the InGen corporation, are portrayed as evil because they want to recapture the dinosaurs from Isla Sorna to recoup their losses from the first film. While they were pretty ruthless, as well as dicks with the exception of two (hunter Roland Tembo and his friend Ajay), their argument that the dinosaurs are their rightful property does have merit. When the protagonists accuse them of destroying the island's 'natural' environment, the Corrupt Corporate Executive points out that they created the dinosaurs and introduced them to the island in the first place, millions of years and thousands of miles from their actual long-gone natural habitat. The heroes can only respond to this with Nick trying to start a fight. This is one of those cases where what's right legally may or may not be what's right morally, but it's certainly not as cut-and-dried as Malcolm's party (or his detractors) likes to present it, but the movie misses the opportunity to explore this divergence.
Poor Eddie, who's the only one sane enough not to be in the trailer with the baby, hence when it goes over the cliff is able to come to the rescue, is one of the few genuinely likable characters, is one of the few truly heroic people on the 'heroes' side, saves the others' lives by wrapping the line around the tree, and puts up with them jokingly ordering fast food when he asks if they need anything else... and his 'reward' is to be ripped in half by the Tyrannosaurus parents while the others can do nothing to help. Worse, his poison dart gun got stuck at the wrong moment, meaning his death could have been (narrowly) averted but for sheer bad luck.
Roland's reaction after discovering what happened to Ajay, and his departure shortly afterwards.
Too Cool to Live: Eddie Carr. He's a tech expert who brings with him, among other things, a never-compromised high hide and an instant-action poison dart gun. When Nick and Sarah go to release all the dinosaurs from the InGen camp, he wisely heads set up the high hide instead. He also quickly thinks up and executes a plan to save both the trailers (with their communications equipment inside) and his colleagues, just minutes after encountering the carnage wrought by the Tyrannosaurus family. Sadly, he gets gruesomely killed for his troubles, his equipment is either abandoned or destroyed, and after a few comments by Ian and Roland, the film basically forgets all about him.
Sarah Harding. Where to start? Despite allegedly being an expert at working with animals, the first time we see her she makes possibly the worst mistake imaginable (and one even the general public knows to avoid): She deliberately walks up to a young Stegosaurus and touches it. Several moments later its parents nearly kill her. Further highlights of her 'expertise' include helping let the dinosaurs out of their cages, whereupon they go on a rampage; and keeping a shirt that is soaked with the blood of theT. rexbaby. Just from her insane actions alone she nearly dies three times, and gets a lot of other people killed because of her idiocy. She also ignores her vastly imperfect but more knowledgeable boyfriend, eyewitness to the last dinosaur nightmare.
Nick van Owen brings the injured T. rex infant to camp immediately after freeing all captured dinosaurs on the InGen base, leading directly to the loss of both campsites and the untimely demise of Eddie Carr. He later unloads Roland's rifle, leading to even more mayhem and carnage when the T. rexes track down their new camp.
Astonishingly, experienced hunter Roland Tembo does not examine his gun and its ammunition when picking it up after it has been out of his sight and control. He should have opened the rifle, checked to see that the shells were intact and undamaged and that the barrel was clear (something everyone should do when picking up any firearm). This is after he sets it down and wanders away, leaving it in sight of a known eco-saboteur.
You Keep Using That Word: The protagonists constantly accuse their adversaries of interfering with the dinosaurs' natural habitat. Because artificially created dinosaurs, at least sixty-five million years out of time, living on an island whose conditions were engineered specifically for them, is precisely the definition of natural. Furthermore, none of the dinosaurs is native to the island. They were put there by the company that made them, making them not just non-natural but invasive species that are thriving without any predators capable of keeping their populations in check.