These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Near the end of the film, Rose tells her granddaughter and the others that Cal "married of course and inherited his millions", implying that Cal's father may have been giving him an inheritance if Cal married and started a family. This would mean that if Cal and Rose married, they both would have benefited financially from the arrangement. Is Cal's obsession with Rose and determination to have her motivated by a desire to acquire his inheritance? Or simply wanting to have a beautiful wife and conform to society's expectations? Or some twisted form of actual affection (see *Jerkass Woobie* entry below)? Or all three?
Made possible for pretty much everyone but Jack and Rose when you watch the extensive deleted scenes and realize they edited out pretty much every scene that humanizes...well, every other character in the movie. The Strauss's refusal to part, a joking-in-the-face-of-death J.J. Astor, the grim parting later between him and Gugenheim (something Cameron even had to create, as no one witnessed such an exchange and survived to tell about it), a shell-shocked Ismay's known dressing-down by Lowe and Ismay's apology, later we see Ismay entering his PTSD phase on the Carpathia, Lightoller balancing survivors on the upturned collapsible, we not only get Cal's frantic response to the woman he thinks is Rose but her shell-shocked mother looking into the faces of mothers and children and clearly hunting for her own daughter...basically there's a whole other set of characterizations on the cutting-room floor. (Though in fairness and as Cameron himself points out, partially the scenes were cut because it was already a really long movie.)
Many viewers have pointed out that, if you really think about it, Old!Rose is a major Jerkass. When she arrives aboard the survey ship, the only pictures she brings are of herself, not any of her loved ones. The survey ship is on an expensive and dangerous mission to recover a gem that Rose has in her possession despite having no claim to it (it was intended to be a wedding present, but Rose and Cal never got married, and the value of the diamond may have prevented him from killing himself if he still had it). And after regaling the crew with her story, Rose simply tosses the diamond overboard. Then (if you subscribe to the thoery that Rose dies at the end of Titanic) upon reaching the afterlife, the first thing Rose does is go to Jack, a guy she spend a day with when she was a kid, rather than the husband she was married to for years and who fathered her children.
Awesome Music: James Horner really outdid himself with the soundtrack to the point where it is one of the best-selling movie soundtracks of all time. Of course, he deservedly ended up winning the Original Score Oscar for his work on the film.
"My Heart Will Go On" had a drastic popularity drop shortly after the film's release, which unlike the film itself, it's never recovered from, to the point that star Kate Winslet mentions that she would throw up if she heard it again.
Genius Bonus: There is a small one involving the Hockley's. We are told that Cal's father made his fortune in steel. Cal mentions to Rose's mother while escorting her to dinner that there was "70,000 tons of Hockley steel in this very ship" in "all the right places, of course." Ruth teases that if anything goes wrong, they'll know who to hold accountable. If you've studied the sinking, you'd know that the ship's hull plates were made out of rolled steel, and that those plates buckled when the iceberg struck. Guess we have one more reason to hate Cal?
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The 2012 reissue of this film set a box-office record in China, opening at $67 million (more than it made in its entire 1998 run in the country).
Harsher in Hindsight: Considering the sinkings and cowardly actions of the captains and crew aboard the Costa Concordia and the Sewol, the heroic and professional choices of Captain Smith and the majority of Titanic's crew can be even more of a Tear Jerker for viewers, including those who have criticized them for the various mistakes that led to the sinking itself. At least they weren't in the first lifeboat leaving the ship, like the two captains and crew mentioned above, the latter of which resulted in nearly 300 children dying in the capsized Sewol. Women and children first...
Hell Is That Noise: The ship herself can be heard groaning louder and louder as the film progresses. The passengers are all too aware of what these sounds mean, especially when the top levels of the ship start going under water. The groaning directly before the grand staircase dome breaks and the ship splits in half are downright ominous and haunting.
Many real-life survivors claimed that despite the darkness, they could literally hear the Titanic and her remaining 1500 passengers slowly dying in the night. And then the silence came...
Hype Backlash: Big time. Many people found the characters flat and the storyline incredibly rote, and at best, window dressing for the rest of the film. There's good reason many people prefer the second part of the film, where the narrative kicks into high gear with the ship capsizing.
It Was His Sled: Jack freezes to death. Also, the Titanic hits an iceberg and sinks. Rose is a survivor.
Jerkass Has a Point: Quartermaster Robert Hitchins was in charge of lifeboat 6 (of which Molly Brown was a passenger). He was a less than heroic character in both real life and in the movie, but in the movie he states that they cannot go back to rescue the people in the water because they would swarm the boats and condemn them all in the process. It sounds heartless and cruel, but rowing a boat into a crowd of over 1,000 drowning and desperate people would have caused exactly that.
Jerkass Woobie: Cal. He genuinely cannot understand how Rose could possibly be happy as the wife of a homeless man with no financial security. Hell, even today you could forgive him for being bewildered. His treatment of Rose is also a direct by-product of his upbringing and culture, though that doesn't make it any less deplorable. Rose and Jack themselves, meanwhile, are clearly ahead of their time as far as their values go(this may explain why so many people view them as anachronistic characters). In short, he genuinely loves Rose but does not know how to show it properly, he loses her to Jack, and then gets to New York thinking that she's dead.
In support of this, one of the deleted scenes shows Cal on the Carpathia thinking he's found Rose, and rushing forward frantically...only to find out it's another woman. (And the real Rose, sitting nearby, even gets to witness this.) Whether a product of his times or not, the man clearly had issues in the way he treated Rose, but for that one moment at least, it seemed as if he really did love her on some level, and was desperately hoping to find her alive and safe. The shell-shocked look on his face in the lifeboat after Titanic had fully sunk (with Rose on it, as far as he knew) is also sobering.
The original script takes it even further, when he does find her alive and tries to make amends, the harrowing ordeal no doubt inspiring him to at least attempt a Heel-Face Turn. When she rebuffs him, he's genuinely heartbroken.
Then again, Cal is very aware that Rose has the diamond on her: "The diamond is in the coat. I put the coat on her!" and he clearly wants it. Given his actions on the ship, it's possible he's only looking for the diamond and is trying to sweet-talk her to get it.
Memetic Mutation: Loads, though the most famous remains Rose's declaration that she'll "never let go, Jack"...moments before she shoves him off her impromptu life raft, and we get a shot of him sinking into the depths. That and that damn song, which to this day can't be played without being mocked.
"Jack, draw me like one of your French girls" — an image macro with this quote as a caption and a character in a suggestive pose as an image. Humour derived from the character not being an attractive girl or the pose being not intentionally suggestive — no one's sure what's the proper way, as it started as one of 60s Spiderman macros which features both at once.
"I'll just wait here!" and "It's been 84 years...", especially on Tumblr.
"I'm the king of the world!" Especially after Cameron said it upon getting one of his many Oscars for the film, which he later admitted was "making a jackass of myself."
Moral Event Horizon: Cal Hockley crosses it when he decides to frame Jack for stealing the Heart of the Ocean. This was around the time the Titanic hit the iceberg too, and so Jack would have drowned in the brig if it weren't for Rose saving him. When Cal tries to redeem himself (in Rose's eye's at least), it is still shown he wishes to leave Jack to die. When Rose ultimately refuses to leave the boat without Jack, Cal attempts to shoot them both, in public no less. Not Good with Rejection much?
Narm / Narm Charm: There's a reason many aspects of this movie are often parodied, but a fair chunk of those parodies are in some measure affectionate. Not for nothing did Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips once call it "the worst-written film I ever happily saw twice".
Nightmare Fuel: The entire sequence of the Titanic sinking. The utter hysteria of the situation and the despair we see as so many people tried in vain to somehow stay alive is quite disturbing to say the least. It was probably even worse in real life.
Relationship Stu: Jack. Although it may be justified since we're seeing the story from Rose's perspective. However, it's a fair assumption that a big chunk of the backlash against the movie, especially from male audiences, came from this.
Retroactive Recognition: Ioan Gruffudd is Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, the one that rescues Rose from the icy waters. Lowe was the only lifeboat commander to go back to look for survivors.
"My Heart Will Go On" became another snark bait on its own, due to the same reasons. The fact that it was sung by CÚline Dion, who is pretty much Snark Bait incarnate among elitist music fans, didn't help much.
Special Effect Failure: The film has one of the first digital face replacements, i.e. the faces of two stunt doubles are replaced with the faces of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in one scene. It is painfully obvious, to say the least.
A few times during the sinking where there's a few revealing shots, people hitting foam and rubber objects, people sliding down on skateboards.
At one point, when Rose is approaching Jack on deck, the background of the ship looks extremelyfake and cartoonish.
Until it was corrected in the 10th anniversary DVD and 3D rerelease, the night sky was mirrored, with two identical halves.
Until Cal begins to Kick the Dog he is Roses' fiancee, and has every right to be angry about her going to the party with the guy she had just met yesterday. Being just unchaperoned friends was out of the question for the time, and it's worth noting he initially thought that Jack had attempted to rape Rose, not truly buying Rose's mostly-true explanation that she merely fell over the railing and he saved her.
Before Rose even meets Jack, Cal is constantly putting her down and treating her more like a pet than an actual human being. Also keep in mind that Rose's dad was a selfish scumbag who pinned a ton of debt on Rose and her mother. Rose probably sees a lot of her father in Cal. Also the only reason she is with him is because her mom keeps pressuring her into it.
Rose's mother has every right to be scared that she would have to go to work and have their things auctioned off, and marrying your daughter into a wealthy family to ensure wealth was very common. The Big Bad in that was really Rose's father, leaving his wife and daughter with a ton of bad debts.
Problem is that Rose's mother is still putting it all on her. And that's not even getting into the blatant emotional manipulation by the mother on her own daughter in that scene.
Tropes Are Not Bad: Like with Avatar, the formula may be well-worn, but it's Cameron's penchant for immersive, pain-stakingly detailed directing of the material that sweeps the viewer up anyway.
Visual Effects of Awesome: A few flubs aside, the film had some very groundbreaking effects for its day, both in practical and digital effects, which naturally won it the Oscar for Visual Effects.
The Woobie: It is not hard to feel sorry for Jack. He is an orphan since he was fifteen years old and homeless, not to mention his death. He noticed Rose when she was at her most vulnerable (trying to kill herself) and was willing to listen and care about how she felt when no one else would.
Any child victim who died in the sinking really counts.
None of the dogs shown in the film were Pekes or Poms, meaning all of them died.