Award Snub: Despite being the highest grossing animated film of 2016 with a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it was not nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes and the Oscars. But it did win in several public voting awards like the People's Choice, Teens' Choice and Kids' Choice.
Nemo this time around. Does having him be sarcastic either make him surprisingly funny or bizarrely out of character? That being said, however, many feel Hayden Rolence was just as good a replacement (if not better) for Alexander Gould.
Hank. On one hand, he's a beautifully animated septopus who has a potentially interesting backstory, given his missing tentacle and his preference to being alone and living in captivity. On another hand, he's a Grumpy Bear who serves as a foil to Dory (perhaps the most beloved character of the franchise); one of the only positive traits he has in contrast to her is his tendency to make plans, which, as Dory points out, isn't even always the best idea.
Although most people agree that this film is good, whether or not it's as good as the first film or even superior is a point of serious debate.
Whether or not it should be the end for the Finding franchise. Some feel that Dory was the best and perhaps only thing left to truly be explored after the first film, and so a third film would feel forced and bad. On the other hand, many also feel that sacrificing elements of the first film (like the sharks, the tank gang, Nigel the pelican, and the entire ocean) is a clear sign that this is not the Grand Finale, and that there is still more unexplored greatness for the series.
ThisYouTube Poop of the original Finding Nemo, uploaded two years before this movie got released, uses Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" at one point. Finding Dory uses this same song during the film's climax.
Jerkass Woobie: Hank is a cranky septopus who is frequently rude towards Dory, and is seemingly only helping her to get her quarantine tag. But the fact that he's traumatized from being mishandled by people (in fact, the reason why he's so desperate to get Dory's quarantine tag is to be able to live a peaceful, secluded life without any contact with others) and was clearly terrified when he found himself in a touch tank makes him much more sympathetic. It's also highly implied that the loss of one of his tentacles due to a traumatizing experience is why he is so afraid of being released back into the wild.
"I suffer from short term mem-membory loss."note One of the most quoted lines of the film said by Baby Dory. Worth noting, this was originally supposed to be her only line, but her role grew over 3 years with more and more lines getting added in. The stutter was actually 4 year old Sloane Murray having trouble pronouncing the word.
"Baby Dory is 90% eyes"note Comments on how massive Baby Dory's eyes are.
Baby Dory and Anakin Skywalker disagreeing over their very different opinions of sand.
While most of the previous movie's characters are relegated to minor roles, they still have memorable appearances. Special mention goes to the turtles, the seagulls, and the Tank Gang.
The (implied) lesbian couple in the Aquarium.
The Humboldt Squid; it appears for maybe five minutes total, but it certainly does make an impression.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Pixar has never shied away from exploring real life issues. Finding Dory delves into disability and its perception and treatment in society. The flashbacks show how difficult it was for Dory's parents as she was growing up, as a clear representation of parents with a special needs child. Dory constantly blames herself and her inability to remember anything. Marlin also plays an important part with how he discriminates against other disabled characters and doubting their ability.
Spoiled by the Format: The names of the Tank Gang and their voice actors appear in the end credits before the characters themselves show up in The Stinger. This likely helped to viewers to stay to see the stinger.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Those who feel this movie is weaker than the first will often point out the fact that it's a smaller scale adventure than the first film (taking place in an aquarium instead of an ocean). Of course, making it large-scale might not have made much of a difference to the reception, and it also opens the possibility of a large-scale third film.
The Giant Squid, which takes the role of the anglerfish from the original movie. Unlike the anglerfish, however, the squid doesn't get outwitted in any way (our heroes simply flee from it), and it disappears entirely until a scene during the credits. Considering that the climax takes place outside the institute (and features nearly everyone coming Back for the Finale), it could've easily made a reappearance. Although considering it's an antagonist to the main characters, it would more likely just get in the way of the main objective.
Hank is the only sea creature of the franchise who's from the ocean but actually wants to live in human captivity. He shows signs of trauma thinking about living in the ocean and is incredibly pushy about getting his turn to go far inland. The movie never explains why Hank feels this way, why he has a change of hearts near the climax, or even what happened to his eighth tentacle. Of course, this could all be an idea for a future film.
The Tank Gang were actually going to be main characters in the film who helped Marlin and Nemo look for Dory. Why in the world they were demoted to a brief scene after the credits (especially considering it involved bringing back all their voice actors) is a mystery that to this day remains unanswered, but it's highly speculated that it's because their storyline is being saved for the next film.
Pretty much everyone wanted to see the sharks again, and for Crush to have a bigger part. Chances are that they're all being Saved for the Sequel, however.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: After the first film made such a big deal about just getting to Australia, it can seem pretty weird that this film treats crossing the entire Pacific Ocean so casually. Though many fans are willing to forgive it as it both lets most of the film take place in a new location that stops it from feeling like a complete retread, and leaves open the possibility of a more epic-scale third film.
Tough Act to Follow: Considering how well-loved Finding Nemo is, and the fact that it had 13 years to be loved as just a stand-alone film, expectations for the sequel were a little too high with some. Not quite as bad as some examples though as having fan favorite Dory as the main character here did help a ton, and the reviews for this film were very, very positive.
The opening sequence alone pretty much cements Dory as the biggest Woobie in the ocean. Not only has she suffered from memory issues even as a child, but she was separated from her family and tried fruitlessly to find them until she forgot what she's looking for in the first place, and spent goodness knows how long wandering the ocean alone until she bumped into Marlin. Can also be considered an Iron Woobie due to how cheerful and funny she typically is.
Destiny. Her poor eyesight makes it hard for her to tell when a wall is coming up, causing her to continually hit her head against them. Even though Bailey is trying to help her detect walls faster, it just doesn't seem to be working. That's why it's so wonderful to see her get into the ocean, where she'll never have to worry about walls again.
The overly-dramatic clam mentioned above. Even though he does burst into tears over silly things, his claim that he hasn't had someone to talk to for ages does make you feel sorry for him.
Gerald. Even though it's played for laughs, how much he gets verbally abused can make him sympathetic.
Visual Effects of Awesome: Hank the Octopus has been said to be the most complex CGI rig Pixar has ever done. It took two years for the studio to finish even one of his scenes! They explain it in detail here.