Warning: Big Post Ahead
To go back a bit to the destiny vs self-worth talk, people defending that Part II and its destiny-heavy tropes don't seem to realize that the hard work and proving oneself was a theme that one could say it was the core of Part I.
Debunking a misconception right away, destiny is NOT the reason behind Naruto's advantage throughout the plot, it's his main character prerogative. As a main character, Naruto is supposed to overcome every obstacle thrown in his way and get all the best morsels, but the path taken isn't exclusive to destiny in fiction, which is demonstrated by Kishimoto in Part I, who made Naruto use the hard work and proving oneself nindo.
A quick look at Naruto in the introductory arc demonstrates how that nindo was basic in Part I: the only thing Naruto had going for him was his status as Jinchuuriki, which was double-edged at best. He was dumb as rocks (still is when Kishi is on his bad writing mood, but I digress), nobody gave a fuck about him and, if not for the astounding uselessness of Sakura, he'd be the load of the group. Kishimoto purposefully put prodigies (Kakashi and Sasuke) and a wild goal (being Hokage) so when Naruto surpassed them and achieved his goal through hard work, an exemplar Aesop would be created and the reader would relate to it.
This was taken to the tee (bar PnJ, but again, main character's prerogative) until the Penis Arc. You had Naruto trying to take out the poison by himself (vs Zabuza's patsies), coming up with neat little strategies (vs Zabuza and Kiba) and, most notably, succeed where other people of similar nindo have failed.
It is no coincidence that Kishi introduced not one but two hardworking characters that belong to two sides of the same spectrum: the character with great tools to succeed but a frail will (Hinata, which became a possible love interest... if Naruto leaves the cock, that is) and the character without the tools to succeed but with an overwhelming will to do so (Rock Lee). Again, can't blame coincidence on Lee winning over golden boy Sasuke when he's introduced and Naruto copying the move to win over Kiba.
By making both Hinata and Lee lose to prodigies (Neji and Gaara), Naruto became the beacon against destiny by having both the tools and the will to carry on. Hence the self-worth vs destiny talk between Naruto and Neji and the fact Kurama's chakra WASN'T what made Naruto win the fight. What made Naruto win that fight was him creating a distraction and digging with his own hands to create an opening to knock Neji out. It was the first time Naruto, the underdog, won over a prodigy (hint, hint, Kakashi defeated Haku, so mentioning him is void).
This was further taken with Naruto vs Gaara. Remember what happened before it: Sasuke, the prodigy who just got the Chidori upgrade, simply failed and Naruto came, saw and won. And to add to the cauldron, Itachi appeared shortly after and wasn't after Sasuke, but Naruto. Of course Sasuke was oblivious of Akatsuki's intents, but those two events together shook the foundations of his belief. He was the last of one of the most prestigious clans of the ninja world, his skill was flawless and he had an existential goal in mind and he just got surpassed by some riff-raff who nobody gave a dime for some time ago. So VotE was a pile-up of themes incarnated in its fighters: Naruto was the underdog who found power through hardwork and wanted to bond with people vs Sasuke, the prodigy who lost faith in his abilities and wanted to be left alone. Naruto lost for two reasons: to make him fallible despite his good intents and to further accentuate the dichotomy between the two.
Gaara Rescue Arc continued the trend, only subdued by the novelty of the timeskip and Akatsuki, but then the Penis Arc happened and started with the destiny bullshit while undermining the previous theme. You might not notice it at first, but the dichotomy between Naruto and Sasuke shifted and the parallels also shifted. Yes, Naruto was still the underdog wanting to maintain a bond and paralleled with Minato/Hashirama and Sasuke was the prodigy who wanted to sever a bond an paralleled with Madara, but here are the differences: the dichotomy shifted in terms of will and added the good/bad themes.
Yes, I know that Naruto's the good guy and Sasuke was doing a bad thing, but that wasn't an aspect of the dichotomy until then. Neither Naruto nor Sasuke were preoccupied about being good/bad, but Penis Arc suddenly made Naruto incapable of doing harm to Sasuke (which is baffling after Naruto saying that he'd break Sasuke's bones if that was what it took to bring Sasuke back) and lost his will, while Sasuke had a renewed will. And more poignant, the way Kurama made the parallel between Sasuke and Madara was way different in tone than previous parallels. In Part I, we knew damn well Naruto was Minato's son and akin to Hashirama while Sasuke was akin to Madara, but both of them weren't equated to them, those names of the past were there as goalposts for the both of them. But not this time, Kurama made it sound and clear that Sasuke was the new Madara, as if he was destined to share the same life and fate. It wouldn't be that bad by itself, since it was made to the prodigy and not the underdog, but it opened the precedent.
Fast forward to Part II trainings and the struggle was gone. You might argue the Rasengan training was quicker than it should, but at least you saw Naruto failing, trying again and failing and actually figure out what worked. FRS training? Just an issue of time, there was no real struggle there. SM training? Again, time was the issue, even error was taken out of the equation due to the nature of Nature Chakra (pun intended). CM training? Hug your dark side and bombard Kurama with mom's help! So hard work was killed in the Immortal's Arc, what's left, the underdog who wants to create bonds?
Oh yes, the underdog status of Naruto. Yeah, the Child of Prophecy pretty much killed that status back in Hunt for Itachi Arc, Kurama's Containment dug the grave and now this flashback with the RS just nailed the coffin. So there's still the bonds case, amirite? No, not really. Kage Summit made sure it got crushed. Naruto's bond with Sasuke began as a brothers-in-arms sort of thing and Kage Summit transmuted it into a lovesick obsession from Naruto's side, to the point where Sasuke screams "WTF is wrong with you?!". So that bond no longer is and Naruto deliberately left all other bonds just to maintain that one and fail at it. Hinata's confession went unanswered, Sakura had an abstract bridge dropped on her and the rest of the cast no longer counted for him (and he had to be reminded of that fact by a person who he met twice before. TWICE).
So, by chapter 490+, the core of the Aesop was shifted so badly it contained nothing the original Aesop had. This was further proved by the looks of CM and that horrid panel of Joseph, Mary and Jesus replaced by Minato, Kushina and Naruto. And that flashback of Kurama about Naruto's accomplishments was so misguided that it included, of all things, Neji's fight, which was so intrinsic to Part I's Aesop that lost all meaning put after the panel I mentioned above.
TL, DR version: Part II undermined Part I's Aesop and that's obvious.