First of all, I’d like to say that Naruto is my favorite Naruto character so maybe I’m a bit biased but I think that he’s one of the most underrated characters of Naruto. Personally, I never understand when people say that he’s just a generic shonen protagonist or that he’s less interesting than secondary characters such as Shikamaru, Shino, etc.
I’ve read a lot of shonen manga and IMO, he’s pretty unique, and is more complex and has better character development than most shonen protagonists, of course, there are better shonen protagonists than him, I’m just saying that I think that he’s a good character and that I don’t consider him to be a generic uninteresting shonen protagonist like most people seem to think.
I get that at first glance, he seems to be just another happy-go-lucky shonen protagonist but it’s clear since the first chapter of the manga that there’s much more to him than meets the eye. I think that the problem is that people analyze his character superficially and ignore a lot of things about his character that make him a really well-written and compelling character.
So, first, I'd like to talk about his childhood because it's what molded his personality, it's essential to understand his circumstances in order to understand his goals, personality, etc.
He lived his childhood without knowing who or what he was to deserve to be hated so much, heck, he didn’t even know why he existed… So summarizing, during his childhood, Naruto lived being hated by everyone and hating everyone, without even knowing the reason he was hated and questioning his own existence.
I hate that people ignore some of the most prominent and important aspects of his character in order to make him look like a happy-go-lucky invulnerable idiot who never doubts himself when he feels insecure and like a piece of shit (for not being able to fulfill his promises) for half of the story. I mean, when I was rereading the manga, I noticed that he beats himself up a lot, not just in one arc, in one specific moment. A lot of people, also ignore his character development and say that he didn't change at all when he's probably the character who changed the most.
I could talk a lot more about him because he's a really multi-dimensional character and has a lot of facets but I wouldn't be able to stop writing.