People criticize Spock's death in TWOK because it got rendered meaningless with his return - talk about meaningless sacrifice here with Kirk.
Spock's death in TWOK was meant to be a price that Kirk had to pay in order to A) survive Khan and B) understand that he can't always cheat death.
In Into Darkness, it was a way by which Kirk would grow to understand the responsibilities of being captain. The two scenes don't have the same impact, but in both cases, Kirk has to survive in order for them to work.
The Stig wrote:
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