Normally, if you give people an example to follow, it helps if people notice the example.
The different popes talk about the things that are important to them, and things that have shaped them.
One of John Paul II’s big marks left behind was the resistance to communism. Pius XII fought the Nazis from the shadows, because he was subtle and educated in European politics. He knew he could make more of an impact from behind the scenes, and put fewer people in direct danger, than by a frontal assault. Karol Wotjyla, however, was an athlete and an actor and a manual laborer. He didn’t have that training that Pacelli had, from experience as Cardinal Secretary of State and working with treaties and working as a diplomat/papal nuncio to Germany and everything else. So Pius XII went about things his way— and people still debate him and his intentions to this day. John Paul II went about things his way— and while people might grumble about “oh, he really didn’t do that much”, he was much less nuanced.
Benedict was a scholar who wasn’t afraid to not package things in soft words, or tap-dance around his point. Everyone remembers the “dictatorship of relativism” homily in the Mass before the Conclave. The media was all “Oooo, he just wiped out any chance of being elected the next Pope, if he’s going to talk like that.” Two days and four ballots later— poof. He still ruffled feathers at times— like the Regensburg lecture, where he used to be a professor-- and when quoted a passage by Manuel II Palaiologos, who was the third-to-last Byzantine emperor, and whose dynasty had been battling the Ottomans for, what, 70 years? And would eventually topple to them after about 90 years of war? Before the Pope quoted it, I doubt one person in a hundred thousand could tell you anything significant about “26 Dialogues with a Persian”. (Hint: It had never been translated into English; it had only been translated into German as of 1966. Haven’t checked when the French came out.) (Another fun fact: here’s an internet translation, that got half-translated, before the translator got bored and found something else to work on, because no one seemed to care about it. Because people really weren’t interested in “let’s read these thoughts by someone whose empire was being battered by the Ottoman Turks; let’s jump on the Pope for saying things we don’t want to hear.”)