Why can't you just stop being movies?
I would like you to know that Christopher Nolan would like you to know that you are an idiot. Supposing you think this movie is "insanely brilliant," anyway, then this is probably the case and you don't have to bother with the rest of this post. Shoo.
Hot damn. This movie is two and a half hours in length. In and of itself, the length of a movie is never an item to hold against it, but anyway, Inception qualifies itself as garbage in record-breaking speed. Take your pick, really; the first act of this movie is problematic on many levels. The exposition entirely fails to set up a threshold for its characters to rise to, and also manages to weave a loopy web of logic that only becomes more absurd as the movie progresses. You wake when you fall, and also when your body hits water – except when it is necessary to demonstrate the effects of the latter, because then the former is disregarded if the two happen to intertwine (a mere five minutes into the movie, Leo falls in a chair into a tub of water, and in the dream, he sees the water; this implies that he hit the water before waking up, which raises the question of why the fall leading to the water did not wake him up). This is consistent throughout the movie, as one of the dreams in the main action of the movie has its world in zero gravity – this, because the creator of the dream is experiencing free fall in the level above his own dream (and of course, does not wake up, allowing the plot to move forward). And in saying all this, I am trying to demonstrate that Inception tries to masquerade its convoluted plot and logic as deep and perhaps challenging, hoping, desperately, that the viewer will not see through the ruse. Well, supposing you don't care, consider the following...
Inception's plot has to do with dreams. And yet, the most imaginative thing ever manifested in the dream world is a train appearing out of nowhere, then disappearing. Similarly, the faceless assassins that constitute the adversaries throughout the movie's action scenes are bland, uninteresting, and uncharacterized... and incidentally, so are the protagonists. Regarding Leo – why do I care? He's hardly even present in the context of his team's goal to plant the seeds of doubt in Cillian's character. He has no physical presence in the aftermath of his actions regarding the company's takeover ordeal, nor does he play too big a part inside the dream world itself, in any context. In the same vein, Ellen Paige is equally useless – after she architects a world for the rest of the cast to play in, she contributes nothing further and seems more content on being an annoying and pretentious brat as she is in every movie she has ever been in. Gordon-Levitt at least does something meaningful – he stumbles around a hotel room making sure that some sleeping people don't bump into the walls. And don't even point to Tom Hardy, because that guy could have been replaced with any other cast member save Ellen Paige and there would have been no difference regarding the success of the mission.
Speaking of the mission, it's a fucking heist movie without any consequence for getting caught. Nor does being killed have any consequence, because as the movie states, that will merely cause one to wake up absent harm. I tried, very much, to find at least some kind of problem presented in the movie that I cared about, but it's quite hard – aside from brainwashing Cillian (don't care), the team dying along the way (can't happen; can't care – don't care), I am left with that weird cameo by Michael Caine and something about Leo's kids. Well, supposing Leo has an issue getting back into the states, why not ask Caine to fly the kids to Switzerland? Surely a man as rich as he can afford this, or can at least take some personal time. Point being – the problems in this movie that aren't illogical are contrived: Cotillard is only an issue because Leo can't control himself, except when he can, but then he can't. But the worst offense here is just that – Leo's arc (this guy is the main character) has more to do with Cotillard than the main action of the movie.
Perhaps there is something more to this movie. I have been told time and again that I am missing something. "It's so much deeper," they say. "It is very, very good, you see," they say also. Well, guys, you know what? You probably think the true "depth" of Inception lies in the mess it tries to pass off as its mind-bending structure. This, of course, being the recursion present in the dream-within-a-dream schtick. At this point, I would like to point out that in my freshman year in high school, I took a basic class in Java. Within three months, I had learned about simple recursion, and I contend that even if I had not done this, I would have been able to understand the simple plot of this movie. There is no complexity in the straightforward tasks being carried out in any of the dreams: in reality, a plane is being flown; in the first layer, a van is being driven; in the second layer, some schmuck keeps some more schmucks from bumping their heads; and in the final layer, some further schmucks are penetrating a snowy fortress. There is hardly any additional complexity derived from the idiosyncratic interactions between different layers, because the characters go to great length to spoon-feed the audience anyway – the worst offender is (surprise!) Ellen Paige, who is constantly telling the audience how the rules work. Regardless, the time-dilation principle and everything else layer-related hardly permeates the action in a meaningful way – all that is shown in practice is that the guys in the first layer aren't going to experience a relatively long amount of time spent in the mission-completion process, and that the guys in the layers below them need the former guys to not wake up. So again, perhaps this is convoluted, but it is certainly not complicated.
So where does the supposed depth of this movie lie? Nowhere, really, but there is a fun tidbit to consider: Ken Watanabe acts as the producer, Leo and Paige are set designers, Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy are the actors, and Cillian Murphy is the audience. So Inception is a movie about making movies. Great, right? Well, I suppose it would be, if it wasn't simply the case that almost every movie of the bank heist archetype has some kind of leader, some kind of set/plan designer, some guys for muscle, and maybe some other douche for explosives/special effects. All of this makes me tired of hearing the words "brilliant" and "amazing" and the like being thrown around like some two-dollar hooker at every occasion this movie comes up. I am almost as sick of this as the clichéd "but it was all a dream..." schtick. Huh... something about Inception's ending here seems... wait. FUCK.