UPDATE: I saw it again and changed my mind! Never mind! See comments.
As promised, and mindful of the fact that I'm in a small minority (9.3 at IMDB!!!), here goes...
Inception bored me so much I literally had to get up in the middle and seek amusement--in the form of a $4.00 box of chocolate chip cookie dough candy. I managed to stay awake only by consuming said confection for the final hour.
Why so boring?
#1 We are to believe that Leonardo DiCaprio leads a team of dream manipulators who are tasked with implanting an idea in a a rich guy's head to get him to break apart his dead father's mega-business. Their modus operandi is not just altering the guy's dreams, but setting up group dreams. The whole team, plus the rich guy, wind up on an airplane having an exciting and eventful team dream which has been planned ahead of time by a dream architect.
Now, I'm willing to suspend disbelief. I don't need to know how things work in painstaking detail. The Matrix, for example, works just fine for me. In principle a person could have their brain manipulated by a computer, so that they experience a completely convincing virtual reality. It's not hopelessly incoherent to think this could happen in the way The Matrix depicts: characters lie down in a chair and put on a helmet.
But what's with these team dreams? To begin with, how do they get going? The dream team has some fancy suitcases. When they open them up, we can see some bottles and wires inside. They set them down next to the group, and they all start dreaming. But wait--dreams take place in our brains. We see nothing that connects the suitcases to people's brains. This is....nuts.
And how does the architect create the dreams to begin with? Well, she creates models--real world architectural models. But how do the models get into the suitcases that somehow get into people's dreams? Why (on earth) should we go along with this?
But it's even worse. How does it make a difference whether a group is dreaming, or just one person? How do the team members exert control during the dream, so that they can make the rich guy dream the right thing, and receive the crucial idea?
In short: WHAT???
#2 Much of the movie consists of the team dream that commences on the airplane, and by all means it's a visual phantasmagoria. But I'm afraid still a big bore. In real life, and in movie depictions of real life, we know that when someone falls down or gets shot, that can change the outcome. So we feel concern and suspense. In a dream events don't matter in the same way. There are no rules for ordinary dreams--anything can happen next. Granted, the laws for preplanned team dreams are somehow different. The events somehow matter, and the team members somehow affect the events. But how does it all really work? Who knows. So it really doesn't exactly matter what happens all along the way in the dream. Or does it? I'm afraid this uncertainty really makes it hard to care. (Did you know that chocolate chip cookie dough candy is actually quite good?)
#3 But wait, what about the marvelous stuff about the difficulty of telling the contents of our minds from reality? There's talk about this, but it just sounds like talk (yadda, yadda)--and not fresh talk either, given all the previous mind/reality movies. The movie doesn't create any gripping anxiety about the line between dream-reality and actual-reality until the very end (which I won't spoil by discussing), unlike great mind/reality movies like The Truman Show, The Matrix, and Strange Days.
Granted, 99% of people who see this movie find it suspenseful and intellectually engaging, but I'm right and they're wrong. (Hey, I write an arts column for a small circulation magazine. That gives me authority!) Go ahead, tell me what you thought. I promise to be civilized about this.