I have to feel sorry for Christopher Nolan. The man has a reputation to uphold as the premier filmmaker people namedrop these days when they want to make that old argument about how mass-market appeal movies don’t have to be as dumb as rocks in order to see multi-million dollar success. I would have thought that opinion was self-evident, but clearly people are insecure enough to spout Nolan’s praises at the drop of a hat and claim that no, The Dark Knight Rises wasn’t bad, you just didn’t understand it.
Nolan’s legacy has therefore become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy; people expect a certain level of intelligence and precision in his filmmaking, and so he is forced to provide ammunition for the individuals who refuse to appreciate the work of Bruckheimer and Bay. If Nolan makes an arthouse flick with nary a gunshot or explosion in sight, his viewership plummets; if Nolan makes a nonsensical action film masquerading as social commentary, his critics are left in the uncomfortable situation of having to defend something they know is dumb as rocks. Vive la DKR.
That having been said, a website existed to explain the ending of Inception for those of us who didn’t get it. Clearly my faith in humanity’s intelligence can be seen as overly optimistic.