If it's crap ... We'll tell you
I've never been a fan, but I've also never been an outspoken detractor either. His reputation is a bit puzzling to me, but I have found some enjoyment in his films.
Bordwell (an incredible film theorist) wrote a wonderful blog on subject:
I always thought that Nolan was a decent director. (Some times it's the writing that feels weak)....
But having said that, there is NO WAY that I would say that he's better than Scorsese, or even Mel Brooks at his prime.
Nolan's key issue with me as a director is still his action scenes. He's gotten MUCH BETTER, but still think they are filmed too close and that he's in the editing room with too many quick-cuts and odd angles.
I've lost count how many times I have been called a "Nolanite" for stating that I liked TDKR.
"And just to be fair, TDKR was ONLY nitpicked because Nolan made it"
How about the fact that it was a piece of shit.
"Even then TDKR was a near perfect film"
Oh, nevermind, I didn't realize that you were a complete retard.
In my mind, a lot of awful films have scored high on rottentomatoes and placed in IMDB's top 250. Popularity doesn't mean greatness, one look at the billboard charts will tell you that. Saying Nolan's somehow better than everyone except for Kubrick is more than a bit of a stretch, as the guy wouldn't even come close to cracking a top 100 of directors in terms of greatness, influence and importance. Much of American film is made to be as digestible as possible, and Nolan isn't too different save for his use of embedded stories which only make the story harder to grasp in the first 15 minutes or so.
But since this thread seems to be about TDKR, I'll offer my thoughts on it. I think it's a sloppy film. Not a horribly bad one, but one with genuine storytelling problems and simply adequate visual storytelling. The fact that there are so many hotly debated plot points/holes really says something about the quality of the writing (not that it's complex, but rather not thought out, or cut down due to time constraints). There are moments I like, like Batman and Bane's first showdown (let's face it, Nolan's his best at his most subjective), but there are just too many problems. Also, any movie that uses a literal bus-load of orphans for emotional manipulation has to have some problems in the writing room.
I think we just fundamentally disagree on the importance of IMDB's top 250. They've never explained what a 'regular voter' is, and even then, the list tends to lean towards popularity and crowd pleasing over cinematic greatness. Look at how high fillms with questionable morals and little cinematic innovation place high simply because they pass through the 'feel-good' motions, like Life is Beautiful or Forrest Gump. Both the IMDB top 250 and Rottentomatoes are mainly founded upon the fallacy of popularity. Some of the critics on RT are scholars, or carry authority in the field of film, but several are simply grassroots movie bloggers. For the most part, both sites are influenced by people who watch movies but may or may not be informed in the field.
I really like this list: http://theyshootpictures.com/gf1000_all1000films_table.php
It's based off several polls from scholars, filmmakers and industry professionals, and I think works as a much better guideline of greatness in film.
And because you dared me ;) :
Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Martin Scorsese, Luis Bunuel, Jean Renoir, John Ford, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Andrei Tarkovsky, Howard Hawks, Robert Bresson, Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Yasujiro Ozu, Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Werner Herzog, David Lynch, Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, Steven Spielberg, John Huston, Sergei Eisenstein, The Coen Brothers, Ernst Lubitsch, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Alain Resnais, Sidney Lumet, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, John Cassavetes, Clint Eastwood, Roberto Rossellini, Abbas Kiarostami, Michael Powell, Preston Sturges, Pier Paolo Pasolini, F.W. Murnau, Frank Borzage, Stanley Donen, Vincente Minnelli, Francis Ford Coppola, Vittorio De Sica, Nicholas Ray, Luchino Visconti, John Carpenter, Satyajit Ray, Sam Peckinpah, Anthony Mann, David Cronenberg, Hal Ashby, Steven Soderbergh, Josef Von Sternberg, Wim Wenders, Elia Kazan, Douglas Sirk, Milos Forman, Shohei Imamura, Nagisa Oshima, Mike Leigh, Roy Andersson, Errol Morris, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville, Max Ophuls, King Vidor, Richard Linklater, Claude Chabrol, John Frankenheimer, Rene Clair, Jean Painleve, Agnes Varda, Chantal Akerman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Claire Denis, Olivier Assayas, Tsai Ming-Liang, Hou Hsaio Hsien, Edward Yang, Andrzej Wajda, Krzsyztof Kieslowski, Michael Mann, Bud Boetticher, Jacques Tourneur, Arthur Penn, Theo Angelopoulos, Peter Greenaway, Joseph Losey, Manoel de Oliveira, Raoul Walsh, Louis Feuillade, Stanley Kubrick, William Wyler, Maurice Pialat, Bernardo Bertolucci, Louis Malle, Miklos Jancso, David Lean, Kenji Mizoguchi, Francois Truffaut, Robert Wise, Hayao Miyazaki, Yuri Norstein... etc.
Nolan is still an important director to be sure, we wouldn't be talking about him if he wasn't, but I, and just about everyone I know in person don't see him as much more than a serviceable genre filmmaker.
It was just off the top of my head, not meant to be the be all end all. But Kobayashi's pretty good. Never was a fan of The Human Condition, but Harakiri is a wonderful film.