My full review. Not spoilery, but here it is.
If I were to write this review in a way that mimicked the film, it'd start with a really strong and emotional paragraph, followed by one which is interesting, and then everything would slow way down so that I could explain in great detail how the power of love acts like a real scientifically based force. And then there'd be a dumb paragraph that also explains things but doesn't actually make any sense, and then there'd be a thrilling paragraph, another explainy one (this one mostly out of breath) and then crazy things would happen, in the middle of which would be a bunch of unnecessary explanation, and then the review would be over. Do you get it? I'm saying Christopher Nolan, perhaps from some fear that not explaining something would lead the internet to cry out "Plot holes," explains way too much throughout the majority of Interstellar.
And the thing of it is that the plot of Interstellar, the mechanics of it, aren't difficult to understand. Nolan isn't introducing anything new to the storytelling vernacular, as one could argue he was doing in Inception. No, here it's kind of a straightforward space exploration movie. There's time dilation to contend with, sure, but it's not like that's the hardest thing to understand. So instead of giving us needed clarity on difficult topics, the explanation only serves to make what might have been a wondrous experience ponderous and the opposite of awe-inspiring. It explains away the awe.
Which is really too bad, because the rest of the film is really good. Nolan finally has a human touch, and I even got a little teary-eyed when Matthew McConaughey said goodbye to his young daughter. It's a terrific scene which displays and indulges in actual human emotions and transitions beautifully into the launch sequence. From there, much of the space travel stuff works, including a really cool planet with giant waves. The visuals are impressive, although they don't hold thematic relevance like similar shots of space stations in front of giant celestial bodies did in Sunshine. While some character motivations get a bit muddled in the middle, McConaughey's presence provides a steady and emotional throughline that anchors the film in reality while the rest of it spins off into the outer reaches of space and time. In all, there's great promise here that doesn't quite deliver due to the writers' and director's fear that we wouldn't follow them. Trust in your audience, Nolan, and we'll buy whatever you'd like to sell.