I think Inception might have the same "problem" that Blade Runner has. Although, knowing how much a fan of Blade Runner Nolan is, perhaps it's on purpose.
Blade Runner is ostensibly about loss of humanity, and that Roy Batty, a replicant, can feel and love life more than a human. But if the "twist" of it all is that Deckerd is a replicant himself, it kind of robs the movie of thematic weight for a satirically dark twist.
I've never really bought into that criticism of the unicorn cut of Blade Runner. Humans are still willing to enslave Replicants, even to the point of designing a Replicant to kill Replicants who strive for freedom, setting Deckard up as a Blade Runner because they have such a low opinion of Replicants' capacity for free will, agency, and love.
The movie doesn't need a human viewpoint character to show that humans can be unfeeling scum (although there is Gaff), because we already know
that humans can be and often are unfeeling scum.
At most it undermines Deckard's feelings for Rachel, because if he's a Replicant and knows he's a Replicant his choice to flee with her instantly becomes no great moral decision. But so what? The movie's about Deckard's awakening and Batty's mercy, and it doesn't matter whether they're technically human or not.
Now that was a long and possibly unnecessary segue to get to the point that I agree with you on one level--that Inception's flaws are much the same as Blade Runner. Blade Runner's premise is full of holes. The most obvious is "What kind of dumbass genetic engineer gives superstrength to a sexbot? Or even the capacity for intelligence?" This is followed by "Why do the Replicants not have obvious marks to distinguish them from humans?" "Wouldn't something superhumanly strong already be easily distinguishible from a human without a need for an empathy test?" (Cf. Battlestar Galactica.
) "Would a slightly stronger human be more useful in, say, an unobtainium mine than a giant piece of actual mining equipment?"
Inception is very similar to that, asking that belief be suspended at some really questionable things. The biggest example, I repeat, is the years of experiential memory formed in a few seconds, which I am convinced is not biologically possible because of little-known restraints like caloric requirements for mental activity, waste heat, and the boiling point of water. Yet, like Blade Runner, Inception has the "thematic weight" of which you speak to forgive its flaws.
David cgc wrote:
All I heard was a strangled cry of frustration from a woman in the audience, and then the rest of us tittering in sympathy with her reaction.
If this is so, I couldn't hear it and I doubt anyone else could over my involuntary, cruel laughter.