I watched this again for the first time since the theater run last week.
It holds up better than my memory of it - specifically, Nimoy's performance was better than I remembered - the strongest performance of the film IMO, although he has one hell of a home field advantage. : )
I still don't like some of the hamfisted plot elements, but Kirk's rapid advancement does make sense in its own emergency context. I don't think Kirk is being portrayed as a rebel. He is an archetype of a natural leader, which according to Pike, Starfleet was lacking.
To a general audience, I'd put this film just behind STIV.
Hopefully in the next film, the characters will "settle" in and be less caricatures of what came before. Although the telescoping katana was