I enjoyed it but for me, if all those things you mentioned had not been used, I would have liked it more. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, love or hate etc.
It's also worth noting that it was really Spock who saved the Federation. If he'd followed Kirk's advice to pursue the Narada the Enterprise would have been destroyed. It was only his decision to maroon Kirk where he got additional info plus transwarp beaming that they were able able to implement a viable plan and even then, Kirk was going to beam to the Narada alone, which would have led to the plan failing.
Kirk's judgment was actually quite poor all throughout the first film. He just got lucky because the writers wanted him to. His arc in the second film was much improved at least.