Michael Cox’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." - HAL 9000
A technical masterpiece. There's no doubt about it. In every way on a technical level, this is one of the finest films ever made. The production design, score, visual and practical effects and cinematography are all ahead of their time and stand the test of time. Perfection realized.
But is it one of the greatest films of all-time? I don't think so. Sure, its themes are deep, but is there really something there? I get that it's influential and it is one of the most influential films of all-time, but outside of that influence, the story's pretty simple and really only exists in the second act. The first act acts as set up for motifs and the third act is a visual odyssey of light and symbolism. Don't get me wrong, the third act is utterly transcendent and transportive and one of the greatest things I've ever seen, but does that really make up for its often dreadful pacing or pretty basic story? No.
For the film's reputation of being perfect, there are numerous times where characters' common sense is thrown out the window and the pacing is all over the place.
This is probably my least favorite Kubrick so far, but I'm glad I finally watched it! Just because it's influential, I can appreciate it, but I don't believe that warrants such a high rating for me if the experience doesn't live up to the acclaim it's been given.