In the 2010 blockbuster, Inception, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Dom Cobb, says, “Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.” I’d like to believe that 2020 is a dream.

We may not be able to plant ideas in our minds for a better year, but we can reminisce about Inception. The Dark Knight may be Christopher Nolan’s best movie, but Inception is his most important movie. After the success of The Dark Knight, Nolan could literally (say ‘literally’ with the voice of a 15-year-old teenager) do anything he wanted. Not only did Nolan write and direct the greatest superhero film ever made, but helped create the most memorable character of the 21st century, Heath Ledger’s Joker. The Dark Knight was so influential that the Academy increased their number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten because the film was noticeably absent in that category.

Nolan had all the juice in the world. He could have completed the trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises as his next move. In 2020, where Marvel, Disney, and well-known IP like Mission Impossible dominate the box office, producing an original blockbuster is not only risky, but it’s a death sentence. Instead, Nolan decided to create a summer blockbuster from an original concept. I’m not an expert, but I think Nolan made the right decision since the film grossed $825 million-plus worldwide and received 8 Academy Award nominations (4 wins) including Best Picture.

Warner Bros. Pictures

In simplest terms, Inception is a mind-fuck. It’s straight out of the Christopher Nolan playbook. The film is a high-concept idea with huge set pieces, visually-stunning action sequences, and a signature twist to keep the audience guessing. Everyone recognizes Nolan’s talent as a filmmaker. However, with many of his films, there are some fans that will go to the ends of the Earth to defend Inception and then there are those who will do whatever it takes to prove that Inception is a terrible movie. For a director that consistently grosses hundreds of millions at the box office, Nolan is extremely polarizing.

Now would be a good time to say that I’m a huge Nolan fan who believes Inception was one of the ten best films of the decade. I don’t need everything in Inception to make sense. I don’t always need the science to match up. I’m ok with suspending reality for two and a half hours to watch Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and the rest of the gang travel through dream levels. Was Leo still stuck inside his dream at the end? The answer is no. Move on, Internet.

Despite my love for Inception, I’ve always had one major problem with the film. It has nothing to do with the logistics of dreams and the moral effects it can have on the world. It also has nothing to do with any technical aspects of the film. My one problem with Inception is the scene with Mal’s death.

For reasons I can’t fully comprehend, this scene makes me laugh every time. This is not the time for a laugh whatsoever. It’s actually pretty tragic. Cobb’s wife, Mal, could not face reality after 50 years in the dream world. Mal thought she was still dreaming so in order to wake up, she decided to commit suicide by jumping out of her hotel room. Mal also framed Cobb for her death with the hopes that Cobb would commit suicide, too. Mal’s death tortures Cobb throughout the entire movie because he’s responsible for her introduction to the dream world. Cobb achieved inception with Mal, which ruined her life. This guilt and failure to move on are why Mal shows up to thwart every one of Cobb’s plans on each level. And yet, I’m the asshole who laughs when Cobb screams, “Mal no!”

In a movie about traveling within dreams and ideas that go against the laws of nature, Mal’s tragic death is the storyline I found to be the most ridiculousness. It’s heartbreaking that Mal died, but I find it hard to believe that Cobb, a criminal mastermind and innovative thinker, could be so easily outsmarted and framed for a death he did not commit. However, the real reason for my laughter is Leo’s reaction. Leo is on my Mount Rushmore of actors I love and adore, but there’s something about a dramatic and over-the-top Leo scream that makes me smile.

This problem is truly a “me problem,” but thankfully, it does not ruin the movie. Inception hive, stand up!

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