In the words of William Goldman, "nobody knows anything". It's interesting how sometimes you go watch a film expecting brilliance and finding disappointment, or the other way around. You never know. The fact that it may happen at all levels -and with any budget- is to me kind of refreshing, and I just wanted to give a quick example with 3 of the latest films I've seen.
Inception: A film I couldn't wait to see and that most people seem to love for reasons that escape my comprehension. A superb idea brought down by the unnecessarily numerous rules imposed by the writing and the endless explanatory movie-stopping sequences. Dreams where possibility is purely a reflection of physical forces and not human, limitless imagination. A spectacular visual effect-packed feast wasted in a merely passable experience. An experience, however, instantly turned into religious dogma by the touch of Saint Christopher Nolan, the man who made the first realistic superhero movie (apparently, the ones before don't seem to count) and became a god in the process. In short, you expect 9, get just a 5... Oh well.
The A-Team: A film I wasn't so excited about but I HAD to see (it's the A-Team, yey!). You can tell has been done for the fans, crafted with love and respect for the original characters and the TV series. Not perfect at all, but thoroughly enjoyable. See? Expect 4, get at least 8! Lovely.
And of course there's Pixar. As usual, beyond any labels or classifications. You expect 10, you usually get 12. Damn it, Toy Story 3 is a film so brilliant that makes you both laugh out loud and cry your eyes out in less than 2 hours. A story that you experience intensely, caring about the characters and living it all with them. That's what cinema should be all the time! All that despite being a 3rd part. A 3rd! Seriously, who else can make not a great 3rd part, but even an acceptable one?
You can't beat Pixar. That's the moral here, I guess. Or maybe not.