What to make of Jupiter Ascending?

In one specific sense, my reaction to Jupiter Ascending was much like my reaction to Interstellar. I don't think either of them could properly be described as 'good", but they both left me with a lot of material to think and talk about. Ambitious-but-flawed films are frustrating, but I can't help but chew on them after the fact, trying to work out what I think  I just saw. It took me three viewings to feel like I "got" Brazil, so there's always a better than zero chance that I'm just missing something.

That said, I don't think my initial reaction to Jupiter Rising is far from the mark. It's a big glorious mess in the proud tradition of The Fifth Element, only not nearly as giddy. The biggest problem was that the leads (Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones and Channing Tatum as Caine Wise) weren't really characters. Jupiter Jones never came close to ascending. She went from peril to peril without ever learning or growing, just waiting for Caine Wise to save her at the very last moment...which he did...over and over...and over. If you're going for a "retro" feel for your movie, maybe "obvious sexism" isn't the part of old movies you want to reproduce. It didn't help that the romance between the two of them felt forced, out-of-character, awkward, and, at times, unintentionally funny. They're both solid actors and I don't know if the problem was that they were miscast, or misdirected, or misedited, or what, but they never came close to clicking.

Jupiter Jones wasn't a protagonist in the traditional sense; she never instigated the action. Instead, the film was a series of events which happened to the hapless Jupiter. That wasn't a problem, though, because the supporting cast were a great deal of fun. The baddies were sort of a cross between Dune's Harkonnens and especially Neuromancer's Tessier-Ashpool clan. They instigated all manner of schemes and betrayals which never seemed likely to come to fruition but it was fun to watch them plot. 

Speaking of plot....there really wasn't much of one, or if there was, I sure couldn't sort it out. That's not a huge deal. This was always going to be a grand space opera and, unlike, say, Interstellar, there was never a promise that it was going to make any kind of sense. What was annoying, though, was that at times it felt more like a series of references to other films than a film which could stand alone. I sincerely wonder: Would I have enjoyed it more if I hadn't picked out an homage to another film every few minutes? Were the references a distraction? Would it have seemed more fresh without them? 

I've read dozens of reviews of Jupiter Ascending and I've yet to see one which addresses what I felt was the central flaw of the film: Jupiter Ascending is, I am certain, intended to launch a trilogy or a franchise and is not really meant to be complete on its own. Jupiter only shows any kind of agency at the very end of the film and I'm sure that this was meant as a springboard for her further adventures. I wonder if the Wachowskis made the movie this way in part due to the reaction to the Matrix trilogy. The first film was a complete, brilliantly realized story which didn't need sequels which is fortunate as the sequels were inferior and justly reviled. So, rather than release a complete work which would cast a shadow, they made Jupiter a pilot episode which established the world (magnificently) and the main characters (with far less success)? 

Regardless of whether or not my conspiracy theory holds water, the question remains: Would I recommend seeing Jupiter Ascending? I absolutely would. It's gorgeous and the set up is compelling. It's still not "good" and it's extremely frustrating, but it's fun and it'll give you something to think about over coffee.