First of all
People who dislike it are labelling it as an 'incoherent mess' just because they didn't get answers or are the ones who also happen to not have paid attention to so many things (for instance, Vickers and Shaw turning a sharp 90 degree turn at one moment and not just running in straight line) or are downright stupid (such as expecting the 2094 medicines to today's standards)
No. This is just untrue. There is a case to be made for Prometheus being labelled an incoherent mess even if you recognise its qualities, even if you're not stupid, even if you've paid attention and don't mind that some things are left for you to deduce.
I'd call Prometheus a decent movie. It's got a good premise, a great set piece ( the medpod scene ) and great visuals but it also has some big flaws.
It's been discussed to death, but the character logic in this movie is very distracting. It's a scientific mission to try and meet our creators. It's a big sic-fi adventure that could change the history of mankind and our understanding of life. As a result, with stakes that high, it's very distracting when scientists start acting unlike scientists... Holloway's actions throughout the movie are extremely problematic when you're trying to take the movie seriously ( which is required for the movie to be effective ).
First of all, the fact that Holloway insists to go and visit the pyramid straight away after Janek says there's only a couple of hours of sunlight left is just dumb. They have been sleeping for years, they're about to go through the biggest science mission of their lives, it doesn't make sense to rush a mission this important, when you take into account that they are so far away from Earth and that they don't know what they could find.
Yes, I get it, they want to show that the character is impulsive. But he's neither alone on the mission nor in charge, so for his impulsiveness to endanger the mission several times in the movie is very annoying, all the more given that he's supposed to be an archeologist ( which, believe it or not, is a field of science that does require patience ).
Yes, the air is clean in the pyramid. Doesn't mean that there couldn't be pathogens that human beings wouldn't have defences for in their immune system. Once again, it's meant to show Holloway's impulsiveness, but it's just really difficult to take the mission seriously with a scientist taking such risks.
Then there's Holloway getting drunk WHILE his companion is working on the Engineer's head. It makes zero sense at that point in the mission for an archeologist to get drunk and be disappointed WHILE they're in the middle of a successful mission ( they did find Engineers, they did find dna samples to prove the ancestry, and as the rest of the movie proves there ARE still live Engineers in there ).
So yeah, you can make sense of Holloway's actions by just dismissing him as an impulsive person, but then it just doesn't paint him as a serious scientist, and not having a serious scientist in a mission like this makes zero sense. Which makes immersing yourself in the movie a bit difficult at times.
It also makes it really hard at times to understand how Holloway and Shaw can be a couple... the chemistry isn't there - although maybe other people do think they have chemistry? - and he doesn't seem to have much regards for her opinions and for her work. So the problem that stems from there is that it's difficult to feel much of anything when Holloway gives her a rose or when Shaw witnesses him being burnt alive. It doesn't help that she doesn't really seem to grieve his death very much afterwards... there are a couple of references to him afterwards but that's about it. She breaks down at the end, but it seems to be more about everything she's gone through than about Holloway.
Putting Holloway aside, the other main problem I have with this movie is the mutated Fifield sequence. Not only does it serve to dispatch a big portion of the crew, most of whom had barely uttered three words throughout the movie ( which makes the whole scene feel a bit... like filler ), but the way it's edited with Shaw running out of the medpod is very awkward. These two scenes were clearly not meant to be happening at the same time - further evidenced by Shaw being the one originally running Fifield over - and the whole succession of events in these few minutes doesn't come together at all. It doesn't help that the effects on Fifield are really quite underwhelming. I suppose that's something else that's subjective, but compared to the Hammerpedes, the Engineers and Cuddles, Zombie Fifield just doesn't really feel like it belongs in the same movie.
Anyway, I could actually go on and on but these are my main issues with Prometheus. The issue is that these specific problems I have addressed can't really be solved by extra scenes, answers of any kind, or heavy thinking. They're just flaws. I don't know if Holloway was badly rewritten in the final stages of production ( he was fine in Spaiths script ), or if he was just badly miscast, or both, but that character really kills parts of the movie for me.
That said, there are also lots to love in Prometheus, but I can't call a movie great when some moments take you out of the movie completely. As a viewer you suspend your disbelief, but the movie is supposed to help you do that. Having an archeologist on the most important mission for mankind act the way Holloway does is too distracting... for me at least
'PROMETHEUS' big problem is it's uncertain of its audience. It's too intellectually driven to satisfy your average popcorn fueled, spectacle seeking audience; and yet, on the other hand, it is too stupid for a more demanding audience seeking stimulating material.
This. Exactly. Couldn't agree more.
EDIT : Something else that makes zero sense for the characters is that at no point in the movie does any of the crew comment on the fact that there are several domes lined up one after the other although we can perfectly see them right before landing. Why wouldn't anybody comment on something like that! How does it come as a surprise to Shaw at the end when David tells her there are other ships? Is David the only one of them with eyes and a brain on this scientific mission?