Author's Saving Throw: After Christopher Nolan had been criticized for years about centering all of his films around white male protagonists, this film is much more diverse. The unnamed protagonist is black, the ensemble cast comes from all corners of the Earth, and the main female cast member Kat has a much more active role in the story than other Nolan leading ladies that arent named SelinaKyle or Murph from Interstellar.
Better on DVD: This is a film that basically demands re-watches, and benefits greatly from it; numerous fans have admitted since its digital HD release that things become clearer the more they watch the film. Oh, and there's a subtitles option too.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Mahir and Ives both only appear for certain segments of the film, but are among the most popular Tenet members among the audience.
Epileptic Trees: After the movie is shown worldwide as of September 2020, viewers had many question on Neil's relationship with the Protagonist and Kat and Max.
Fanfic Fuel: The numerous operations Tenet has conducted prior to the Protagonist joining their ranks following the Kyiv opera house siege.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film is currently enjoying lots of success and has garnered quite a sizable fanbase in India, which isn't anything new for Nolan as his films have always had quite the popularity there, but this time doubly so thanks to the presence of Dimple Kapadia, a very well known and respected Bollywood actress who has an impressive 50 years of film credits, with this being her first Hollywood role.
The movie refers each line of the Sator Square, a latin word square made of five lines consisting of five letters-long palindromes. Its words are Sator, Arepo (a minor character), Tenet, Opera (the opening scene's setting), and Rotas (a firm).
One character correctly identifies the description of inverted objects as being like Feynman's conception of the positron as a time-reversed electron. This is in fact one of the standard interpretations of antimatter. That idea is brought up further when it is mentioned that touching your inverted double results in annihilation. However anti-matter is a real thing that has been studied and its never been seen to possess reversed causality, reversed entropy, or ontological knowledge of what being some particles come from.
Matter-antimatter annihilation is analogous to what happens at the turnstiles: a particle turns back in time, looking to an observer like the particle and antiparticle met and disappeared.
Ho Yay: So much of it between Neil and the Protagonist, leading to them having tons of fanarts and Doujinshi.
Love to Hate: Andrei Sator can count thanks to being a major threat, monstrously despicable, and being performed by a very intimidating Kenneth Branagh.
People who enjoyed "Rainy Day in Tallinn" mix the music together with action/intense scenes like this.
"[X] amount of dislikes are actually likes because they were inverted."
"That part is a little dramatic."
"Christopher Nolan saved cinema!" Explanation A phrase used to mock the fact that Tenet ended up predictably underperforming at the box office due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. While most big tentpole movies were either delayed to the following year or released straight to digital to cut losses, Nolan was insistent on having Tenet release in the summer of 2020 which caused many to start mocking him as having a big ego, thinking audiences would go out en masse to see the movie in theaters despite the health risks.
"I'm watching Tenet the way it was meant to be seen."Explanation Nolan announced the film would still be first released only in theaters, claiming a premiere on streaming would be sub-standard from the way the film was meant to be seen. Some people then started making parodies of other ways to watch Tenet, like on a cell phone or a PSP.
Realism-Induced Horror: Set against the backdrop of a war that threatens total annihilation of everything that ever lived, the story is really that of a woman stuck in an abusive marriage whose husband holds their child as bait to keep her in the marriage. Thankfully, things do actually end well for Kat.
Slow-Paced Beginning: The opening half hour has been criticized as the weakest section of the movie as its more or less an extended Info Dump. The second half, however, has been praised as moviegoers have mentioned that everything starts to make sense around that point.
So Okay, It's Average: Generally seen as a solid film, though most agree that it's far from Nolan's best, being too confusing and not living up to its hype. Still, most agree that the action's great and the overall scope suitably epic. And while some feel the characters and story aren't super well developed (not an uncommon criticism in Nolan's work), they're generally seen as interesting enough.
Spiritual Adaptation: Anomalous materials with strange properties which could cause the end of the world, an unscrupulous global conspiracy with massive resources and military-grade gear using some of those materials in order to prevent an apocalypse, and another conspiracy which goal is to trigger said apocalypse... TENET is basically an unofficial SCP Foundation movie adaptation. Not only are time manipulation and objects from the future actually part of the SCP Foundation canon, the main threat of the film (a device known as the Algorithm) is similar to SCP-2700, which is designed to cause a "YK-Class Entropic Annihilation Event."
The expression on Kat's face when they first talk about Sator and the forged Goya drawing in a restaurant. It is the despair of someone who is trapped in a terrible situation: either stay with Sator, or never see Max again.
Neil's final farewell to the Protagonist. The Protagonist has seen Neil's inverted body in the pit, and Neil figures out that he won't make it. But it doesn't bother him. He calmly restates that "What's happened, happened," and gently tells his friend, "Now let me go." Neil then reveals that he's known the Protagonist's future self for years—because in the future, the Protagonist recruited Neil for Tenet. The look on the Protagonist's face through this can be summed up to a nonverbal "don't go". Neil assures him that he'll have a lot to look forward to in the future. "I'll see you at the beginning, friend!"
The fact that in the end, the trust phrases "We live in a twilight world" "and there are no friends at dusk" gain a more real meaning. Ives leaves with a third of the Algorithm to give the Protagonist and Neil a Mercy Lead to make sure the future antagonists never get it back. Neil himself goes to invert himself one last time to save the Protagonist in the hypocenter cavern. Kat is finally able to raise her son in peace, though some people see her as a loose end. Priya tries to have Kat assassinated, only for the Protagonist to arrive in time to thwart the attempt and kill his "boss". The Protagonist watches Kat and Max walk home from afar...from his vantage of the twilight world of espionage, with no friends at dusk. What eases the weight is the knowledge that the Protagonist will eventually recruit a younger Neil into Tenet for further operations against the antagonists.