This dude over at Slate really nails it. I've had a problem with Spielberg for years now--his films rankle me with their patronizing tone and gross manipulations.
Except Jaws. Jaws is perfect.
Steven Spielberg's complete movies: I've seen every one, and I almost wish I hadn't - Slate Magazine
. . .
Spielberg’s movies are undeniably powerful. His films function as supreme audience entertainments, almost by definition. But when I revisited them, I wanted to find their ideas: What, after all these features, has Spielberg really said?
My verdict? Not much. Beneath all his technical wizardry is only a simulacrum of aesthetics. The gassy high-mindedness; the complete lack of all but the most bland humor or self-awareness; the boring, slightly pompous exposition that bespeaks a person whose every word is hung on, and never challenged, for far too long. (Watch Spielberg in the promotional material that accompanies the DVD release of his films. He speaks with the breezy self-importance of someone who is no longer contradicted, seemingly, by anyone. He appears to exist in a cloud.)
Steven Spielberg has built a remarkable career by amplifying the familiar—taking what we know, both with regard to the language of cinema as well as his thematic concerns, and saying them loud. But he hasn’t said anything new.
. . .
Read the whole thing for a fairly in-depth analysis of his crutches and flaws.
See also, the narrative flaws of Spielberg.