It's funny that we are arguing between whether the film is great or just good. Our biggest disagreement is that you love the film but I only like it. Wow, we're really reaching for scuffles on here haha.
Of course, I agree that a great film needs more than a good story. I really like all the things in the film that are not connected with the story–the directing, the acting, the lighting, the sets, etc. But I didn't respond to the story or the characters. I just didn't care that much. I couldn't find the warmth that you are so effusive about. And that's what's holding it back from being great for me. A great film should feel like a complete package, but there was something missing from this. Again, perhaps its my fault for feeling bored at times because I felt like I was watching a movie I had already seen, but I really couldn't absorb myself in strong feelings for the characters or become excited by the mystery. They felt flat, the mystery felt cliched, and the connection between Salander and Blomqvist seemed tenuous and rushed. They spend more time apart in the film then they ever do together; I couldn't really buy their emotional relationship. But whatever, that's just my own impression.
In terms of modern film, I like watching a movie and feeling surprised, even if just slightly. It adds a sense of magic to the experience. This is why I usually hate or find myself uninterested in adaptations of books I've read or remakes of other movies I've seen. I'm never surprised by them. I guess I just wasn't surprised by Fincher's film, and it hurt the experience enough to hold me back from loving it. But, again, I like the film, so let's be clear.
I'm glad you love it though and that you find something extra in it that makes it great for you. Maybe someday I will find it too. For now, off of one viewing, I just feel a little lost.