I doubt if Lego is more expensive in real terms than it used to be.
Some of the tie-ins seem questionable, they seem to ignore the buildability.
Eg Star Wars seems right, because taking your X-wing set and your Y-wing set and mashing them up to make a Z-wing is natural. But whatya gonna do with Harry Potter? Make a different Hagrids Hut?
The problem now isnt the specialised bricks, its that the set designs are over-complicated, over-specific, and havent been designed to be customisable. eg.as a kid building LL928 gave me a template for building other spaceships. While a typical star wars lego spaceship doesnt teach you how to make anything else (i know that kinda undermines my point above but at least the Idea of Star wars lego makes sense)