For what my opinion is worth:
Yes, he wrote noble music, there is nothing cheap, tawdry or silly. It's all very serious.
The 9th is clearly incomplete: Bruckner himself struggled to finish it, but didn't. You may be satisfied with the three movement torso; many people have been. I like the 4-movement work but I'm not sure whose version I prefer.
I have too much Bruckne that's for sure. That music demands superb recorded sound, so despite the importance of people like Furtwangler, Knappertsbusch and others in that pre-stereo era, it's not sonically able to really reveal the music. And, too many conductors treat this music like it's some hallowed religious experience. It's not. Bruckner was a Romantic. He wrote five symphonies before Brahms even wrote one. His music should be played like a product of its time; it needs to move and have a certain freedom of expression. It needs to roar at times. I do not like slow, monumental Bruckner at all. My favorite set is a 30 year old one on the Camerata label with Eichorn and Sieghardt conducting the Bruckner Linz Orchestra. They're thrillingly played, conducted and the recorded sound is terrific. Everything just sounds "right". Next up is Solti/Chicago. Some think it's too loud and glib. I don't: Solti makes them exciting and really ratchets up the excitement. The third set I love is Karajan; if anyone knew the music he did. If there's a problem, it's the DG recorded sound.
What must be kept in mind is that Bruckner wanted people to like his music and he wanted it to have some entertainment value - what composer didn't? So play the music to the hilt!
And the standard editions (Nowak or Haas) are generally just fine. Except the 9th; that's another discussion.
Thanks to the recommendation from MBHaub. Bruckner in "small" bites, possibly making him a little bit more palatable for me. For a composer I dislike, for some reason I seem fixated on repeatedly returning to brave and usually futile attempts to understand or even like his music. Maybe because the Romantic era is my favorite musical stomping ground, I feel like I "should" appreciate this composer, except that I never have. Mahler is another composer that I find difficult to comprehend, but at least with Mahler I do find one or two of his symphonies enjoyable (mainly a bleeding chunk of #2 and all of #4). I adore the 19th century Russian romantics.
Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, WAB 109 (first movement - Feierlich, Misterioso)
Eichhorn - Bruckner Orchestra Linz