I’m not sure you can measure the worth of a movie or the skill of a director based on the length of the movie. It’s what they do with it that counts.
The Good the Bad and the Ugly is 177 minutes long, longer than Blade Runner 2049, and comparatively little happens in that time. It’d be quite possible to tell that story in 90 minutes. But it wouldn’t be the same movie and it probably wouldn’t be a masterpiece.
On the other hand, there have been a couple of episodes of The Mandalorian recently that would have been improved by cutting them down from 45 minutes to under 30 minutes.
BR2049 isn’t really even all that long by modern standards. It’s 2 hrs 40 minutes. Lots of movies these days are about 2 and a half hours.
It’s basically the same length as Avatar, Django, The Wolf of Wall Street, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty, Gone Girl, The Last Jedi, Interstellar, Saving Private Ryan, The Dark Knight Rises, etc… It is 20 minutes shorter than Avengers Endgame.
As for ‘nothing happening’, that seems an odd claim. It follows a similar Noir-ish plot structure to the first movie, with K following up clues, uncovering conspiracies, a fair number of red-herrings, misdirections and plot twists.
It doesn’t have a lot of action… but then it’s not supposed to.
Hitchcock had a great style that worked well for his movies, but cinema is also the medium of Kurosawa, Leone, Coppola, etc… who all regularly made movies over 3 hours long.