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Star Trek Into Darkness Review and Thoughts
Star Trek Returns
When the Star Trek Universe was kickstarted by J.J. Abrams for a new generation back in 2009, the universe was split into an entirely new timeline. Everything old about Star Trek was new again. Events that fans were familiar with had now never happened. The famous characters were young once again and just starting their adventure aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Moving ahead, we have reached the sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness. This is a much more personal film for the Kirk and Spock. The movie spotlights this relationship and how every decision either man makes has lasting effects on the other. A much darker and grittier Star Trek movie, Into Darkness.
The Kirk and Spock Show
The film opens with an exciting dash through a lush and colorful new planet. Quickly we discover it is Kirk and McCoy leading a colony of locals away from an erupting volcano. We shift to Spock, Sulu, and Uhura preparing to deactivate the volcano. When things go awry, Kirk makes a decision to save Spock's life at the cost of the colony seeing the Enterprise. Upon return to Starfleet, Kirk is stripped of his ship and sent back to the Academy and Spock assigned to a new ship.
When a terrorist named John Harrison attacks Starfleet, Kirk is brought in by Pike to serve under him. When Harrision attacks the Starfleet high command and Pike is killed, Kirk is reinstated to go after him. This leads the crew of the Enterprise on a dangerous mission to the edge of the Klingon Empire territory. When Scotty resigns from the ship for not allowing the new missiles Starfleet provided to be on the ship, a chain reaction is kickstarted that leads the Enterprise down a dark path.
On Kronos, Kirk, Spock, and Uhura are mysteriously rescued by Harrison when the Klingon's attack them. He shockingly surrenders when he learns of the missiles aboard the Enterprise. It is on board the Enterprise that Kirk learns Harrison's true identity. It is hard to go on about the actual plot of the film without spoiling anything regarding Harrison. Thus I will just refer to him as Harrison for the few additional details provided.
When the Enterprise is attacked by another Starfleet ship, Kirk and Harrison must work together to stop the attack. The action is massive in scale and tops anything we saw in the original film. The climactic finale is familiar but different and will strike a chord in any long time Star Trek fan.
A Crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise
Into Darkness features several really exceptional performances. Chris Pine steals the show as Kirk once again. He is charming, intimidating, and striking. He has embodied the role of Kirk and lives up to the characters legacy. Zachary Quinto is amazing as Spock once again. His cold and calculating demeanor is the perfect foil for Kirk. Their scenes together continue to shine as great works of acting. This film is really about how Kirk and Spock have grown together and how they will coexist.
Because of this, the rest of the crew of the Enterprise is mostly relegated to background players. Zoe Saldana gives spirited moments on the Klingon home-world of Kronos as Uhura. She does well with the material she is given, which mostly is the bickering girlfriend. John Cho has a few moments to shine as Sulu, especially when he is appointed temporary captain and gets to threaten Harrison. A great fan service moment.
Karl Urban is the most misused this time, his role is basically reduced to one-liners and comedic relief. He does factor in somewhat to the finale, but he doesn't really do much of anything else all movie. Simon Pegg as Scotty is the one crew member given their own real subplot. He shines in his rejection of the Enterprise and triumphant return. Pegg is great in physical comedy and his reaction timing is perfect.
A new addition to the Entrprise crew is Alice Eve as Carol. She is an interesting addition that Spock immediately has reservations about. As her real identity is revealed, she becomes a vital key to unlocking the secrets of Harrison and Starfleet's true intentions with him and the missiles.
The hidden gem of this film is Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison. His performance is cold and heartless. He is a ruthless monster with a logical and tactical precision in actions. He is the mirror of both Kirk and Spock. His screen presence is striking. Every moment he appears he commands the scene and warrants your attention. He nearly steals every scene he is in and shows this is not your average action movie villain.
The film never really feels like a traditional Star Trek film. This is obviously a movie made to appeal to the widest audience possible. The lore of Star Trek is long and complex, thus many fans may not understand a lot of vernacular that could be tossed around. The writing has simplified the Star Trek Universe. This is much more of an action film than anything else. The science of Star Trek is never really addressed and it just seems like a big adventure through space, only with characters we all know. Now this isn't a bad thing, rather I found it a great way to approach it.
Abrams direction included beautiful sweeping shots across space and gorgeously placed angles that relay the greatest emotion. His use of the special effects are seamlessly woven into the picture. With Abrams moving on the Star Wars next, these two Star Trek films should give fans hope that both of our top space odyssey series' are in good hands.
While not perfect, it would be nice to have seen more of the ensemble utilized. And if you are a life-long Trek fan then the plot may feel like it's been done before or the villain a little lackluster. Thankfully Cumberbatch is just so good, you'll easily overlook the fact we've seen a lot of this before in Star Trek.
Star Trek Into Darkness is a really fun film. Does it top the original Star Trek, that's debatable. You will have fun watching this movie, that much us a fact. This is what a Summer Blockbuster is all about. I can only recommend going in and ready to be entertained. What more can you ask for from Star Trek. This is a new generation of Star Trek and we are seeing it evolved before us. One can only hope the next journey is just as fun as the first two. This franchise is off to a great beginning.