Film review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Movie poster for "Star Trek Into Darkness".
Movie poster for “Star Trek Into Darkness”.

Star Trek Into Darkness was one of the movies I was looking forward to seeing this year. I was not a fan of the later TV series, but I liked JJ Abrams’ movie reboot in 2009 and was looking forward to seeing Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto & others reprise their roles. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first movie, but I still enjoyed myself. There are far more detailed reviews out there that cover every single science & plot flaw, every discrepancy, every divergence from canon…I figure you just want to know if the movie was any good.

It was, but you’ll have to forgive a lot of planet-sized plot holes to enjoy it. My fourteen year old daughter liked the movie so much, she forbade me from discussing any of those plot holes so that she could continue to enjoy it. I guess she won’t grow up to be a geek who finds discussing plot holes a favorite pastime.

As I suspected from the trailers, Star Trek Into Darkness was all about Khan Noonien Singh, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. He doesn’t have the flair of Ricardo Montalban, but he plays the role with intensity and gravitas that is sure not to disappoint. In this timeline, Khan’s ship was rescued by rogue Starfleet Admiral Marcus who is hellbent on starting a war with the Klingons in a pre-emptive effort to stop their advancements. He holds Khan’s people hostage so that Khan uses his superior intellect to create a new dreadnaught class of spaceships, black & deadly and magnitudes larger than the Enterprise.

Khan escapes to Earth to exact his revenge on Starfleet, causing an act of terrorism with a super explosion in San Francisco, then a personal attack on the heads of Starfleet. Admiral Pike is killed, and Kirk (played by Chris Pine) is easily manipulated by Marcus to head off to the Klingon homeworld with super secret missiles to drag Khan’s butt back to Earth, or blow it up.

The theme of revenge and its price is woven throughout the story. There is excellent dialog, clever lines, parallels and twists from the Wrath of Khan, and an entertaining lovers’ spat between Uhura & Spock. Plenty in the show will please longtime fans, and JJ Abrams fills the screen with explosions, alien vistas, futuristic technology, and bedazzling imagery to please new fans and lovers of lens flares.

There were some serious plot holes and shaking-your-head moments in the movie. Many viewers won’t catch them the first time because the movie races along at a good pace, but after the credits roll you can be forgiven for thinking, “Hey, waitaminute…” Tribbles make a convenient and unexplained appearance; Spock (played by Zachary Quinto) channels his inner, human gladiator with rage-filled screaming; super magical blood can only be gathered in a battle of fists between Spock & Khan on a flying doohickey above San Francisco despite 72 of Khan’s sleeping crew mates lying around on the Enterprise, etc. I could go on, but my daughter would stop speaking to me.

What was right about Star Trek Into Darkness was the chemistry of the characters. Each actor nails the original role and brings new elements to it. Pine & Quinto have excellent screen charisma, and Karl Urban and Simon Pegg are delightful in their roles as McCoy and Scotty. Also, the pace of the plot with its space opera scope makes the movie a fun romp filled with dazzling visual spectacles. This is not an overly intelligent Star Trek, but it is immensely fun. It’s definitely worth the price of admission.

Release Date: May 17, 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 70%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (some social drinking)
Language: 2 (some expletives, deity)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 3 (kissing, two girls in bed with Kirk, that underwear fan service scene)
Violence: 4 (many explosions, millions die, space battles, fisticuffs, and that poor tribble was experimented on after death)

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