I will confess something right at the start of this review: I have never seen any of the original Star Trek movies or the TV show. I’ve always been a Star Wars fan, my dad is trekkie in the family but thanks to the Abrams films I will definitely be watching the original films soon.
Back to Star Trek Into Darkness, HOLY BALLS, I FREAKING LOVED THIS MOVIE! Oh man where to start, JJ. Abrams approached the second film intending to make it a bigger more badder Trek. It’s all here, the action, the character moments (for the two main leads at least), and a pace that does not slow down.
This is a new Trek for a new generation. One that needs chaos on screen to be constantly entertained and normally I’m cynical about these things but not this time. What Abrams does here is take what he did in the original and build upon the world. He keeps pushing the characters, both physically and emotionally.
That said, the only characters ever pushed that far are Kirk and Spock. The rest are ignored this time around. Yes, they have a big cast and yes, it can become hard to give all of them a chance to shine (hell even the Avengers had to give Hawkeye the shaft), it is still unacceptable that the rest of the supporting cast feels ignored. I mean they have their moments but it doesn’t compare to how much of unit they felt like in the first film.
Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto on the other hand bring their A game. I found Quinto was the scene stealer this around. Bringing a ton humor and wit to the role but also Spock’s child-like ability of not fully understanding relationships unless logic dictates. Pine balances Kirk’s playboy charm, with this weight of responsibility.
I’m glad the second film decided to put more emphasis on Kirk’s responsibility as captain and understanding what having that title means. For Spock, the film focused on addressing his feelings for his crew and friend James T. Kirk. This movie really shines when these two guys are on screen.
Also, I have to mention two of my favourite supporting characters: Bones and Scotty. They’re used more for comedic purposes this time around but it was great to see them settled into their roles and their relationships with the two main leads. Scotty was sent on this side mission but Bones got to show his skills a lot more this time.
Let’s get to new character to series. Benedict Cumberbatch plays George Harrison a member of Star Fleet Academy, who has gone rogue and is now on this revenge spree against the academy. Cumberbatch plays the role as a person with zero remorse. He is cunning, manipulative and deceiving. He holds no regard for human life or the life of any other species, as long he gets what he wants. There is only one thing he cares about but you’d have to watch the movie to find out what it is.
The pacing of the film deserves to talked about in more detail. Normally I would complain and say that the fast pace does nothing but detract from the fact that there is no story, character development or an ounce of human involvement in the film, but I can’t say it. Abrams has a knack for capturing the human heart and spirit amongst the craziness. The action sequences are fun and exciting and will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.
I’m a Star Wars fan who’s expressing his love for a Star Trek movie. Maybe, that’s because Abrams is also a Star Wars fan and shoots the film the way he would a Star Wars film, but who cares. You have an action-packed joy ride on your hand, with a strong cast that is filled with diverse characters. This movie has made me even more excited for Star Wars: Episode 7 now that Abrams is directing it!
Yes, there are minor problems, like it doesn’t make full use of its entire cast. It isn’t as fresh or new as the first film. Also I’ve been told it isn’t as Trekkie (more dialogue than all the running and jumping) as the original films were. Also, the acting from Peter Weller’s Captain Marcus was just so bad and his character was really the only weakness in an otherwise solid movie. That said, if you’ve seen Peter Weller in of his past works, like Dexter and 24, you know that it’s Peter Weller being Peter Weller. Those are all such minor quibbles and in no way detract from your overall enjoyment of the film.
Star Trek Into Darkness is clever sci-fi but one that is also fun. You owe yourself to watch it. JJ. Abrams has invigorated life back into an old franchise and brought it back at warp speeds. This is a Trek for the modern age and this time, that is not a bad thing.
Score: 3.5 out of 4