Simple and Singular Fun: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Review

There’s nothing more to expect out of Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams’ second at bat on the Captain Kirk voyage.  Fortunately for me, I am not a die hard Trekkie, which in turn allows me to enjoy what’s transpiring on screen without slowly dying away from its misinterpretations and misunderstandings of prior material from the television shows to The Wrath of Khan. The film itself is enjoyable, which is worth the price ticket alone, but if you come to seek anything more than popcorn summer blockbuster, than you’re hanging your head on the line of disappointment because this is all that it offers.

The Enterprise crew rounds up again as we see all the familiar and lovable faces we come to adore.  Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are back at it with the rest of the group, mixing humor and intelligence through their interactions.  The strength of this film lies within the cast, and their ability to showcase their chemistry is by far the best attribute Star Trek has going.

We start off with an insanely dumb mission where Spock is trying to diffuse an active volcano which would destroy an inhabitant planet that barely has taken the first step of development.  Though it is a spectacle, it’s a ridiculous start, trying to base itself off of the importance of friendship and saving one’s life for the other.  Foreshadow indeed.

As always, Kirk finds himself into trouble for endangering his crew and the mission entirely, and is forced to drop his rank and off the Enterprise.  But we all know that’s not really going to happen.  But for now, we’ll go along with it.  While this is all happening, we are introduced to James Harrison, played by the ever impressive Benedict Cumberbatch, who attacks base command murdering innocent men and women.

This begins the intense cat and mouse game between Kirk and Harrison, or as we now will find out, Khan.  Now this is where the film starts to lose me.  Though I’m not a huge fan of Khan, I know a little background information regarding one of the best villains from Star Trek, and unfortunately, this Khan does not resemble the Khan of old.  He doesn’t embody Khan at all, from his motivations or his reasonings, making this villain seem like a copy, or more fitting, a hoax.

The villainous role is only interesting because of Cumberbatch’s talent as an actor, but not much else.  There’s a lot to question here with the choices made surrounding Khan, especially when the film will state one aspect of Khan, but completely ignore the  realities of it when a situation arises.  The whole Khan issue is somewhat of a mess, and it felt cheap and exploited, mainly putting the blame on the team of writers who had years to develop a crisp and structured antagonist.

The film itself lies on a similar journey, following a set path of excitement, but not looking to explore anything new other than what we’ve already experienced before in the first Star Trek.  I wasn’t exactly sure what the goal was for this film, whether it be a fill in for the third film (which is set up quite nicely) or for it to improve continuously, and if it was the latter, then the film as a whole fails.

But looking at Star Trek Into Darkness without a dense connection nor a passionate voice, I found myself entertained and amused throughout.  There are flaws, many flaws to be exact, with CinemaSins slobbering away for a chance to go after this film, but it’s exactly what you come to expect from a May release.  I wish we saw more from Sulu, Bones, and Scotty, who seemed to be pushed to the side to give Kirk and Spock even more screen time.

This is a film that you bring kids, families, and friends to and just enjoy the days of summer.  Nothing more, nothing less.  If I was a intense Star Trek fan, I might be pissing in my pants, but for now, Star Trek Into Darkness compelled enough to warrant a decent reaction (but Abrams won’t receive such a pass for Star Wars).

Star Trek Into Darkness receives 3 stars (out of 5).

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