Star Trek Into Darkness Movie Review
In 2009, J.J. Abrams rebooted and reinvented the Star Trek franchise. Breathing incredible new life into a series that was all but dead, STAR TREK came onto the scene with exciting action, clever humor, great characters and most importantly, brains. The film landed number 5 in my Top Ten List for 2009 (click the link to read) and may quite possibly be the best in the series. Clearly, Abrams’ follow up had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS is another thrilling ride that fulfills everything you would ever want in your summer blockbuster.
Jumping right into the action, the film opens with an exciting chase on an indigenous alien planet as the crew is faced with life and death decisions while balancing moral and logical duties. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) are being chased through a strangely colorful forest as Spock (Zachary Quinto) is trapped in an active volcano. The situation is exhilarating and complex enough that it could be used for a final scene, but STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS doesn’t hold back and maintains the same level of intensity and non-stop action throughout the film.
As a testament to the marketing, most of the plot details have been relatively quiet, even the clips and images promoting the film show up mostly in the opening scene. Out of respect, I will continue that trend with a brief spoiler-free summary. After a terrifying inside attack on the Starfleet organization, the crew of the Enterprise set out on a manhunt to capture their greatest adversary in a force of unstoppable destruction. As they piece the details and motivations of their mission together, The Enterprise discovers they are a pawn caught between two formidable enemies in a high stakes chess match.
Like the first film, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS shines in its great characters, focusing more on their internal struggles. Holding a more personal vendetta, Captain Kirk continues to defy orders allowing emotions to drive his actions. While Spock continues to be too logical, not allowing his emotions to show enough, hurting those who care about him most. Kirk and Spock are one of cinemas great teams. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are brilliant in their portrayals and propel the friendship between the Captain and First Officer to new heights. Each provide the perfect amount of humor and sentimentality through an electric chemistry. That goes for the rest of the cast as well including: Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Bones, Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Chekov, who all take a bit more of a back seat to our two leads this time around but still have plenty to do. The other major standout is Benedict Cumberbatch, who you may know as Sherlock Holmes on the acclaimed television series Sherlock. Cumberbatch exudes a commanding charisma making him a villain of epic proportions. Credit also belongs to the writing as the character is given depth and believability.
My one major gripe is in the final conclusion. I can’t go into much detail, but the film did such a nice job building the drama and unrelenting tension, only to quickly discard it all with an easy resolve. Perhaps J.J. Abrams who will now be switching gears directing the new STAR WARS film, wanted to wrap everything up himself but I believe it ultimately hinders the film from reaching its full potetial. On the upside, he throws everything in the book at this film making for one exciting, heart-pounding ride that in my opinion is the current summer champ.
For those who love the series, there are more than enough (perhaps one too many) references and parallels to past storylines, characters and dialogue that will tickle you endlessly and work so well within the context of this alternate universe of the Star Trek world. I am by no means a purist or Trekkie if you will, but I have seen the original episodes and films and believe STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS will once again satisfy both fans and newcomers to the series. Like the current Bond era, the new Star Treks may just be the best.