Throughout the course of a television or film franchise’s career, things can quickly go from ingenious to ridiculous. However sad a period in time like that can be, what’s spectacular is when a visionary can come and bring to light the rebirth of an almost irrelevant series with stunning visuals, a simple story and modern humor and sex appeal. J.J. Abrams did the impossible—made “Star Trek” cool again.
“Star Trek: Into Darkness” follows closely in its predecessors’ footsteps. The dialog is slick; the action is big, explosive while Abrams and the writers have a firm grasp on what makes the characters tick. It’s done with such faith to the reboot it can even be considered a fault.
This time around the Enterprise crew is tested to the limit by a mysterious trench-coat-wearing baddy fans of the original series will glad to know is Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). He is brutal, menacing and charmingly British. Cumberbatch has the voice and presence to make a classic villain out of almost nothing, which is good, considering this role isn’t exactly The Joker.
Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is pushed to his darkest point as he is threatened to lose everything he has come to love, including his ship, which he does, for about a day. His brash actions that made him a star before have cost him his reputation and possibly the lives of his crew. This is a bold move for a character who was envisioned as a heart-throb badass but equally engaging.
Spock’s (Zachary Quinto) development is sacrificed in the mix, which is a shame as he and Kirk shared the screen last time, making it more of a duo origin story as opposed to a reboot. Quinto is still a perfect Spock, but delving into such a character would a have been a rewarding challenge.
Aside from the improved set pieces, there is little that’s different from the last “Trek” film. There are lots of laughs, things exploding, a simple story and a villain who at his heart is almost identical to Eric Bana’s Nero. Everything is still done to perfection, but given the series underlying philosophical themes that made it stand out, I felt a desire for a strong, mental challenge (much like the flaw of “Iron Man 3”). The villain is there; the inner-trials of Kirk are present, but the story and the actions of the characters are too close to previous installment.
But no matter what the movie could’ve been, being too close to the last “Star Trek” movie isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I felt immensely entertained watching “Into Darkness” with everything that made the previous spectacular still intact and, in some cases, improved on. However much I desired from this installment, I am still fascinated by what the Enterprise has in store, journeying where no man has come before…like to their girlfriends’ houses.