REVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Promotional Poster - Paramount Pictures

Promotional Poster – Paramount Pictures

The following is a movie review of Star Trek Into Darkness. This review was written in 2016. Expect spoilers.

J. J. Abrams Star Trek from 2009 made me interested in the franchise. It made me a Star Trek-fan. I love the 2009 film so much that Star Trek Into Darkness was my most anticipated film of 2013. I was reading message boards every day. I watched the trailers over and over. I was so ready to love the film. But ultimately it didn’t really meet my expectations. However, that doesn’t mean I dislike the film. Not at all.

Star Trek Into Darkness opens on an Enterprise mission. The Enterprise team is trying to stop a potential volcanic eruption on the planet Nibiru, but when Spock (played by Zachary Quinto) is in danger Kirk (played by Chris Pine) throws out the rule book and violates the Prime Directive. As a result, Kirk is demoted and Spock is transferred to another ship.

During a meeting, a renegade Starfleet operative named John Harrison (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) attacks the Starfleet Headquarters, and thus kills a high number of senior Starfleet officers. Later, Admiral Marcus (played by Peter Weller) reinstates Kirk and Spock to the Enterprise and orders them to kill John Harrison on Kronos, the Klingon homeworld. Scotty (played by Simon Pegg) protests and disagrees with the order, and, ultimately, resigns. Something isn’t right. Who is John Harrison?

Okay, so I’m not going to pretend that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t playing Khan. Everyone had guessed it beforehand. I think a magazine accidentally revealed it. John Harrison is Khan. And, really, that’s one of my biggest problems with the film. There were way too many Wrath of Khan-references thrown in there.

The story bothers me a lot, and it’s not just the Wrath of Khan-connections. The 2009 film was about Spock and Kirk becoming friends, and about Kirk becoming the captain of the Enterprise. And what happens in this film? Kirk becomes upset with Spock and Kirk loses the Enterprise. Really?

The ending really annoys me as well. If you’re going for the famous Wrath of Khan-scene, and then not have the guts to kill off one of the two major male characters, then you just leave your audience with a really poor twist. The fact that Kirk is brought back so quickly also just cheats the audience of real emotion, and the radioactive reactor scene becomes pretty pointless. If they wanted to kill Kirk, then they should’ve kept him dead.

So it’s safe to say that a lot of stuff bothered me about the film, right? Fine. But let’s not pretend this film isn’t fun to watch. There are some pretty cool action scenes, and I absolutely love the opening scenes on Nibiru. All the members of the ensemble cast give solid performances, and Michael Giacchino’s musical score is strong once again. “London Calling” is probably my favorite song on the soundtrack, and it’s really great.

Overall, there are too many things I have problems with to call it a great film, but it is a very good action science fiction film. Oh and J. J. Abrams even fixed my biggest problem with the 2009 film. The lens flares here aren’t as annoying. So while it doesn’t come close to being as good as the 2009 film, Star Trek Into Darkness is a fine sequel to a great film.

7.5 out of 10

– I’m Jeffrey Rex