I’ve been a fan of Star Trek most of my life, watching the original series with Kirk and crew and I enjoyed JJ Abrams‘ reboot of the series with all new younger versions of the familiar characters. Rather than just going back to the start and dumping years of continuity JJ Abrams kept it all and rebooted it with time travel leaving him free to still use the characters to tell new stories in an alternative reality. The weak forgettable villain in that film could be forgiven since he was just a plot device to get the Enterprise crew together and get their roles established. This second film has them face a villain whose a lot smarter and more complex than their
The opening sequence has Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew down on a primitive planet flagrantly breaching Starfleet’s Prime Directive with Kirk and Sulu (John Cho) being chased by the natives for stealing their sacred scroll while Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) try to prevent a world shattering volcanic eruption. This results in Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) giving Spock and Kirk a dressing down with Kirk getting demoted to First Officer while Spock gets reassigned to another ship.
Now it’s time the despicable baddie in this film John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) to makes his move and he does by curing a little terminally ill girl. He does this to extract a favour from her father (Noel Clarke) who explodes a device in a Starfleet facility blowing himself up in the process. In response Starfleet calls a meeting of it senior captains who all attend with their first officers which means Kirk and Spock are there too. This is part of Harrison’s plan and he attacks the meeting from an armed flying car.
With many of the captains injured and dead Kirk finds himself re-promoted to captain of the Enterprise. He pleads with Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) to allow him to hunt down and kill Harrison and Marcus agrees and lets Kirk have Spock back as his first officer. Spock is openly critical of the mission since going after Harrison to execute him instead of bringing him to justice is a breach of Federation law, however after the attack on Starfleet Harrison managed to use a portable teleportation unit to beam away to safety across the galaxy on Kronos, the Klingon home planet. To reach Harrison on Kronos from outside Marcus tells Kirk to take experimental photon torpedoes.
This comes to a head when Scotty (Simon Pegg) refuses to sign off on the torpedoes when told he can’t examine the warheads. Kirk has been convinced that he needs the missiles to kill Harrison without entering Klingon space and igniting a war so Kirk relieves Scotty of his position and once the Enterprise is underway he appoints Chekov (Anton Yelchin) as chief of engineering.
I don’t want to reveal too much more of the plot but when the Enterprise gets to the boundary of Klingon space things turn out to be a lot more complicated than a simple hunt for a terrorist. The film pulls out a few surprises as it progresses thorugh various action sequences full of running and jumping and fans of the old Star Trek films will see a certain familiar turn of events toward the end, which may have been a mistake since it doesn’t manage to evoke the same emotional resonance as it did the first time around and the consequences get waved away with a bit of an ass-pull.
The film has plenty of amusing character interaction and with Uhura doing her part of the action the role of attractive female is filled by Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) a science officer sent to specifically handle the top secret photon torpedoes. In many ways she reminded me of the guest characters who would appear for plot specific purposes in the Star Trek TV episodes. Bones (Karl Urban) is there and plays an important party in the story but he’s side-lined by the action. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a great over the top passionate performance as the dangerous terrorist John Harrison that really fits with the almost hysterical pace of action in this film. The film has the same strong, bright visual style as the 2009 Star Trek film and I really enjoyed it though no doubt there will be talk of lens flare again. The film might not be as great as it could have been but it’s a lot of fun which isn’t something that could be said for all the other Star Trek films.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) – Review (itsmuchmore.wordpress.com)
- Review: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) (monsterzeronj.wordpress.com)