Star Trek Into Darkness

Posted: May 17, 2013 in Movie Reviews


There is an age-long axiom of the silver screen which states that the sequel is never better than the original. Well I am here to say that that is wrong; the sequel is in actuality almost  never better than the original. In our craving for solid entertainment, all we really want when we pay good money at the local cinema is to sit down to a film that uplifts us, challenges us morally, or otherwise affects us in some way. But in today’s money-hungry world, seldom are films ever properly made in the way they ought to be. However, sometimes films are made exactly as they should be.


Summary: (Spoiler-free)

After his hardening experience in the first film, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine—-This Means War) still doesn’t grasp the concept of following orders. “You think the rules don’t apply to you, because you disagree with them,” states Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood—-National Treasure: Book of Secrets), Kirk’s mentor and greatest supporter. After violating protocol while rescuing his friend and first mate Spock (Zachary Quinto—-Margin Call), Starfleet has had enough of Kirk’s insolence and acts swiftly by taking away the U.S.S. Enterprise and demoting him to first officer.

After two attacks are made, one on Starfleet’s own board of captains and high-ranking officers, Kirk is commissioned to track down the murderer known as John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch—-Sherlock) and kill him using photon torpedoes. Back in command of his ship, Kirk and his crew must hunt down the mysterious killer in their most perilous mission yet, along the way testing each one’s endurance and forcing them to sacrifice of themselves for something larger than their own lives.


 It’s not often I walk out of the theater feeling emotionally transformed, my heart pumping and my hands shaking, telling myself, “That was some solid movie-making right there!” Probably the last time I felt that way was after experiencing The Dark Knight Rises. The adrenaline, the enthusiasm, the hype, the sense of triumph (oddly enough coming from a movie), are what we ultimately long for. These emotions may be common enough for an original film, but how often does one feel this way about a sequel?

 Star Trek Into Darkness is one of those films that looks good in a trailer, but we can’t help but naturally feel apprehensive. It’s unfortunate that we have trained ourselves to become so hesitant that we can no longer just go watch a movie and enjoy it for what it is. But leave all apprehension at home, folks, because Kirk and Spock are back in a way that few heroes return!


The film begins a bit odd, and you at first think that we’re in for another bad run of Hollywood sequel-itus. But then the action commences just minutes into the film and we are suddenly immersed in the world of Star Trek. From here the action never stops; it’s all continual excitement and heart-pounding adrenaline right to the end. While we are allowed ample breathing room in-between, the sheer scope and spectacle of the film—–like The Dark Knight—–keeps us completely engaged throughout.

All the old crew are back, and a good thing too. They brought so much character to the story in the last film, and it just wouldn’t be Star Trek without them. The film really supports itself on Kirk’s and Spock’s relationship, which is genial at moments but tense at most times. Kirk wants to do his own thing and Spock deals through honest logic. Star Trek did an excellent job with establishing their odd-but-sincere relationship, and Into Darkness really expounds on the groundwork previously laid. Near the end of the film, in an exceptionally-touching moment that nearly had me in tears, you can truly see the validity of their relationship culminating, proving that they’re more than simply fellow officers, but friends.

kirk and spock hands

I suppose now would be the time to mention the film’s shortcomings and clichés, but the simple truth is that there are none. Sure, some scenarios may have reminded me of other films, but that’s to be expected in a sci-fi space epic. There was hardly a cheesy line or joke throughout, and any miniscule nitpicks I could find would be just that—–miniscule nitpicks. The humor was spot-on and never fell flat, the characters were solid and earned their place in the film, the action was stable and never became tedious, and the film’s villain was one of the best I’ve ever seen.

John Harrison is an enigma who has a past with Starfleet, and although Trekkies will most likely be able to guess who the character is, regular audiences will be treated to an outstanding villain. Benedict Cumberbatch is a perfect example of ideal casting, and what be brings to the role is pure genius. He is influential at the moments he needs to be, and completely diabolical the rest of the time. I hope he is honored for his exceptional performance with an academy award nomination.

But what ultimately drives this film is its completely inconceivable story. With a mind-blowing plot and a compelling narrative, Star Trek Into Darkness is beyond anything you could ever hope for. J.J. Abrams, the director, has said that his films are made in a way that everyone can enjoy, regardless of past history with the series. Not being a Star Trek  fan myself, I have really come to appreciate that premise. Instead of making a few fans happy by retaining the essence of the lore’s origins, Abrams has taken liberties and changed the series’ structure to appeal to all. And I just like him all the more for it. As an estimable Vulcan stated, “The needs of many outweigh the needs of a few.”

In a nutshell:

Star Trek Into Darkness is brilliant movie-making on a grand scale. Unlike the majority of sequels, it strives for a higher level of storytelling and soars above the first. It was thrilling, intense, amusing, and had a fantastic score to match. Still think J.J. Abrams isn’t the man to take on Star Wars? He took on Star Trek and succeeded with aplomb. I assert that come 2015, the Star Wars galaxy we have come to know and love will be invigorated and infused with the highest level of professional film-making possible.


9.5 stars


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