A couple of nights ago, I finally got around to watching Star Trek Into Darkness. As you may be able to tell from the lateness of my viewing experience, I was not much of a fan of Star Trek (2009) so I had mixed feelings about seeing Into Darkness.
WARNING: The rest of this review contains spoilers!
Despite my apprehension, I found myself really enjoying this movie, at least for the first hour or so. The action was a little heavy, but unlike with Star Trek (2009) I felt like I was actually watching a Star Trek movie. I later realized it was because every plot element was ripped off from a previous Star Trek episode or movie.
I really enjoyed the interaction between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. The actors almost captured the camaraderie from the original series and they actually felt like younger versions of the original characters. The rest of the main characters still bear little resemblance to their Prime universe counterparts, and I still don’t understand the need for the relationship between Spock and Uhura. In the original movies, there was a hint of something going on between Scotty and Uhura and I think the writers should have explored that instead.
Perhaps its because he hasn’t been in the captain’s chair for long, but Kirk seems to show poor judgment several times throughout the movie. One example: Who in their right mind promotes an 18-year-old ensign who serves on the bridge to chief of engineering? Granted he’s a wiz kid (unlike the Prime Chekov), but there’s got to be someone in engineering who can take over after the chief engineer is forced to resign.
About halfway through the movie was where things really started to get rocky for me. The first half or so was a pretty good story, then suddenly I felt like I was watching a distorted funhouse mirror version of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I knew the writers had thrown in some “Easter eggs” as an homage to the original franchise, but the sheer number of plot points and dialogue apparently lifted from Star Trek II was ridiculous. The most ridiculous scene in the entire movie was Kirk’s death scene, with Spock’s scream of “Khaannnn!” simply unbelievable and unnecessary. It worked for Kirk in Star Trek II, but should have been left there.
Also, the whole falling to Earth scenes ruined the illusion for me. From a reality perspective, everyone should have been floating, not falling. Having not even entered the atmosphere yet, the Enterprise would not have been close enough to Earth for gravity to have that strong of a pull on the objects and people aboard the ship.
Another thing I could never figure out were the accents. Why were Carol Marcus and Khan both British? I suppose Carol Marcus could have been raised in The UK due to Nero’s incursion in 2233, but Khan was a product of 20th century Earth and would not have been affected by Nero. Benedict Cumberbatch played an awesome villain, but he’s about the furthest thing you can get from Ricardo Montalban’s Khan. Perhaps he had some sort of accident after being awakened from cryogenic freeze and suffers from foreign accent syndrome?
I found the ending highly predictable. As soon as I realized Kirk was going to die (which was as soon as Scotty and Kirk began heading for the warp core), I knew Bones would use Khan’s blood to revive him. You might say that the tribble gave it away.
Overall, I enjoyed Into Darkness much more than Star Trek (2009), but I couldn’t help feeling that it was meant to be some sort of alternate reality parody of Star Trek II instead of a serious entry into the Star Trek multiverse.