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Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Movie Review

May 18, 2013

Taking the helm at a Star Trek movie places a lot of expectations on a director. For me, JJ Abrams did a fantastic job with the first film, simply titled “Star Trek” in 2009. While I have some problems with the direction Abrams took the plot for its sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness,”  the plot wraps up nicely in the end, setting a path for a stellar third film. Because many of the issues I had with “Into Darkness” are about how major sections of the plot were handled, this review will contain spoilers unlike my typical style. If you don’t want spoilers, skip down to the last two paragraphs.

START SPOILERS

 

Into Darkness opens with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) running through an alien planet. Kirk’s actions violate many regulations leading to his discipline until his superior is able to convince the Admiral to give Kirk a second chance. While all this is happening, our villain Khan, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, makes his appearance, blowing up some places and attacking Star Fleet, giving Kirk a chance to captain a crew again and go off after Khan.

Kirk’s initial orders are to take out Khan from a distance with advanced torpedoes but he changes his mind and decides to capture Khan so he can face a trial back home. Of course the Admiral follows in a warship to make sure that Kirk does the job correctly, leading to a confrontation and a reveal of the Admiral’s intentions to start a war with the Klingons. Using Khan, Kirk and a few others infiltrate the Admiral’s ship and Khan takes out the admiral. Spock (Zachary Quinto) blows up most of Khan’s ship, leaving him the only survivor, who makes a course for Earth to finish what he started.

In all the fighting, the warp drive on the Enterprise was severely damaged. Kirk decides to enter a highly radioactive area to fix the core and in the process dies. Spock warps after Khan to take him out once and for all but soon the crew realizes that they can revive Kirk if they can get some more of Khan’s blood with all its special regenerative properties. So the crew then revives Kirk, puts Khan away for good, and Kirk and crew are finally able to go off on their voyage of exploration they always wanted.

I found it pretty silly for Abrams to make the head of starfleet into some power hungry warmonger. To make matters worse, the whole last minute revival of Kirk totally destroyed any major impact his death might have had. It also seems eerily similar to the plot of the original films where Spock sacrifices himself at the end of “The Wrath of Khan” only to be revived in “The Search for Spock” when his coffin happens to be on the mysterious planet that scientists create in order to sustain new life.

END SPOILERS

 

All the returning cast is as good as they were in the first film. Benedict Cumberbatch is fantastic in his role as the villain, giving a real sinister feel. Michael Giacchino returns to do the music and makes great use of a lot of the thematic material from the first film. While he wrote some new material for this one, I did not find any of the new themes particularly interesting. The music retains its orchestral flavor and is now much darker to fit the tone of the film. The soundtrack is fitting overall but could have been better.

Despite some of the issues I had with the plot, discussed in the spoilers section above, “Into Darkness” moved along at a slick pace and had a number of funny one liners throughout. The action was for the most part easy to follow, though the lens flares are still used frequently as Abrams does in all his films. If you can get past some of the more unbelievable parts of the plot, it makes for an exciting ride from start to finish.
4/5

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From → Sci-fi

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