If you haven’t figured this out by now, I am a huge Trekkie. I have loved Star Trek in all its iterations since I was barely a foot tall, mostly because my parents are Trekkies too so it was always on. So, when the first Star Trek reboot came out, I was glad to see they hadn’t mangled it as badly as I thought they would. They were able to change it a fresh, new way without destroying the characters we loved and held dear. Now the highly anticipated sequel has finally hit theaters, so how does it fare? Does it create Trekkie rage, or does it continue to surprise?
Let’s take a look at Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Star Trek: Into Darkness picks up where the last film left off, with the crew of the Enterprise running around the universe, completing missions for Star Fleet. However, soon the entire organization comes under terrorist attack and it’s up to Kirk, Spock, and the rest of their crew to track down the mastermind, and ultimately discover what’s been really going on in the upper echelons of Star Fleet command. I won’t discuss the ending here to avoid spoilers for those of you who haven’t seen it. I will be posting a separate article on it because it is actually incredibly problematic and inspires rage in many fans. But for now, we’re going to take a look at the film overall and I’ll keep my incredibly biased Trekkie opinions about the ending as separate as possible.
The plot overall was interesting and helped to showcase the dynamic between the crew, which is really the heart of the films. Seeing the crew continue to face the challenges onboard is great and makes it feel more like a connected franchise than stand alone films, which is crucial for something as massive as Star Trek. However, a lot of the interactions seem filtered through Kirk – there isn’t a lot of onscreen interactions between Chekov and Uhura, or Bones and Scotty, which is a real shame. This is, of course, hard to expect of a reboot that’s only has two movies under its belt, while the original series had several seasons and a full six movies behind it. Hopefully in the future there will be more interactions since a big theme of the film is family. Some of the character arcs fell like retreads of the ones from the first film, but not enough to be distracting.
The acting remains strong overall. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto keep their chemistry alive as best friends on a learning curve. It’s important to remember that these movies follow the characters at a much younger stage than even the original series did, seeing their relationship grow is an important part of the narrative. Unlike some fans, I do support the continued romance of Spock and Uhura if only because it gives Zoe Saldana something to do besides be the communications officer and presents interesting issues of inter-species relationships. Karl Urban and Simon Pegg are the funny commentary as always, while John Cho and Anton Yelchin unfortunately take a bit of a back seat. Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain is pretty good, though I’ll talk about it more in the coming article about the ending since almost all information about his character contains spoilers.
The special effects are stunning. If there’s anything you could expect from a film of this caliber and budget, it would be fantastic visuals. The space battles (the few there are) look great, there’s amazing fight choreography, the chase scenes are wonderful. Everything about how this film looks is, in the simplest of terms, glorious. It’s a bit more gritty than the shiny and flashy first film that made you feel like you were in an iPod commercial, so that’s a plus. One scene has the Enterprise sink below the clouds and then rise, which is breath-taking to say the least. And yes, there are still lens flares but as long as you don’t go looking for them (like I did) you should be able to ignore them just fine. The inside of the ship looks better now, thanks again to dropping the Apple aesthetic, and it feels more like a whole ship then randomly assembled parts. Like I said before, glorious.
One of the big issues I have from the films from a Trekkie standpoint is that there isn’t much explained about the society this takes place in. I consistently had to explain to my friend why the militarization of Star Fleet would actually be a big deal, and why they didn’t need a military at this time (even though they kind of do because of the Klingons). Star Trek takes place in a time where major issues like war, world hunger, and poverty have been dealt with, and where species under the United Federation of Planets get along without any major violence necessary. It is a world much more civilized than that which we live in now, which is sort of half-explained in the film but never adequately so.
Overall, Star Trek: Into Darkness wasn’t a great film, but it was good. It managed to keep the same fun energy from the last film while fixing some of its flaws, though let’s face it we’re never getting rid of those damn lens flares.There will, of course, be those who disagree with me and think this film is the best there ever was, which is fine – people experience films differently. As it stands for me, I wouldn’t put it in my favorite Star Trek films. Still, its one of the big summer blockbusters and I recommend anyone interested to go check it out while it’s still in theaters.
– Amazing special effects and visuals.
– Strong acting.
– Good plot (until the ending).
– The ending.
– Limited character development.
– Lack of explanation for those unfamiliar with show.