Star Trek: Into Darkness Review

 

2009 was turning point for Star Trek, what for decades seemed like a franchise that was adopted solely by a nerdy fandom was then injected with a Star Wars-esque cool factor and it’s never been the same. Four years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but does J. J. Abrams bring back the cool Star Trek again and should you watch it?

Star Trek: Into Darkness
Director: J. J .Abrams
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch
Running time:  133
Age restriction: 10-12 PGV
Genre: science-fiction

The Plot

An attack on Starfleet headquarters prompts the Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) to send Kirk and his crew on a mission to find the mysterious assailant who is now stranded on the Klingon homeworld.

The Target

If you liked the previous Star Trek film, this one is likely a matinee purchase, Into Darkness may not have the novelty of the original but it’s still a good bit of escapism for geeks and even casual watchers.

The Bottom Line

As a child, I was exposed to Star Trek, and I’ll be honest, the movies that I watched left me confused and even a little bored (then again, The Motion Picture wasn’t regarded as the best in the theatrical Star Trek line), and quickly found myself adopting Star Wars as my sci-fi fandom of choice. Don’t get me wrong, at the time being a Star Wars fan also got you labeled as a nerd, geek or applicable facsimile but it wasn’t quite the social thrashing that being Trekkie earned you. So when I watched the J. J. Abrams reboot of the Trek franchise four years ago, I, Like many were blown away by how the now absurdly popular director made one of the nerdiest franchises into one of the coolest ones. In hindsight I’m not entirely certain if it was a good thing – I recently watched The Original Series from start to finish and learned to appreciate the unique science and storytelling of the late Gene Roddenberry, and came to the conclusion that Abrams brought Star Trek into the mainstream but also destroyed what made the series so unique.

It would be fair to say that Into Darkness is really more of the same but as the title would suggest, deals with a much darker theme. As was seen in the reboot, there is plenty of death to go around but the trailers suggested that we’d be treated to much deeper story, filled with politics and mystery. It pains me to say that I put far too much faith in the trailers as the story is still the extended action sequence that we saw in the past, albeit even thinner. Where Into Darkness truly succeeds is in it’s sheer entertainment value – it’s a fantastic experience with absolutely mind-blowing visuals and 3-D effects that will aim to stun.

The action sequences (which is the entire film to be completely honest) are breath taking and superbly choreographed – if you enjoyed this aspect of the previous film, then Into Darkness raises the bar even higher! Every single scene is handled with precision and whether it be space battles, hand-to-hand combat or a daring chase, it’s no surprise that Abrams has picked up the directors role for the Star Wars sequel on the horizon; Into Darkness is a portfolio piece that is the jewel in Abrams’ crown and is a testament to the directors ability to wow a crowd. Into Darkness thankfully does have some substance to it, the plot isn’t dumb, it just seems like it could have been so much more.

Star Trek: Into Darkness may not be the perfect sequel, but it ups it’s game in every way from 2009 reboot. Ironically, the strength of Roddenberry’s original work was it’s story (because lets be honest, the action was beyond cheesy), and in the case of the latest film, style and action take a heavy handed lead. That said,  the plot is packed with surprises, the actors are never too serious, because they’re just funny when they put on a frown. If there is any one reason to watch Into Darkness, it would have to be the magnificent Benedict Cumberbatch who really embodies his legendary character, and rather than parodying him, instead makes the role his own.

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