Star Trek Into Darkness
Review: Star Trek Into Darkness
Star Trek Into Darkness is wild - the most fun I've had at the movies so far this year. Directed by J.J. Abrams, it's a very well crafted, action-packed, breathtaking adventure film that's terrific entertainment for everyone - whether or not they've seen an episode of Star Trek in their lives. What's missing from J.J.'s Star Trek movies is the logical and thought-provoking ideas, which many Trekkies complain about. I don't really mind that - I just look at his films as blockbusters, and they certainly deliver the goods in those regards.
The first film developed the characters and identified them, explored their interactions and filled them with life. In this sequel, now that we know the characters, we're given more character interaction to enjoy, and it's great fun. The chemistry between Kirk and Spock, especially, is very well realized. I liked how they bounce off one another and had some funny moments alongside very dramatic and intimate moments that totally work, and stay consistent in terms of tone. Writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof wrote a good screenplay which reward the characters with plenty to do and moments to shine brightly.
All of the performances are absolutely solid - Chris Pine is fine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto brings his A-game as Spock. The rest of the cast include Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, and Bruce Greenwood - all do perfectly fine at what they're asked to do. The standout here, however, is Benedict Cumberbatch as the villainous John Harrison. Cumberbatch presents one hell of an amazing villain. He's wonderfully played, given a very dark and devilish voice which sounds like something Satan threw up from hell. He's actually a very beautifully developed character - ruthless and pure evil, and you get a sense of why he's like that, which makes his character more fascinating. He's appropriately menacing and entertaining as all hell, due mostly to Cumberbatch's amazing performance. It's a breakthrough.
The film is huge in spectacle and heavy on action. The action scenes are a lot of fun and often pretty exhilarating, all presented in the IMAX 3D format which enhances the experience greatly. While the 3D isn't very good (it's more of a distraction), the special effects and the IMAX blend beautifully, especially during this one sequence when Spock is inside of a volcano. The sequence was, like all of the action, shot in IMAX, and the CGI is convincing enough to make it feel like you're there alongside Spock in the volcano. Some of the very best action set pieces are wonderful to experience on that enormous IMAX screen. In regards to effects and action, Star Trek Into Darkness is certainly state-of-the-art stuff.
There's something in the film that may be thought of a plot hole by some. It's a crucial element to the plot that threatens the characters that, in the end, is left unexplored. I think that this will be major in Star Trek 3. Those of you who have already seen the film may know what I'm talking about.
I do have an issue with the film, and it mostly concerns the final 25, or so, minutes. One of the smaller disappointments is being that the previous moments in the film were so huge in spectacle and the action scenes, which exhilarated and excited, were so boldly presented, it's a bit lame that the final confrontation between the good guy and the bad guy is an underwhelming and rather rushed fist fight. But I was mostly bothered by something else in the film's finale, and if I were to say it I would spoil the film for everyone. So I will say that something happens to a crucial character that makes the film's ending a missed opportunity - not as effective as it should have been and not as emotional as it absolutely could have been. It also could have made one hell of a great Star Trek 3.
Star Trek Into Darkness certainly delivers. The characters are great, the action is fantastic, the villain is phenominally awesome, and the overall experience is tremendous. Excluding my small problems with the ending, this is everything I could have wished for in a sequel to Star Trek. The only thing I could think about is how great J.J. Abrams is going to make Star Wars 7.