Just as Good as its Predecessor
JLFM - wrote on 05/18/13
Well, I can finally say that I've seen a 2013 release that I genuinely love. About time. Star Trek Into Darkness is crazy fun, well-crafted, and has a great story as well. It's rare to see a summer blockbuster so intelligently made, and so easily enjoyable. I haven't had this much fun at the theater since last year's Wreck-It Ralph. Into Darkness may not have the accessibility of its predecessor, but this is still a superb action flick, and maybe the best action flick I'll see all year.
James T. Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise crew must locate terrorist John Harrison and bring him to justice. That's really all I can say without giving away any of the plot twists, as there are several. Be assured, this is a very intelligent story (especially in regards to most popcorn flicks), but there's not much that can be said without spoiling the film.
With that being said, you can probably tell that Star Trek Into Darkness is a highly unpredictable film, which is just one reason why I so enjoyed watching it. From the opening scene to the chaotic and suspenseful finale, you never know what's going to happen next, and it's a blast.
The action scenes are thrilling, the special effects are incredible, and the cinematography is beautiful. The script is great (though once again, there are a couple cringe-worthy lines), and of course; the Enterprise crew.
As was true of the predecessor, the main reason Star Trek Into Darkness is so enjoyable are the characters. Kirk is as likeable as ever, and his friendship with Spock plays out like a conversation between Han Solo and C-3PO. Dr. Bones McCoy gets his share of clever lines, Scotty is as hilarious as ever, and my personal favorite; Pavel Chekov, gets plenty of screen time as well.
Even Uhura, a character I had issues with in the first film, is made more likeable in this film. She's given more of a humorous vibe to her character, which makes her a lot more agreeable, even if she's still the weakest member of the Star Trek cast.
And then there's the villain. This is probably the area that Star Trek Into Darkness most improves upon it's predecessor. The villain in the previous film, Nero, was serviceable, but not particularly memorable. James Harrison on the other hand, the baddie of this film, is not only memorable, but unforgettable. He's menacing, he's smart, and he's responsible for a number of twists in the film. He also has a lot more depth than Nero, and his role adds a lot of psychology to the film at times.
As I've mentioned a few times, there are a lot of twists in this film. And while I did enjoy them, they also represent a possible road block for a few. The great thing about 2009's Star Trek is that it could be enjoyed without previous Star Trek knowledge. And while the same can mostly be said for Into Darkness, some of the film's biggest twists aren't going to have much of an impact on those that don't know a little Star Trek history.
The cast is great. I don't really feel like it's even necessary to go over the individual cast members; they were all fantastic. The single actor I wish to single out is Benedict Cumberbatch of BBC fame. Performing a stand-out villain, Cumberbatch perfectly portrays the many layers of the character with both elegance and sometimes shocking brutality.
The score by Michael Giacchino is not only excellent, I would say it's even better than his also-excellent score for the original. Big, grand, and with a main theme guaranteed to give you chills, this is another masterpiece from the master.
While dramatically darker in tone than it's predecessor and slightly less accessible, Star Trek Into Darkness is every bit as good as the original. Thrilling, funny, visually stunning, and unpredictable, this is the summer film to beat. I may not be a Trekkie, but I know a good film when I see one. I just hope there isn't another 4 year wait for the sequel.