Star Trek Into Darkness: A Review

StarTrekIntoDarkness_FinalUSPosterFrom the same team that brought us the awesome Star Trek movie in 2009, which shattered box office records and introduced the Star Trek franchise to a whole new generation, comes a sequel that from the trailer alone promises to be as kick ass as its predecessor. On all counts, this sequel was a winner and I would not object to seeing another Enterprise adventure to round out a trilogy in the near future.

The first movie was basically an origin story — how Captain Kirk was recruited into the Star Fleet and eventually became the captain of the USS Enterprise, and earned the trust and friendship of his entire crew. In Into Darkness, the story delves deeper into the Star Trek universe to bring out one of the Enterprise’s most dangerous arch nemesis — Khan/John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch, TV’s Sherlock), who stages a one man assault on the Star Fleet for an unknown reason. As the assault results in countless casualties, Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are sent out on a mission to hunt down the terrorist in an abandoned Klingon territory to neutralize him with the use of 72 photon torpedoes made of advanced technology yet unexplored by man. During the mission, the Enterpise, meet some unexpected complications when its engine suffers malfunction and the crew is stuck in enemy territory. As the plot thickens, Kirk learns from Khan the real purpose of his mission and a web of lies is uncovered within the ranks of the Star Fleet.

I am not a fangirl of the franchise Trekkie/Trekker but I am a big fan of director J.J. Abrams (Alias, Super 8, Mission Impossible, Fringe), and screenwriters/producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who co-created one of my favorite television series Fringe. What they brought to the big screen was the same level of intellect and dynamism that is needed to pull off a successful Sci Fi feature, which was first evidenced by the first Star Trek movie.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie because it did not dwell too much into the technicalities of the rivalry between Khan and the Enterprise. The story basically explained the roots of Khan’s drive for vengeance and explored the depth of Kirk and Spock’s friendship. It was pretty basic but the approach was just so dynamic that one does not get lost in the intricacies of the characters’ relationships that has been explored for years on television. Instead, fans and non fans alike are given a chance to understand and enjoy the movie at the same time.

What I liked best about this movie was the amount of comedy incorporated into the script. The dialogues were so witty and the cast just pulls it off so well, with a rapport and chemistry that they established in the first movie transcending well into the sequel. The thing was, the movie did not merely revolve around Kirk and Spock alone as the main characters but it also became about their interaction with the rest of the crew. Kirk and Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Spock, Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Kirk, Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Kirk, Spock and Zulu (John Cho).Their chemistry was just so strong that the characters were able to play off each others’ strength at every turn. Everybody just came together to form a very strong unit which the Enterprise was all about. Despite the fact that they were being shot down by madmen, being attacked by terrorists, the crew went the extra mile to save their ship, save each other and save their family, which was the very essence of the franchise that connected them to their very loyal fans.

Abrams was also able to balance out the exciting parts of the movie with the more dramatic parts providing a variation in the tone of the movie. When I heard that it was going to be super action packed, I was afraid that it would go the way of G.I. Joe Retaliation where the entire film just seemed like a blur of torpedoes, ammunition and firepower but I should have known better.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Owen  of the American Pie franchise. (image from cheezburger.com)
Benedict Cumberback and Chris Owen of the American Pie franchise. (image from cheezburger.com)

The only thing that kind of bothered me was that British actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan. I do not question his acting chops for playing the main villain of the piece but he just looked so much like the Sherminator in American Pie that in spite of being all superhuman and unemotional, I couldn’t take him quite as seriously as I should. (As I surf the web, it would seem that I was not the only one who had the same observation) I thought that Michael Fassbender would have done better for the part, had he not been identified with another Sci Fi origins movie, Prometheus.

All in all, I loved Star Trek Into Darkness. I thought it was completely badass. The stars may have gained weight (yes, all of them) but this did not stop them from delivering a great ensemble performance that even if scrutinized under a microscope would still hold up as great individual performances as well. I still liked the first movie better but Into Darkness felt more like Star Trek to me. Kudos to everyone behind this kickass feature.

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