The beloved rebooted crew of the Enterprise returns after a four-year absent to venture into darkness in a action packed thrill ride that breaks from the mold, but is pulled down by remnants of the past.
Six months after the events of the 2009 reboot, James T. Kirk, played by Chris Pine, and his crew must hunt down international terrorist John Harrison, played by Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch, under The Federation’s Admiral Marcus, played by Peter Weller, into Klingon territory while not trying to cause war in the region. As they come upon Harrison, the crew faces their darkest hour that will test their bond, their faith and their will to survive.
Into Darkness is a great follow-up to the previous film with spectacular action, stunning visuals and a tight-knit devotion to each character. Space never looked better with space battles that are beyond belief and true peril once the Enterprise starts to get destroyed mid-warp by the Vengence providing a true sense of danger. Industrial Light & Magic step up their game from the previous film to deliver out-of-this-world visuals that capture the feel of what space should be that pop in 3D, which is surprisingly well done for a post converted feature.
Benedict Cumberbatch proves his true acting power as a terrifying and intense villain. The booming voice Cumberbatch has works well delivering monologues that heighten the tension and fear that is looming. Another newcomer Alice Eve as Dr. Carol Marcus is a bit of a rough start, but Eve starts to come into her own once the film amps up the dark turn it takes. Simon Pegg gets more screen time as Scottie after being seen toward the end the first film and delivers great moments of humor alongside Karl Urban’s portrayal of ‘Bones’ that rivals DeForest Kelley’s original take on the role. Pine and Zachary Quinto are better than ever and feels as if they never kept apart from one another.
One main gripe with the film is the reliance of much of the past lore of Star Trek. While great in theory to deliver some fan service and nods, over reliance to what made the original series a classic harms the reboot more than helps. Without spoiling too much, the reboot is about moving the franchise into a different direction and break from the old. Into Darkness tosses out nods left and right in the third act that may make old fans grow weary and new fans who have seen the film series wonder if it was really necessary. The reveal of the villain is truly a shock, but the reveal of another character might be seen coming from a mile away which most fans were slightly unenthusiastic about. Worse is the fact that a scene is taken verbatim from a previous film in the Star Trek films series which deters from any emotion to be felt or had, despite the two actors giving it their all.
J.J. Abrams ventured into the world of Star Trek to deliver another winner retaining the sleek wonder of the reboot, but with taking cues from the past, one should wonder whether this trend will continue in future films of the franchise. As for Abrams, maybe he should learn from some of the mistakes of this film before tackling the galaxy far, far away.