Star Trek Into Darkness turned out to be an outstanding science fiction film adventure that will be hard to top for any of the sequels to follow. I enjoyed the first J. J. Abrams outing in this universe (despite having a song from the truly dreadful Beastie Boys on the soundtrack), but this new one leaves the previous film in the dust.
The film opens up as two figures are being chased through a forest of red trees. This turns out to be Kirk and Bones being pursued by a tribe whose sacred scroll has been stolen by Kirk is an attempt to lure said tribe away for a volcano that’s about to blow. At the same time Spock is being lowered into the volcano to set off a device to stop the eruption and effectively save the entire planet. Spock becomes trapped in the volcano. Kirk, once back on board the Enterprise, orders the ship to go in plain view of the planet’s primitive population to save Spock in clear violation of Starfleet’s Prime Directive.
Once back on earth, both Kirk and Spock are summoned before Admiral Pike. Kirk thinks it’s for the five year mission that’s pending. But, this actually leads to Kirk’s demotion and Spock being transferred to another starship. The Enterprise is given back to Pike and he makes Kirk his first officer. He still sees promise he the young man.
Meanwhile, a mysterious man triggers a terrorist attack on the London England branch of Starfleet. This later leads to an attack on the home base of Starfleet in San Francisco leaving Pike dead. Emotions run high as Kirk asks and gets the enterprise back as well as Spock as first officer. He agrees without question to go to the Klingon homeworld, where the terrorist had beamed himself, to kill him. This could lead to all-out war with the Klingon Empire, but Kirk and Admiral Marcus (the man who sends him on the mission in the first place) don’t seem to care. In fact, Marcus feels that an all-out war with the Klingons is inevitable anyway. So, Kirk and company go off to get the bad guy given torpedoes whose contents are a mystery to all. But, Kirk doesn’t care. And even though this mission goes against what Starfleet stands for Kirk’s revenge-minded and nothing else matters.
This film has everything that its audience could ask for: great action, a well-plotted storyline, some moving melodramatic moments, and humor (mostly coming for Simon Pegg’s Scotty). I loved the over the top performances by both Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter Weller (Admiral Marcus). Chris Pines’ Kirk is still on target most of the time. But the character is too wide-eyed at times for my taste. Karl Urban’s Bones should be used more. His character has been pushed aside to make room for the Spock and Uhara romance (which frankly doesn’t make sense within the context of the Star Trek universe). But, as the main cast goes, the one on top acting-wise is Zachary Quinto. His portrayal of Spock is more emotional than Leonard Nimoy’s. But, he’s been through a lot more than the original character, so he lets the human side of Spock out more often. Quinto simply steals every scene he’s in. He’s that good.
Overall, this is outstanding studio tent-pole summer popcorn munching science fiction flick. See it in IMAX 3D if you can. It’ll knock your socks off.
Film Rating: 4.5 out of 5
–Charles T. Cochran