Star Trek Into Darkness looks great, treks less, blows sh*t up more

“Star Trek Into Darkness” continues its foray to boldly take the adventures of the Starship Enterprise into the undiscovered country of a terrorist manhunt movie with the franchise as a window dressing.

In the dignity of simplicity, we will refer to STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS as just Star Trek 2 (though unrelated to “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”).

Star Trek 2 opens on a seemingly unrelated mission — and it really is unrelated in terms of events — but what we learn from this event rings true of whom we know of Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) — their friendship didn’t happen overnight and as the last film showed us, is quite rocky. I know I would be tenuous if my friend beat me in front of everyone.

After the Enterprise’s foray on a strange planet where they submerged the ship into the ocean (yeah it sounds goofy but looks great) the real story begins. The terrorist John Harrison targeted the Federation in a series of terror attacks from bombings to massacres, and the crew of the Enterprise has taken the task to bring him to justice.

Despite the title, which is my honest byte, I really liked this movie. I loved the initial reboot back in 2009 because it was fresh, furious and a story for my generation that had a great love and respect for the established Trek canon. The new franchise continues onward with the introduction of several key Trek characters and possible conflicts.

“Although ‘Star Trek’ has had it share of action, the rebooted franchise seems hell-bent on genocide than actual star trekking.”

Each actor did well in their parts but the standouts are the “big 3”: Kirk, Spock and Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and then there is Benedict Cumberbatch as the terrorist John Harrison.

Cumberbatch really channels in pompousness and ruthlessness with compassion and unrelenting madness in his acting of the character’s motivations and also physically in some pretty bad-ass and admittedly scary fight scenes. Seeing the character Harrison brutalize his enemies with hand-to-hand combat and then turn that relentlessness to the Enterprise makes him one of the most fearful bad guys this year. He proves to be a mental and physical superior to just about “everyone.”

We also have Alice Eve playing Carol Marcus (also a character from “Wrath of Khan”) and well she’s just there. Maybe we’ll get more from her but she wasn’t unbearable and she takes her clothes off. Nothing wrong there.

Regarding the Big 3, Uhura has had a much larger role in the Trek series than ever before, and I like that her character is handled by Zoe and also that she can hold her own in group and stand out scenes to showcase her linguistic skills. It’s small but in this frantically paced movie, it helps to have these moments. Same goes for McCoy discovering medical miracles, Scotty’s bit parts of humorous heroics, the coming-into-his-own of Chekov, and Sulu uttering a very bad-ass line.

Director JJ Abrams, who will take over the next Star Wars films and past show runner of Lost, knows characters, and he knows complicated storylines that on paper are convoluted but when it plays out, it makes perfect sense. The story moves along quick, almost rushing through so that it can get to the real stuff, which I think is being saved for the third part of this series. When you think about it, nothing really happened of true consequence that we are aware of at this time.  There are IMPLIED problems….

OK you know what.. I have to talk about certain plot points to really get my point across.

SPOILER ALERT!!!  SPOILER ALERT!!!  SPOILER ALERT!!!  SPOILER ALERT!!!  SPOILER ALERT!!!
The Enterprise doesn’t trek anywhere or explore anything. The movie has a lot of teases and no payoff.  I was a little let down with the brief exposure to the Klingons, making their new era debut however they got massacred by Harrison.  We are alluded to a growing tension that can lead to war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.  The movie does not touch onto this issue past the first half. War, as I interpret it, is darkness, but tonally this film is on par with the first even with higher violence and allusions to warmongering and fear.
 
There are numerous allusions to modern day terrorism at the beginning with the bombing and the end of the film with a starship colliding into a metropolis. I’m sure something like that can get covered up as “shit happens” considering the terrorist Harrison helped create that warship for the Federation in black ops mission ordered by the Federation Admiral Marcus to create WMDs in the future. I loved that the movie highlighted that in the future, people are still gearing for conflicts, and some will go looking for it out of fear. However, that fear was not fully explored across the board to the extent that made it fully developed. That would make for some real darkness though essentially kickstarting the Kirk vs. Khan feud isn’t a bad route to go either.
 
Star Trek 2 is “The Wrath of Khan” 2.0 (Harrison is actually Khan Noonien Singh), this interpretation treats the encounter not so epically as originally. Maybe I’m looking at the past with rose-colored glasses. I loved “Wrath of Khan” like crazy with its themes of legacy, young/old, and revenge and all of that. This movie’s themes were not themes so much as just a message that I do not feel was as strong.
 

My mom brought up a good point. Although “Star Trek” has had it share of action, the rebooted franchise seems hell-bent on genocide than actual star trekking. We’ve already witnessed mass genocide and murder at cataclysmic levels in additional to being at the brink of war. Maybe that is the point of these stories being at the beginning of Kirk and company’s legendary journey into space to usher peace — which the end of the film finally touches on the five-year exploration mission. I hope the next part retains the action but gives us a more sci-fi adventure than space warfare. Because that’s why we have “Star Wars.”

END SPOILERS

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