Before I dive right into this review, let me promise that I will not reveal any spoilers – even though I know Yahoo and Entertainment already let the cat out of the bag (YOU GUYS SUCK). I will assume that anyone who reads this has seen the previous Star Trek movie (if not, feel free to surf away now if you plan to see it and prefer to go in fresh). That said, let’s roll…
Much like Indiana Jones being pursued by natives after having stolen the golden idol, Star Trek Into Darkness opens with Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Carl Urban) running away from a group of indigenous people who are on their tails after having stolen a sacred item of theirs. While this is happening, Spock (Zachary Quinto) is getting himself all hot and bothered inside the nearby volcano that is ready to blow and wipe out the inhabitants unless they do something about it. This scene taps so many plot points for Star Trek in general, I was surprised how much they hit: Prime Directives, moral dilemmas, romance, bromance, dealing with impending doom.
Back in London, a Starfleet officer (played by Noel Clarke, aka Mickey from Doctor Who) and his wife visit a hospital where their daughter is clearly dying. Seizing on their desperation, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) convinces the officer he can save her life. In exchange for a transfusion of Harrison’s blood, the officer must sabotage a Starfleet facility. The officer does so, but sends a message to Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) confessing what he has done just before carrying out Harrison’s plan.
This sets the movie into faster motion and boy does it MOVE. I was never bored or wondering how long the movie was. The movie found a great balance between the heavier, dramatic exchanges and action sequences. Visual effects were stunning, but rarely seemed overdone.
The relationship between Kirk and Spock continued to grow significantly in this film, almost to the detriment of Bones. Unlike the original series, there was little to none of Bones getting on Spock’s case about being an overly-logical Vulcan. To be honest, if the reason for the animosity between them was made known in TOS, I overlooked it (I’m not a TOS expert), but I don’t think that element was missed much in this movie. To be fair, Zachary Quinto was given a lot of room to flex Spock’s human side (rather than play the more stoic Vulcan) and I was in awe of it! More than once, Spock got to kick some MAJOR ass, and more than once his emotions got the better of him. But it still felt very much like “Spock”… Zachary Quinto is amazing.
Spock’s relationship with Uhura (Zoe Saldana) continued through to this movie, which was refreshing. So often, directors will toss out previous romantic attachments as though they had run their course so as to introduce new romances, but I was really pleased that this was not the case here. I found their relationship very sweet and did not feel out of place in the first movie. That’s not to say they didn’t have their bumps in the road, but their disagreements and tension felt real and understandable from both sides.
But the real scene-stealer was Benedict Cumberbatch. I don’t watch Sherlock (although I might have to start), and I knew he was voicing Smaug in the Hobbit films, but to be frank, I thought he was a little odd looking in his photographs. And for pete’s sake who names their child “Benedict Cumberbatch”! Sounds like you’re just setting the poor kid up for getting shoved into lockers and random wedgies. But he totally blew me away watching him on screen. His voice is undeniably sexy, his presence pushes well past the 2D screen, and his expressions are so emotive that you find yourself easily able to sympathize with a mass murderer. Apparently he also does a spot-on Alan Rickman impersonation that I am dying to hear.
Was this a perfect movie? Nope, there was a plot hole here or there, but really, that’s just getting too nitpicky. It was a highly entertaining film, it was incredibly enjoyable to watch these talented actors do their jobs, and I can’t wait to see it again.