After hearing of the mixed to positive reviews, my expectations for Into Darkness where mixed, I did not know what to expect from the movie. Upon watching it, I have to say that it did not disappoint in the slightest. While some of the die-heart Trekkies that are still mad about Abrams' reboot will have nothing new to enjoy, more open-minded fans of the franchise and fans of the reboot will have plenty to love, because Into Darkness was a blast! Although I did quite enjoy Abrams first Star Trek film, it lacked a strong villain that it so sorely needed, but Into Darkness completely kills it in that respect. Benedict Cumberbatch is far and above the best part of the entire movie; he absolutely killed it in his mysterious role as the film's villain and because the character's identity is a mysterious, I shall refer to the character as Cumberbatch. Despite this, Cumberbatch should have had much more screen-time because his character needed it. Cumberbatch played a rather compelling villain and throughout most of the movie I was actually more on Cumberbatch's side than Kirk and Spock's because he had justification for his actions. Thus far in 2013, Cumberbatch is the best villain of the year, although he will likely be bested by Hiddleston in the upcoming Thor: the Dark World by Loki/Tom Hiddleston.
Even though I was unfortunately spoiled as to the true identity of Cumberbatch's character, I already had my suspicions, so that did not detract from my enjoyment of the film. Star Trek Into Darkness is a film that deserves a full spoiler discussion, however this review will be spoiler free and, if the readers are interested, I will write a full spoiler discussion on the film in the future.
Being a fan of the franchise, Into Darkness featured many references that only those that have seen some of the old movies/TV show can appreciate, or, in the case of some Trek purists, despise. If you are one of those fans that dislike the movie because of the attempts to mimic the original, that is understandable.
Something of major importance to mention is that J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars Ep. 7, which everyone already knows. Because of this, I was hoping to see if Abrams has the directing chops to pull off Star Wars and I have to say that Into Darkness' direction was rather impressive. Except for a few too many dang lens flares, Abrams did a great job.
One a side note, why is there no colon between "Trek" and "Into" in the title? I looked it up, the official name has no colon, so that makes the movie's title look weird.
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Action Adventure,
Release Date: May 17, 2013
Running Time: 133 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Benedict Cumberbatch completely steals the show, Relentless pacing, Impressive action sequences, Superb directing by Abrams, Compelling villain, Tribble!, Several homages to classic Star Trek moments, Hilarious sense of humor, Brings back previously fantastic cast.
The Bad: Occasionally predictable, Minor plot holes,
Plot: The following plot summary is copied from Wikipedia.com.
In the year 2259, the Federation starship USS Enterprise has been sent to the planet Nibiru to study the development of primitive cultures. Captain James T. Kirk and Spock attempt to save the planet's inhabitants from a volcanic eruption. When Spock's life is endangered, Kirk violates the Prime Directive to rescue him, exposing the Enterprise to the planet's civilization. Kirk accuses Spock of showing little morality when they argue over the decision.
Summoned to Earth, Kirk loses command of the Enterprise as a result of his decision and Admiral Christopher Pike is reinstated as its commanding officer. When a secret Section 31 installation in London is bombed, Pike, Kirk, and Spock meet with Starfleet commanders to discuss the hunt for the culprit, Starfleet agent John Harrison, but Harrison attacks the meeting in a jumpship. Kirk destroys it, but Pike is killed and Harrison escapes by transporting to Kronos, the Klingon homeworld.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.
Plot: 8.1/10- As compelling of a villain Cumberbatch was, Into Darkness did have a great deal about Spock and Kirk's relationship. While that part was handled well, it is somewhat of a backtrack to what happened in the previous Trek movie with Spock and Kirk bickering. There where a few other minor aspects that where retreads of the previous Star Trek film as well. As for the main plot as a whole, it was quite good and well paced, even though some may not like the lightening pacing as much. Towards the end, there where a few minor plot holes and predictable parts that kind of detract from the movie. Other than those grievances, the rest of the plot is great and filled with fun and snappy dialogue, even if it is not as "deep" as some fans would like.
Action: 9.2/10- Abrams has really stepped up his action direction skills with Into Darkness. Most of the action sequences where riveting and well directed. There were only a few shots that were poorly framed or darkly lit. Cumberbatch's character was a beast in the action scenes and he was the main reason why many of the action scenes where as awesome as they were. Never before has there been this quality of action in a Star Trek film.
Acting: 8.5/10- As stated before, Cumberbatch was freaking awesome in his role. He had a menacing screen presence and made the character very compelling, although this is no surprise since Cumberbatch is amazing as Sherlock Holmes. The entire cast of the Enterprise from the previous film is great, without a single miscasting. Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk is even better than he was in the previous Trek film, and Zachary Quinto as Spock is good, but not particularly great in his role. Alice Eve, aka "Thumbnail Chick," was neither bad nor good in her role. Although no one else was noticeably bad, aside from Cumberbatch, the acting is not particularly special.
Special effects: 9.2/10- Although some of the effects are obviously CGI, the movie still looks great! The effects and setting are much improved compared to the previous Star Trek film. Fortunately, Abrams used a surprising amount of practical special effects and fully built sets, opposed to going all green screen.
Soundtrack: 9.2/10- The rendition of the classic Star Trek theme is done perfectly by Michael Giacchino and a few other tracks are homages to other Star Trek tracks from the past.
Comedy: 9.3/10- Star Trek Into Darkness is an often hilarious movie filled with humorous banter and quick quips.
Would I Watch This Again: While I would not consider buying the movie on Blu-Ray/DVD, Into Darkness was a lot of fun and certainly worth watching again.
Overall: 8.5/10- Overall Star Trek Into Darkness is a blast to watch and a fun space-adventure romp, however Cumberbatch is the main reason to watch the film because both his performance and character are the main things that make the movie memorable.
Closing comments: Some hardcore Trekkies and those who are not fans of Abrams first Star Trek will find little to like in the film, everyone else should enjoy the fun ride.
Recommended for: Sci-Fi fans, Star Trek fans, Cumberbatch fans, Action fans,
Please check back tomorrow for my review of the Wolverine.
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