Star Trek Into Darkness is one of the best movies of the Summer 2013 movie season. However, for all of its successes, there is no denying that it is not a perfect work. The movie, which clocks in at just over two hours keeps audiences engaged from the story’s opening moments. And that is thanks in large part to following the standard Summer blockbuster formula. Here’s where things get dicey, and some of this critic’s fellow Trek fans might be angered. To those potentially angered readers, please read this entire review before attacking.
One of the biggest factors in the success of Star Trek Into Darkness is that much like its predecessor, audiences don’t have to know the rich history of Gene Roddenberry’s creation that started with Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS). Its references to the movie franchise’s reboot were so few that audiences that have yet to see that movie need not worry about having seen it in order to enjoy this story. Director J.J. Abrams and his staff of writers did an impressive job in keeping this tradition alive from the movies based on both TOS and TNG. Though, those that are long-time fans of both Star Trek TOS and the long running movie franchise will enjoy it just as much as TOS and the movie franchise’s reboot. Long-time fans will enjoy the reference in this movie to the famed Troubles with Tribbles episode from TOS. Long-time fans will enjoy seeing actor Leonard Nimoy reprise his role as the original Spock just as much (not to reveal too much). That’s right. Leonard Nimoy is back once again. And long-time fans will love how Abrams and company poke fun at themselves with his re-appearance. How they go about doing so will be kept under wraps so as to not spoil another positive moment from an overall impressive work.
Director J.J. Abrams and his staff of writers did an impressive job making a story that much like the movies from TOS and TNG, doesn’t require knowledge of the previous movie to be enjoyed. This and the references to TOS played important roles in this movie’s success. Just as much cause for success was the personal growth of Chris Pine’s Kirk and Zachary Quinto’s Spock. Kirk starts off in this movie the same brash almost Tom Cruise “Maverick” style figure as they were introduced to in the series’ 2009 reboot. It would be impossible to explain this without spoiling at least one aspect of the movie. That aspect would be that Admiral Pike is killed off. In his death, audiences finally see Kirk grow as a person. They see what was obviously the relationship of a son and his (for all intents and purposes) surrogate father in Pike. Audiences also see the relationship between Spock and Kirk grow even more from their initial meeting in the 2009 reboot. This is perhaps one of very few aspects of this work that would require viewers to have seen the previous film in order to appreciate it. Theirs are the only relationships that show any growth from the previous installment in the franchise. That’s not an entirely bad thing. Simon Pegg is as funny as ever in his role as Scotty. And the relationship between Scotty, Kirk, Spock and Bones produces more than its share of laughs once again.
For everything that makes Star Trek Into Darkness such a success, it isn’t without its faults. This story has plenty of comical moments between cast members; enough that they would make quite the blooper reel in the movie’s home release. But one can’t help but look back on the movie and realize just how much running around and yelling filled most of the story. There was so much that in hindsight, it makes for more than enough fodder for Saturday Night Live’s writers to spoof. Thankfully for the movie’s staff of writers, all the running around and yelling wasn’t enough to overpower the story’s main plot that while not overly original, is still nicely updated. It’s a story that is well worth its time overall, whether one is an experienced Star Trek fan or not.
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