I’m not a Trekkie, so I won’t delve into whether J.J. Abrams’ newest iteration of the beloved sci-fi franchise “Star Trek Into Darkness” strictly adheres to the pseudo-religious, fictional mythology of the USS Enterprise universe. But, what I will tell you is as a film this movie is thoroughly entertaining and keeps you on the edge of your seat for a 132-minute thrill-ride. This action-packed sequel is as much of an emotional rollercoaster as it is a visually stunning marvel of modern 3-D technology.
The film is a sprint right out the gate as we find Kirk (Chris Pine) and his familiar crew simultaneously trying to save their lives and a distant planet on the verge of annihilation due to an erupting super volcano. Of course Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Bones (Karl Urban) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana), the original cast from the first reboot in 2009’s “Star Trek,” prevail in the opening sequence but that rush sets the tone for the rest of the film. Unfortunately, the brash Kirk violated multiple federation laws in helping the planet – they’re supposed to simply explore and observe.
So, Kirk is stripped of his command of the USS Enterprise and becomes the ship’s 1st officer, which doesn’t last long when a terrorist attack strikes the Federation in the heart of London. Soon thereafter, it’s discovered that it was an inside job made by a lone wolf federation officer – Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Khan is on a one-man mission to destroy the Federation and strikes a major blow by subsequently attacking the federation headquarters’ building shortly after the London attack, which results in the death of Kirk’s mentor Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood). So, naturally Kirk is hell-bent on revenge and soon takes over the reins of the USS Enterprise once again – Pike was the ship’s captain.
With the permission of federation boss Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) and armed with new missile technology, Kirk and his crew are sent on a top-secret mission to an enemy Klingon planet where Khan has escaped. However, once the Enterprise team encounters Khan they realize their situation is more complicated than a simple manhunt. Khan is not ordinary nor is he simply a bloodthirsty criminal – he is, however, incredibly ruthless.
Kirk and crew soon realize that Admiral Marcus’ reason for sending them to the far-reaches of the universe with secret missile technology isn’t really kosher. From here the plot centers on Kirk’s ability to do the right thing, or rather go with his gut as he tells Spock, which means he doesn’t always follow orders. I won’t spoil the movie for the few of you who have yet to see it.
Ultimately, however, the film stands out because we’re privy to the close relationship between Kirk and Spock. The “bromance” is well developed, and you’re left with no other choice but to feel for each of the characters.
It also helps that Cumberbatch’s Khan is outstanding. He’s perfect as the intellectually, physically superior super villain. His performance along with the well developed plot, at least in terms of big-budget summer movies, makes this film a must-see.
3.5 stars out of 5
“Star Trek Into Darkness” is rated PG-13.