For most of it’s running time, “Star Trek: Into Darkness” is a perfectly enjoyable space opera that continues the adventures of the Abrams rebooted Trek Universe.
AND THEN…(Spoilers follow.)
It turns into a condensed remake of “Wrath of Khan’ and then celebrates the liberal humanist roots of the original series by offering a welcome (If heavy handed.) rebuke of the Bush/Cheney years.
The “condensed remake” portion of the film will either make or break the film for you. Personally, it broke me. The second Benedict Cumberbatch announced he was Khan, I felt the tension the film had been building up drain out.
And then, when we got to the part where Kirk, not Spock, fixes the warp core, I felt myself get a bit impatient.
And when Spock yelled “KAAHHHNNN!”, I literally said out loud in the theater “Oh, COME ON!”.
(Which for a man who hates it when people talk in the movies, was kind of a personal low point.)
And it kills me that I couldn’t roll with with it because there’s a lot here to like. The cast is settling into their roles nicely. (Pine in particular is really coming into his own as James T. Kirk to the point that William Shatner must drive a spork into his leg every time he sees a commercial.) Abrams manages to pull off some very tasty action beats. And while his part is underwritten, Benedict Cumberbatch continues to make it obvious why he’s the darling of Tumblr’s everywhere. (There are going to be a lot of guys who are going to wind up getting “What the hell, you’re here, you’ll do” sex from this film. Crumbs from the rich man’s table.)
And yes, I absolutely dig the fact that the film is trying to be a mainstream big studio response to the stupidity of the Bush/Cheney years. But the whole “Wrath of Kahn” redux stuff muddies the message. You could have had the same story line and not dragged Khan into it and it probably would have been twice as effective.
So yeah, it doesn’t work. But that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to the next one. The cast is game. They just need a script to match them.
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