Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
I expected a lot out of this movie 'Star Trek: Into Darkness', a sequel to one of the most entertaining movies I have ever seen, but what kind of caught me by surprise was the love story, I mean this was a love story for the ages.  Tender, gentle, kind, selfless… the prototype for the kind of love First Corinthians 13:4-8 speaks of.  Spock and Kirk's passion for each other almost brought tears to my eyes.

Stardate… sometime in the future.  Who knows when.  Our film opens on a planet in danger, Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) on the run from crazed primitives, with Spock (Zachary Quinto) in a volcano trying to stop this savage beast from ripping this planet to shreds.  Action ensues.  Get used to action ensuing in this movie.  Two major things happen in this scene; one being that Kirk risks all to save Spock's life and second is that Kirk violated the cherished Prime Directive to make this happen.  Now I've seen enough Star Trek to know that Prime and Directive are just two words in the dictionary because it gets violated constantly, but today it's a particularly bad thing.

Unfortunately, despite Kirk's good deeds, his boss Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) has had enough of Kirk's cowboy attitude and disregard for the rules, and as such the Enterprise is snatched from his grasps.  Kirk is sad.

While all this is happening, there is a mysterious character blowing up buildings and stuff.  Who is this guy?  Okay, it's totally Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch).  Apparently this was supposed to be a big surprise when they were formulating this movie, but considering the IMDB lists Cumberbatch as the character of Khan, so much for that.   I would call the man by his full name, Khan Noonien Singh, but that would indicate an Indian ethnicity as I used
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to know for the character, but that's not Benedict Cumberbatch.  Anyway, Khan's reign of terror is only beginning, a reign of terror that causes Kirk some personal tragedy for which he vows unending revenge for.  His big boss, Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller), gives Kirk back the Enterprise and some super experimental weapons and tells his reinstated captain to go kill that bastard!  That's an Order!  Spock thinks there must be a better way, but James T. is pretty pissed off at this dude.

So they go to get this guy, mad action ensues, Khan is a total badass to end all badasses… bigger, smarter, faster… just ask him, he will let you know, but at the end of the day he allows Kirk and the gang to capture him.  This wasn't the order.  Why did Khan go along peacefully?  I mean if he wanted to, he and his genetic superiority could have wiped them all out just by thinking hard.  Ah… conspiracy abounds my friends, and this conspiracy is big.  This conspiracy could very well kill every single crew member of the Enterprise, as there are some bad people doing some bad things at Starfleet, but none of them are as bad as my man Khan who could be a friend… but we know better.   Action will ensue, and at the end of the day we will be saved by the power of love.  Uhura, step aside… you're in the way.  Thank you.

Let's talk 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' people.  To get it out of the way, from where I was sitting, this adventure isn't as entertaining as the first movie, but reaching the heights set for that movie, at least for me, would've been darn near impossible.  Also, the J.J. Abrams re-visioning of 'Star Trek' makes these movies, to be honest with you, barely 'Star Trek' movies, at least in the sense that the focus isn't on the journey and the experiences that result from that journey, but these are action movies, pure and simple.  That being said, and while I might own a phaser and maybe a Science Officer shirt or two, because everybody owns at least one of those, right?.. I'm not a die-hard Trekker so I'm totally cool with the direction these movies are going, and 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' was a perfectly entertaining movie. 

Now what made the first movie work in such complete crowd-pleasing harmony was that in addition to the bravura action, we were also treated to the introduction and careful development of well known characters.  This time around, we know these characters fairly well so the development aspects weren't as necessary and as such weren't as strong.  We are introduced to a few new characters such as Alice Eve's Carol Marcus who looks to be hanging around for a while to tease Kirk in future installments, and we got a taste of the Klingons but the way they were presented here they don't seem like much of a threat.  Thus the weight of this film rested on a load of frenetic action and explosions, and of course furthering the bond between Kirk and Spock, and if that was the goal then this film has to be termed a rousing success.

I gotta say though, as entertaining as this movie is, on more than one occasion it does have instances where it flies in the face of common sense, leading me to believe that there are numerous connecting scenes on the editing room floor.  The good thing is the movie moves so fast… we're talking like zero dead space in this thing… that most of us won't realize this until the movie is over and you are discussing it with your friends, but this doesn't make for the smartest movie in the series.

But is there fun to be had with 'Star Trek: Into Darkness'?  Oh good heavens yes.  Not as great as the first but still a good time, and the hint that future installments just might get back to the business of exploring and experiencing as opposed to blowing things up real good.
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