In 2009, fans left the theatre with tears of joy streaming down their face. J.J. Abrams had rebooted the Star Trek franchise with vigour and intensity. Immediately following the release of Star Trek in 2009, it was inevitable that a sequel would be on the way, sooner than later. Although it did take over four years to finally get the release of the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, it is without question that it was well worth the wait. That being said, the film is not without its issues. Riddled with plot holes and poorly done callbacks, fans gained a very strong disliking to certain aspects of this sequel. Should these glaring issues still be a problem for fans today? Here is my personal breakdown of Star Trek Into Darkness.
The Uneven Plot
After a few trials and tribulations throughout the first act of the film, Captain Kirk is demoted once he is found doing illegal things in the organization. While Captain Pike is reinstated, Kirk eventually fill his spot once again as Captain about ten to twenty minutes later. Personally, this is where the film faced the biggest pacing issues. It almost felt like the personal drama between the new and former Captain's was there to extend the running time, because once the film kicks back into gear, it never lets up. As a threat is found in their organization, the film becomes one big man hunt to bring down the ruthless villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Yes, once the film gets down to the nitty gritty, that is pretty much the basic story.
The Villain / Big Reveal
Minor Spoilers Ahead: When Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as the main villain, people began to speculate, as to which character he would be playing. Kept under wraps, not mentioned in the trailers, and no slip ups in interviews, Cumberbatch's character was revealed from the start. Being the second film in the series and seeming to be paying homage to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, fans began to think he would be playing that titular villain. Sure enough, in the second act of Star Trek Into Darkness, he reveals himself as Khan.
Is this too much of a homage that it just seems like a re-imaginging of the character? That is what I believed when walking out of the theatre three years ago, but I have found a way to forgive it. It does make sense, given that Leonard Nimoy is present as an older Spock, which implies that the events of the original series may have actually happened in this timeline. Regardless, they have faced this character in the past, so it was nice to see a new spin on him. What hurts the fact that this character is included in this film, is the fact that they could not think of an original villain, as they did so well in 2009s Star Trek. Once this aspect is forgiven, you are able to immerse yourself in Cumberbatch's terrific performance and root for the Star Fleet Officers to take him down.
The Similarities and My Final Thoughts
Like the recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, audiences were able to see many fresh things put into an already well-established universe of films, while simultaneously borrowing story elements of the best films from the past. One thing that bothered me about this installment of Star Trek, was the constant feel of back-tracking. Sharing scenes with the original films, almost to the point of reading lines of dialogue verbatim (although role-reversed), it became slightly annoying in the fact that they could not come up with anything clever. Although this film does stand on its own as a great film, Star Trek Into Darkness is not without these glaring issues.
Overall, Star Trek Into Darkness is a very fun sequel. Although it borrows almost too many plot devices from the past, it is able to invent a few new ones along the way, making for a pure adrenaline blast on the big screen. With terrific performances all around (which is needed in a Star Trek film), there is not much to dislike here, unless you choose to nitpick flaws. I presume you will then find yourself hating this film. Filled with energy, fast-paced action sequences, clever dialogue, great character developing scenes, and a climax that I thought was spectacularly fun, this is a series that keeps on chugging along. I can't wait for this franchise to continue. I love this new cast.
Review By: KJ Proulx