Star Trek Into Darkness Reviews
We kick off admittedly with a very nice looking yet clear [i]Indy[/i] rip, all that was missing was a giant rolling boulder. Instantly you can see this film is gonna be a treat visually, modern films have gotten to a point now where they do (can) look extremely polished and slick, and this film is easily top of its game in the effects department, its beautiful. I do especially love futuristic London and the look of future Earth in general, so much detail, so much going on, the newer Star Wars trilogy pales in comparison. I could of course mention the immense use of lens flare but I think everyone knows that now and it merely blends into the background, some looking very nice.
Lets get down n dirty here, the plot, the main issue of the film is the badly written, disjointed, confusing plot which makes no sense. I'm still not sure what exactly was the point of half of it. Marcus finds Khan and his crew floating around in space I believe, but where exactly? why was Khan in suspended animation in the first place? whose ship was he on? etc...nothing given away there. Now I think about it once Khan was discovered how did anyone know he and his mates were genetically-engineered superhumans? and why awake just one? Anyhow Marcus wants Khan to develop advanced technology and weapons...but the guy is 300 years old, surely he's gonna be slightly out of touch with modern day tech? right?? guess not.
My point is does this new movie follow on from the original Star Trek episode 'Space Seed' as did 'Wrath of Khan'? Did that happen in this rebooted alternate timeline? if so then fine, most of my questions are answered. If not then there are some mighty plot holes here...or we would need to see that alternate version of 'Space Seed'.
There doesn't appear to be any real goals or reasons for anyone in this film, Marcus wants Khan to create new advanced gear and then...? start a war with the Klingon's, why? He intends to start this war by getting Kirk to fight missiles at Khan who is hiding in an uninhabited area of the Klingon homeworld, but how did he know Khan would hide there? what if he hid on another world? Why exactly are Khan's crew stuffed in these missiles?? risky place to smuggle them isn't it?...well isn't it?! And no one suspects the fact there are 72 missiles exactly, not maybe 10 or 20 but 72! odd high number isn't it? well isn't it?!
The character story arcs are just all over the place with little sense or connection, its all so vague. The only reason Khan doesn't set off the bomb in London by himself at the start is so they could introduce his super blood into the plot. There is no other reason for that entire sequence with the black man and his daughter. Oh and an exploding ring? eh? wut?? On the subject of Khan's super blood why does everyone tear around trying to get his blood, why not use some of the blood from his crew? surely theirs is super too, isn't it?
On the subject of Khan I really must say I don't understand what the fuss was about with Cumberbatch. Now I'm not saying the guy did a bad job, not at all, but as far as I'm concerned his performance on the whole was just very average, his entire range boiled down to over pronunciation of his words. As a character he wasn't particularly interesting either, a very bland generic looking bad guy (or was he? he just wanted to save his crew) who blended into the background, accept when he's killing everyone like an unstoppable superhero (Khan never did that in the original second Trek film).
I also think Cumberbatch is miscast in the role frankly, he's so dull looking, so uniform, that it destroys the character of Khan. There is nothing special about the guy anymore, no flair, no razzle dazzle, its just a bog standard looking white guy. Why didn't they cast a man from South Asia or at least someone with a clear ethnic background. Old Spock calls him by his full name in the film, Khan Noonien Singh, but he's white!! clearly white British with a British accent for Pete's sake.
And while I'm on the subject what exactly is Khan's game? save his crew...check, errrr...and then? What is his goal? old Spock reckons to kill everyone inferior to himself, but Khan never says that I believe, I don't think we ever get told what he actually wants to do...after saving his crew.
On the whole there is so much badly written plot in here it just ruins whatever it was they were trying for...and I'm not sure what really. Khan's super blood cures death and they have him captured so that means no one will ever die in this universe now? there is a cure for most death related injuries and a good supply of blood if they can keep Khan alive. As said old Spock turns up AGAIN!, whenever they are really in the shit he just pops up and tells them everything they need to know almost like a videogame cheat. Yet how the hell does he manage to get in contact with them? its like some kind of Jedi trick. There also seems to be interplanetary transporters now...sooooo doesn't that do away with the need for spaceships? oh and cold fusion doesn't...ah who cares.
The idea of a cure for death brings me to the death of Spock in the classic film. That was a shockwave for everybody at the time, I don't think people saw it coming, no one really knew if he was gonna come back, could he come back? was that it for the lovable legendary Spock? In this film we see Kirk get killed in a silly play on that iconic sequence. The difference is we know for a fact he won't really be dead because he is the main flipping character and we've only been given two films in the new reboot franchise, so of course he will come back. This makes the entire scene completely devoid of any emotion, in fact its pretty pointless, utter fail of a scene.
That of course in turn leads me to mention the iconic [i]'KHAAANNNN!'[/i] moment. We all know of the classic version of course but what of this regurgitated version? Well its kinda silly really, the fact is these two guys have only known each other for a relatively short period of time (two films), so again the emotions don't really bubble much when Spock blubbers over Kirk, zero emotions in fact. Plus of course as I just mentioned we all know that Kirk will definitely be back from the dead somehow (oh wait, where did they find a Tribble?) so the whole thing is just plain dumb. These moments are in the new film purely to get the hardcore old school Trekkies wet and a rather weak attempt to be clever simply by reversing stuff when in fact its more of an insult to the 82 film. Spock died in the original so lets make Kirk die here, Kirk screams out Khan so lets...you get the drift, genius writing huh.
I feel bad giving this a poor write up because there are elements in this I like, loved the new look Klingons and their Predator-like masks, nicely aggressive and intimidating and I enjoyed the space jump sequence. The main problem is this isn't a Star Trek film, its not a proper Trekkie flick, its merely a generic action flick set in space that just happens to be the Star Trek universe. You could quite easily replace the Star Trek crew with John McClane and call it a Die Hard film. Long gone are the slow moving, character based genuine science fiction Trek films, its all shooting, death, explosions and the obligatory destruction porn which seems to be a complete requirement these days.
As a stand alone film the first Trek reboot was a fine film, this sequel is simply loud messy action folly with lavish visuals. There isn't really much I can recommend here if you're a true Star Trek fan, regular film goers may enjoy it of course but that's only because this isn't proper Star Trek (which is what they were aiming for). All I can say is I really hope they don't try and reuse more of the classic films, why not try and make you're own classic cinematic moments instead of copying some one else's. A reasonably entertaining watch no doubt but hardly memorable or groundbreaking, wholly average, very lazy, very jumbled, half a mark up for visuals.
As a continuation/reimaging of Gene Roddenberry's inventive but badly dated 1960s TV show, "Into Darkness" does a fairly poor job. Whereas the original series was idea rich but lacked the budget to achieve the verisimilitude of its ambitions, the Abrams reboot has the resources to fabricate a dazzlingly complete future world but has all the complexity of 90s superhero comic. Roddenberry's ethical utopia has been hallowed out to serve as set dressing for an unremarkable hero's journey narrative. Complex moral ruminations and slow burn tension have been replaced with simplistic revenge arcs and precisely applied action movie timing. Though Abrams is a good enough action craftsmen to make emptiness apparent only after the credits roll, he clearly made the film because he wanted to stage some impressive spaceship battles. Of course Roddenberry's series had their fair share of gratuitous fight scenes and silly space monsters, but the phaser duels and shirtless fist fights were a last resort not The Good Part. Simplicity isn't the film's biggest problem, repetitiveness is.
It's almost admirable audacious that Abrams and his writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof spent $190 making a tribute to 2009's "Star Trek." The film splits its focus between Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), who again learns to temper his arrogance with adult responsibility and Spock (Zachary Quinto), who again learns to balance his cold rationality with human warmth. Again the crew of the Enterprise must battle a vengeful man out of time (Benedict Cumberbatch) who commands a massive and overpowered starship. The death of a loved one is a motivating factor. Skydiving is used in a central set piece. Leonard Nimoy is on hand to offer critical advice. Egregiously, the film often pauses to remind the viewer that yes; they have in fact seen all this before. The thing only thing three of most high-profile screenwriters in Hollywood used to differentiate this film from its predecessor are the addition of Alice Eve's character, who exists only to dispense exposition and titillate the male audience and a half-hearted suggestion that the events of the last film have made Starfleet more militaristic, concepts rendered with such thorough triteness that it's hard to believe one screenwriter was involved let alone three.
Those other recycled elements pale in comparison to the films biggest reference, the presence of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan's" titular villain. In the film, Peter Weller's Admiral Marcus takes Cumberbatch's superhuman out of suspended animation to build advanced weapons for what he believes to be an inevitable war with the aggressively expansive Klingons but Khan turns on him and attacks Earth with the very warship Marcus commissioned. Though Marcus would be a more thematically resonate villain, he's ultimately an easily duped stooge. The villain is not a manifestation of post-9/11 fears about the government abandoning its supposed values in pursuit of greater security but a self-interested third-party who has no real stake in the film's ideological conflict. A similar setup worked well in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" because Batman's existential struggle against the Joker was a clearly defined structure versus anarchy dichotomy whereas Kirk wants to get Khan because he killed his father figure. The film wants to have it both ways by pitting its heroes against a traditional external evil and more insidious internal one but it fails in the execution of both. So why did the filmmakers include a character who fit in so poorly with their ambitions? Because the fans wanted Khan.
That steadfast rejection of innovation will be Abrams' "Star Trek" legacy. At every point where he could have blazed a new trail in Roddenberry's wide and diverse universe, Abrams chose the safest and most conservative path possible even though his 2009 film worked so strenuously to assert its independence from the established canon. "Into Darkness" makes it abundantly clear why Disney chose Abrams to helm the first of their "Star Wars" films, no other director could be counted on to update a beloved property for a modern audience with only most superficial of cosmetic changes. There's absolutely no danger than "Episode VII" will dip into the meandering philosophizing that plagued the "Star Wars" prequels because Abrams' guiding philosophy is bright-eyed, breathless artifice. His meticulously designed form holds no content. In this way, he is the preeminent auteur of our time.
I admire the brain of "Star Trek" - a duel between logic and emotion - but the Kirk's and Spock's role reversal is a bit easy and expected.
And to ride on the coattails of a recent celebrity name game, "I wanna Benedict all over your Cumberbatch."
Star Trek has always held a special place for me among the rest of its science fiction peers, and as a result I expect more than cool special effects, predictable but fast-paced chase scenes, and lightning phaser battles. It is a credit to J.J. Abrams's obvious love for the source material that this film delivers on all levels. Yes, there are the requisite action sequences, but what is more interesting is the battle between emotion and logic. "Which is infused with more humanity?" the film asks, and while these are familiar footsteps for Trek fans, the reversal of fortune that Kirk and Spock undergo breathes new life into the film's moral quandaries. Also, Khan has always been the best Trek film villain, and Benedict Cumberbatch is appropriately ruthless, snarling, and - at times - cold.
The plot staggers when it under-utiliizes whatever is going on between Spock and Uhura, a love triangle that is so poorly developed that I wondered if it were a story stopping by on its way to its own film. And Bones is more annoying than his predecessor, like a lost neighborhood kid looking in on the guy love between Kirk and Spock, hoping to be included. In the film's defense, there is only so much they could fit in to the two hours.
Overall, this is a strong addition to one of the best science fiction franchises.
Fans of the original series will once again be disappointed with the abandonment of philosophical debate and poise of the original but I suppose this is a fine example that, source material doesn't always have to dictate a re-imagining but still respect it.
The plot does come off a little convoluted, to the point where a lot of moments were of prosaic drama & exposition as characters stood around throwing dialogue at each other.
But hey, the content is solid despite the mishandled presentation. With a strong performance from the overall cast accompanied by stellar visuals/action the whole film still manages to come together and make for an enjoyable watch.
It doesn't break ground in any way but as a polished piece of Sci Fi entertainment it hardly fails either.