Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Critics Consensus

Considered by many fans to be the best of the Star Trek movies, Khan features a strong plot, increased tension, and a sharp supporting performance from Ricardo Montalban.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 53

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 85,338
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Movie Info

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is fondly regarded as being the closest in spirit to the 1966-69 TV series that spawned it. Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) escapes the tedium of a desk job to join Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley) on another space mission. While boldly going where no man etc. etc., Kirk crosses the path of his old enemy Khan (Ricardo Montalban), who as any die-hard Trekker can tell you, was the chief antagonist in the 1966 Trek TV episode "Space Seed." Leading a crew of near-savage space prisoners, Khan insinuates himself into the Genesis Project, which is designed to introduce living organisms on long-dead planets. Intending to harness this program for his own despotic purposes, Khan engages in battle with the Enterprise crew. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Cast

William Shatner
as James T. Kirk
DeForest Kelley
as Dr. McCoy
Bibi Besch
as Dr. Carol Marcus
Merritt Butrick
as Dr. David Marcus
Paul Winfield
as Capt. Clark Terrell
Paul Kent
as Beach
Judson Earney Scott
as Joachim (uncredited)
Teresa E. Victor
as Bridge Voice
Dianne Harper
as Radio Voice
Joel Marston
as Crew Chief
David Ruprecht
as Radio Voice
Bill Baker
as Starfleet Cadet
Brian Davis
as Starfleet Cadet
Ree Kai
as Starfleet Cadet
Kim Ryusaki
as Starfleet Cadet
Sergio Valentino
as Starfleet Cadet
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Critic Reviews for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (10)

  • Director Nicholas Meyer handles the human factor as deftly as the space hardware.

    Oct 22, 2018 | Full Review…
  • A brisk, handsomely designed film in which its hardware, sturdy as it is, never overwhelms its humanity.

    Sep 7, 2016 | Full Review…
  • There is something comfortable, even old-shoeish, about the new film, a sense, appropriate to its theme of coming to terms with middle age, that all aboard are pleasurably rediscovering their best selves.

    May 3, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Star Trek II is a very satisfying space adventure, closer in spirit and format to the popular TV series than to its big-budget predecessor.

    May 19, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • If only director Nicholas Meyer had grasped the implications of his tale more fully and enthusiastically, this might have become a classic piece of cornball SF poetry, but as it stands the tepid acting and one-set claustrophobia take a heavy toll.

    Jun 5, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The net effect, between embarrassed guffaws, is incredulity: a movie at once post-TV and pre-DW Griffith.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Paul Taylor

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

  • Jun 22, 2016
    Arguably the high point for the original cast's film franchise. Shatner shows true vulnerability as Kirk in this film and Ricardo Montalban cements his place as one of the best portrayed villains in film as Khan. The result of the film is not seen coming and you wonder how the crew will bounce back in the inevitable next film.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 09, 2016
    Sequels are supposed to take what was great about the first outing and expand on it while also improving upon the mishaps as well. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is better than the first film in almost every aspect. I took issue with the pacing, overuse of special effects, length, and the lack of a present villain in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This film wipes away silly and unnecessary special effects and gives us an intriguing story with characters who we understand and care about. It's also a solid 30 minutes shorter without cutting out anything that would hurt the story. I was thoroughly impressed by this sequel even 30 years after its release. We open the film as the enterprise seemingly has a new captain in Kirstie Alley's Saavik, only to find out its a training exercise put together by Spock and Admiral Kirk. I was worried they may rehash the same story line as the first film as Kirk seemed to hint that he may be done with the Enterprise, only to run into an old foe in Khan. Even though I have seen bits and pieces of the original series and had been somewhat familiar with Khan as a villain, I didn't know to the extent to which him and Kirk were linked. I was glad to see viewing of his appearance in the TV series wasn't entirely necessary as they explained enough in the 103 minute run-time. Khan has become somewhat of a pop culture icon over the years, so I had my fair share of expectations going in. Ricardo Montalban's performance and the writing didn't let me down. So much so that you understand where Khan is coming from when he wants Project Genesis from the crew and wants revenge for what Kirk did. In many ways, he was Kirk's arch nemesis and proved to come through with a lot of what he swore to do to Kirk. My only gripe with him as a villain was that I feel like we were missing an in person interaction with Kirk himself. Speaking through a video screen inside the Enterprise isn't enough, you need that human interaction. With that said, The Wrath of Khan has the emotional layers and character depths that the first film was lacking. All of the original dynamics of the ship are there, plus some new and enjoyable ones as well. Plus, it doesn't take 45 minutes for things to get going, the pacing is much improved. James Horner's haunting score also sets the tone immediately from the opening scene, all the way through the bittersweet ending. Overall, everything feels bigger and better with The Wrath of Khan. Having seen the new Trek films, I think this can rank up there with them as some of the best outings the Enterprise crew has ever had. +Fantastic score +Emotionally layered +Special effects & pacing much improved +Very good villain -Although Khan was missing the human interaction with Kirk 8.6/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Jun 08, 2013
    And this is coming from an adamant "definitely not a fan" of the original series.
    Kevin C Super Reviewer
  • May 17, 2013
    This is the second movie in all of the "Star Trek" movies, and it's considered the best(I've only seen this and the first one). This is miles better than the first movie, and really showcases a great story, with great characters. A guy I work with recommended I watch an old episode called "Space Seed" first. It's not mandatory, but it's a great thing to do, because it gives a great set up, and you get to see why Khan and Kirk hate each other. The effects are very dated, and the acting is just awesome. Awesome, because it's all overacted, which for a movie like this works well. When Kirk yells Khan, it's just awesome. I like the Abrams movies better, but this makes me want to continue with the old movies to see where it all goes. Good movie that's still good 30 years later.
    Everett J Super Reviewer

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