Star Trek Into Darkness Reviews
It may not quite reach the heights of the first movie, but this JJ Abrams directed sequel still has everything you loved about his original reboot, however this time supported by a much better villain in the form of Benedict Cumberbatch.
Most of the scrutiny from the film comes from its handling of the character, Spock, and the unnecessary hiding of him for the entire marketing campaign. While the ladder is a fair criticism, it doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the film. Though I can understand a particular third act plot choice that felt like a forced homage to 1982's The Wrath of Khan, this rendition of Khan is still well realized.
Most of the credit there should go to the relentless performance from Benedict Cumberbatch. Not as flashy nor as memorable as Ricardo Montalban's Khan, Cumberbatch is far more brutal and deceptive. Even on repeat viewing, I found myself captivated by every scene with Khan, especially those which also involved Kirk and/or Spock. There's something about the dialogue between them that feels vintage good vs evil while also presenting such a tremendous amount of gravitas as well.
J.J. Abrams is a genius filmmaker, but I don't think he gets enough credit for what he did with both his Trek films. The series was nearly dead before he came aboard and revamped and refreshed the entire idea of what a Trek film is. Even if it deviates from lore, 'Into Darkness' is a really well made film. The effects have never been better and the way Abrams seamlessly takes us from a CGI or green screen landscape into an integral one on one dialogue battle is very impressive.
Though not every key emotional moment feels earned in the third act, it's nice seeing all of the actors start to come into their own as the respected crew members of the Enterprise. Scotty has never been better, Sulu gets more than enough time to shine, Quinto brought a new layer to Spock not seen in 2009, and Chris Pine feels much more like an heir apparent to William Shatner than he did in the first entry. To me, it was much easier to care about the characters this time around.
With all this said, there's plenty that I wish the film did differently. The Khan reveal and 3rd act mishandle of the infamous moment are just some of the mishaps that could have been fixed. Or even the entire subplot with the Admirals daughter, but I digress. 'Into Darkness' is a far better film than it probably has a right to be with a fun and exciting direction from Abrams and lively performances from the good and bad side of the coin.
+Abrams directing style
+Great dialogue between Kirk, Khan, and Spock
-3rd act mishaps
It might be rehashing Wrath of Khan a bit but despite the flaws, Into Darkness is still visually stunning and has great action sequences.
Having seen this movie a few times now, I had to revise my review. It is a good movie and a lot of fun. It could have been perfect and as good the 2009 film (my #2 of all the Star Trek films) if not for a few things. Most of all they really messed up in the casting of Khan. I just can't get over the fact that he is absolutely nothing like the original in physical characteristics (completely white-washed). As any other new villain Benedict Cumberbatch would be great and everything would be fine, but not as Khan. There is no way to overlook the fact that the original Khan is of Indian decent (played by a spanish actor) and is now white as can be. I don't know what the film-makers were thinking. It mess up the whole timeline continuity and Khan who is one of the greatest movie villains of all time. There were also a couple minor plot holes that are a little bothersome, that I won't get in to. Despite the big missteps, the idea for the story as a whole and taking "The Wrath of Khan" and reversing the story for what amounts to "The Wrath of Khan Part 2" was pretty clever, but could have used a little more fleshing out. I am excited for the next movie, being that they are now on the 5 year mission. I like the movie a lot, just not my favorite for those few reasons.