Before our screening of Star Trek: Into Darkness, the Arclight usher said to us the above dialogue verbatim. It did not exactly fill me with hope, but it did set my expectations.
The movie was entertaining and well produced in the way I expected a J.J. Abrams movie to be. The cast is still good and fun to watch and of course Benedict Cumberbatch was awesome ’cause well, he’s Benedict Cumberbatch. But I left the movie rather disappointed for a number of reasons.
I went in sort of knowing that Benedict Cumberbatch was going to be Khan even though they’ve been flat out denying it so it wasn’t a terribly big surprise. I was pretty okay with that, but the way they decided to be “clever” by paralleling “The Wrath of Khan” but reversing situations I found to be so amazingly pandering and lazy that it was impossible to take seriously. It was pretty dumb once I saw where it was going and then it was REALLY dumb when Spock yells KHAAAAAAANNNNN!!! Then he goes on a Tom Cruise Mission Impossible style chase and Khan’s magic blood resurrects Kirk from death.
I’m not disappointed that they’ve “ruined” Star Trek or anything like that. These movies are their own thing and the old TV shows and movies still exist. Yes there will be people who think that Star Trek is all about dumb action set pieces because young people who have not seen the series exist. There’s nothing I can do about that and I don’t consider it worth the effort to rage over something like that.
The reason that I’m disappointed is that this film had a real opportunity to say “Hey, we’re a totally different alternate universe Star Trek, let’s be bold and just do some crazy stuff!” Like what if Scotty resigned and never came back to Starfleet? Or what if Kirk actually died? That’d be pretty freakin’ ballsy and I think exciting. But no, they decided to ape Wrath of Khan and then LOWER the stakes with an easy way to make everything nice and wrapped up in a neat bow at the end.
Something I’ve seen in reviews which I agree with is that the third movie might be what I wanted now that they’ve basically run out of the meat of Star Trek that they can reference. At least, the meat that popular culture would recognize. Because all the other movies were either forgettable, silly or just embarrassing. I’m curious to see where they go next.
So I enjoyed about 50-75% of the film, did not outright hate it, but can’t imagine I’ll ever feel the need to see it again.