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J.J. Abrams continues to ineffectively cloak his movies with lackluster secrets and an overabundance of lens flares, but he can still create fantastic action sequences that will keep your attention. Star Trek Into Darkness marks the second time we see the S.S. Enterprise and its crew together in action, but in some ways plays as if the lessons of the first movie didn’t happen at all as they’re faced with a powerful new villain. The sci-fi movie may engage audiences with its heavy CG action scenes but its story falls apart as we edge closer towards the bulk of the main story.

The Players:

Synopsis:

The crew of the Enterprise has settled back down on Earth only to be faced with Starfleet’s most powerful villain yet. A terrorist within the organization is wreaking all sorts of havoc on the group and on innocent lives across the world. Captain Kirk (Pines) is set to go on a manhunt in a war-zone in order to apprehend the terrorist, only to be caught up in a deadly scheme.

The Good:

  • Action On Top Of Action: The 2009 Star Trek was entertaining to a degree but a bit stretched out when it came to the grand action scenes. This time around the action feels tighter, and more engaging than before. It’s probably due to a combination of killer CG effects mixed with tighter editing. You’re still able to enjoy the adventure all the same but it helps make the movie feel like it’s moving along a lot faster, which you would want in an epic sci-fi adventure of this magnitude.
  • Love For Giacchino: Michael Giacchino is one of the very few composers out there who produces beautiful scores consistently. He kills it again with Star Trek Into Darkness as he integrates his style within the first movie and still creates new music that accentuates the story to a more heightened degree. Simply put, Giacchino knows how to make any movie sound fantastic, even if it’s not the greatest thing ever.
  • Scotty & Bones: Simon Pegg and Karl Urban really steal the show here. They both are able to snag some of the best lines and in some ways are a bit more interesting than Kirk and Spock. Then again, Kirk and Spock’s whole story line is painfully predictable so at least the film has characters like these two to get our minds off of it if just for a second.
  • Benedict: The British actor has been in a number of big movies for over a decade now (War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)  but hasn’t gotten the opportunity to really shine up until this point. While the big reveal of his character isn’t that shocking, his performance as the menacing and crazy powerful threat is excellent. He’s intimidating, cunning and his over abundance of confidence is oozing out of him in each scene.

The Decent:

  • Most Of Our Story: The majority of the story is laid out very neatly. We’re introduced to our characters, our main problem is exposed to them all and then they take action in order to save the day, while discovering new things about the situation around them at the same time. What the story is missing is the form of connection that we had with Kirk, Spock and the others in the first movie. We’re going through the steps of a general adventure, laying out the general personalities of each character, but any sort of development when it comes to any relationship is thrown by the wayside in order to advance the predictable plot having to deal with betrayal within Starfleet. The writers spare us with a couple of very brief moments between Kirk and Spock, showing their complicated friendship, but it feels like a repeat of what we’ve seen before in the first Star Trek movie. Furthermore, Kirk’s actions in this movie don’t entirely make sense. He went through a large character arc in the first film that changed him from the rogue to a team player. Now we find him bending the rules all over again in order to protect the ones he loves, as if none of the events from Star Trek happened in the first place. The same can be said with Spock who still continues to struggle with his half-Vulcan, half-human heritage. Did they just essentially reboot the character stories just to add some story filler for Star Trek Into Darkness? Apparently so.

The Bad:

  • The Climax: Star Trek Into Darkness was well on its way to be a fine summer popcorn flick until the last thirty minutes were shown onscreen. What we got was the writers/filmmakers reaching back into previous Star Trek movies, picking apart some of the more iconic scenes and characters that worked back then, and squishing it all together with a more updated setting. Instead what we got was a bit of a mess that involved some elements of Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and just bland storytelling that eventually gets wrapped up in a happy little conclusion bow. Even the writers seemed a little uninterested in the first big story twist that they had and used one of the main villains to essentially extract what wasn’t working. Just like Zachary Quinto’s delivery of one of Star Trek‘s most memorable likes, the last thirty minutes are embarrassing to sit and watch.

Overall:

Star Trek Into Darkness relies too heavily on the stereotypical J.J. Abrams mystery box BS, which ultimately sinks the whole film.

Rating: 5/10

Star Trek Into Darkness is out in theaters now, presented in 2D and 3D.

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Trailer: