Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“I request permission to go after him,” says James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) to Starfleet Command after an attack from within their own organization has left the fleet without many of their commanders and incredibly weak in director J.J. Abrams sequel to his 2009 summer blockbuster, Star Trek Into Darkness.
After disobeying orders on a mission and being demoted back to First Officer on board the Starship Enterprise, Kirk approaches head of Star Command Marcus (Peter Weller) to volunteer to go after a madman named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) after he single-handedly attacked and killed many of the chief officers of Starfleet. It’s a manhunt that will take Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise to a war-zone that could just ignite a full blown war with the Klingons. However, when Kirk and his crew finally catch up to Harrison and begin to learn all is not what it seems, it puts the entire crew of the Enterprise in terrible danger from more than just one enemy.
Visually stunning and jam-packed with fast action, Star Trek Into Darkness is a worthy sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the science fiction franchise. The cast is back, with Chris Pine once again portraying the young, reckless, never-by-the-book Captain Kirk who loves his crew and his ship more than anything in the galaxy and will do whatever it takes to save them from certain doom while trying to bring the terrorist Harrison to justice. Zachary Quinto returns as Chief Science Officer Spock but this time he seems a bit stiff and uncomfortable in the first half of the film in the role he made all his own four years ago.
The two scene-stealers and best performances in the movie are still by Karl Urban as Dr. Bones McCoy and Simon Pegg as Chief Engineer Scotty. Both know exactly how to play these characters and have strong chemistry with the rest of the cast. They’re also responsible for most of the greatly needed humor and laugh-out-loud moments in the film.
The other stand-out performance in Star Trek Into Darkness is by Benedict Cumberbatch (best known for playing Sherlock Holmes on British television) as the mysterious and extremely deadly Harrison. He conveys menace and intelligence wonderfully and owns every scene he’s in. He also has the best hand-to-hand combat scene in the film against…no, that might be giving too much away.
Director J.J. Abrams has outdone himself with the action scenes which are both striking and breathtaking with space battles, warp speed chases and Starships plummeting towards planets. It’s quite a ride and seeing it in 3D will add to the experience.
The only real flaw with the movie is with its constant taking and out-and-out copying plot points and scenes from one of the original Star Trek films (I won’t reveal which one because that would definitely be giving too much away). One scene near the end of the film is a line-by-line character switch copycat which instead of having its emotional impact on the audience is likely to generate laughs and groans from them instead. (That’s what happened at the screening this critic attended.)
Still, Star Trek Into Darkness is a science fiction, action-packed adventure that’s sure to have diehard Trek fans and newcomers to the franchise cheering and rooting for the Enterprise and her crew to save the day and the galaxy. It’s sure to be a warp speed good time.
Star Trek Into Darkness opened in theaters on May 16, 2013 and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
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