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“Star Trek Into Darkness” Review

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After a long, long wait, Star Trek Into Darkness has finally hit screens.

I’ve never been all that big on the space-faring franchise, but I managed to catch episodes of the various incarnations on TV here and there, and I never outright hated them. There’s even a possibility I enjoyed them, but who’s to say really – I was usually drunk.

For some reason, back when the original reboot came out in 2009, I really enjoyed it. There was a good mix of action and character development, all at a zany, breakneck speed that really worked for me.

This time around, we’ve got Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), etc. chasing down a homegrown terrorist (Benedict Cumberbatch).

The immortal relationship between Kirk and Spock makes up the backbone of the movie, of course. While the first film gave us just a taste of where those two would end up, this time around we really see that partnership fall into place.

The rest of the crew from the original series all make appearances as well. Director J.J. Abrams shows once again how good he is at juggling a main cast of seven actors. They’re better utilized this time around, too. Uhura and Scotty (Simon Pegg) especially take up a lot more screen time than they did the first time around, and it’s nice to see their characters get a helluva lot more to do.

Anton Yelchin and John Cho (as Chekov and Sulu, respectively) don’t get nearly as much to do, but they get job upgrades early on that ensure they’re essential to the plot. Sulu even gets a short turn as captain, a job that seems to be a game of musical chairs in the rebooted series.

While the good guys are well-handled, I was surprised to find the antagonists lacking. One of the things I found most frustrating about the first movie was the weak villain, which manages to be the case for a second time. Into Darkness has Cumberbatch, who I expected a lot more from based on the promotional material that’s been making its rounds on the internet. That’s not to say his performance is bad (as per usual, it’s great). He just gets a lot less screen-time than I anticipated and his motivations are reduced to a couple throwaway lines and a single, glittering tear.

Despite the lack of a strong villain (just one person’s opinion – most of the internet seems to disagree), the battles between good and evil take place on several very different and imaginative worlds.

Whether it’s grungy, war-torn planets, primitive tropical ones, or our home world hundreds of years from now, you can ensure that the production team will create something very eye-catching (and mostly aesthetically-pleasing).

On the technical side of things, the lens flares seem to be less noticeable this time around. Although, since I didn’t notice them during the first movie, I may not be the best judge – I just hope to god it’s the case, because I can’t go through another four years of lens flare “jokes” before the third installment.

(I used quotes because there’s only so many times a man can hear the same uninspired joke over and over before he threatens people with sharp objects.)

Lens flare questions aside, I think we’ve got a pretty good popcorn flick on our hands. The characters are handled well, the action is plentiful, and the world building is all very imaginative. This sequel definitely has gotten me pumped for a threequel. Bring on the waiting.

four_half-stars_0

  • Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Alice Eve
  • Directed by: J.J. Abrams
  • Running Time: 2 hrs. 13 min.
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi