Main cast: Chris Pine (Captain James T Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Commander Spock), Karl Urban (Dr Leonard “Bones” McCoy), Zoe Saldana (Lt Nyota Uhura), Simon Pegg (Lt Commander Montgomery Scott), John Cho (Lt Hikaru Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Ensign Pavel Chekov), Bruce Greenwood (Rear Admiral Christopher Pike), Alice Eve (Dr Carol Marcus), Benedict Cumberbatch (Khan), Peter Weller (Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus), and Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime)
Director: JJ Abrams
Was it only four years ago that JJ Abrams helped reboot Star Trek to critical acclaim as well as howls for Mr Abrams’s head by legions of angry fanboys? Star Trek: Into Darkness is a very loose adaptation of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, mostly because it features Khan as the villain here. Strangely enough, the fellow has been transformed into a very white guy…
There was some controversy about the “white washing” of Khan, but why people would want to see an Indian guy playing another villain in a generic Hollywood movie is beyond me. If Khan is a quality meaty role, then we’re talking. But he’s just a sneering villain.
So, the movie. Some time has passed since the last movie, mostly because people have been promoted and Chris Pine now sports some facial hair to look “older”. the uniform looks less shiny, and Spock seems to have a few more wrinkles on his face. Oh well, these people are still the same, though. Spock is still struggling with his emotion while Kirk is still incapable of thinking before he acts. Bones, Sulu, Scotty, Uhura, and Pavel all do their thing like they did in the previous movie, while Benedict Cumberbatch does a mean impersonation of Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy here. Oh, and the new girl, she’s generally around to sashay on screen and cast longing looks at Kirk. I guess someone in the studio decided that there isn’t enough of the sexy in this movie so some generic pretty girl has to be literally brought on board.
In this movie, Kirk and friends go even more full-out Mass Effect, with Alice Eve playing the Dr Liara T’Soni of the gang, as they go after Khan for daring to attack the higher-ups of the Starfleet Command and bombing a London archive. Wait, it’s a trap, because the bad guy is being pursued by another bad guy who is using Kirk (Kirk, after all, is often too stupid for words) to do his dirty work! What will happen next?
I hate to say this, but the plot of this movie blows chunks. It tries to distract me from the fact by throwing explosions and chases and near-death scenarios at me, but there’s no hiding the fact that the logic in this story is as thin as the air in space. For instance, what, there is no high-level security at the Starfleet Command, so much so that a big spacecraft can sneak by undetected? Worse, the glass panes are easily shattered by enemy fire! Despite several near-destructive run-ins with the enemies, USS Enterprise is still as durable as a wet noodle, and manual overrides are always needed during emergencies – and doing this require insane maneuvering, as if the architect of the spacecraft was designing a video game, a fact that is nicely spoofed by the movie Galaxy Quest.
Also, Khan starts out super-capable and near-indestructible, but he actually regresses as the story progresses, so much so that he ends up being defeated by Spock and Uhura, of all things. When you can lose to Spock’s magic fingers…
On the bright side, the homoerotic overtones between Kirk and Spock are completely off the charts. We are talking about Samwise and Frodo levels of the love that cannot be spoken here. Kirk has mellowed a bit here, but he is still that dumbass that acts before he thinks. Still, it’s easy to forgive him this time when he has so much mad chemistry with Spock. If I were Uhura, I’d start negotiating the movie rights to the Spock and Kirk home video, because that would be so hot.
Anyway, Star Trek: Into Darkness is a more action-packed movie compared to the previous one in this series, but it also boasts an even more stupid plot than ever. Watch this for some mindless and inoffensive entertainment, savor the love story that shall not be spoken between Kirk and Spock, and keep your expectations low.