In a market saturated with bad remakes and shoddy sequels, J.J Abrams’s Star Trek Into Darkness is a welcome distraction that not only lives up to the franchise’s first outing but actually does one better.
Abrams has confessed that he was a bit nervous about becoming the director on this reboot of the classic TV series, admitting that he was never a big Star Trek fan when he was a kid. Perhaps that distance from the legacy is what makes the films so good, with Abrams creating brand new versions of the legendary cast that are accessible to everyone. For those who are nervous of Star Trek, this is not a sci-fi film. This is a good, old-fashioned action adventure that just happens to be set in deep space.
Star Trek Into Darkness picks up from where the first film left off and continues to focus on the growing bromance between Kirk (Chris Pine) and half-Vulcan pal Spock (Zachary Quinto). Kirk is the commanding officer of the Enterprise and with Spock, Bones (Karl Urban) and the rest gang alongside of him, they are doing what they do best, exploring alien planets.
However the Star Fleet soon comes under heavy fire from new villain John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) who draws the USS Enterprise out to the limits of its safety in order to bring this savage terrorist to justice.
And that’s all that can really be said without giving too much away! Spoilers are everywhere in this film and the action is palm-sweatingly good. Like the first film, the script has the perfect balance of brilliant high-octane action, comedy and mystery. It is in fact more like a thriller, with a plot that constantly delights by twisting and turning. At every moment there is a challenge to be met and a problem to overcome, providing you with some great edge-of-your-seat viewing.
There has been a lot of hype about Sherlock icon Benedict Cumberbatch joining the cast for this film and naturally he does not disappoint. In fact, Cumberbatch is a joy to watch, prowling about like some kind of intergalactic Hannibal Lecter. He has all of the menace and intensity that is required to make a truly great villain but also the more sympathetic side that makes a legend of the screen. It is the power plays that add all of the spice to Star Trek Into Darkness, with Harrison and Kirk both struggling to come out on top.
However despite a marvellous turn as Harrison, the film belongs in its entirety to Chris Pine who steals the show out from under everyone else’s feet. It is almost like Pine knew Cumberbatch was going to be great so dialled up his performance to the max delivering a real tour de force performance. Playing off of Quinto’s wide eyed Vulcan confusion, Pine transforms Kirk into a heroic underdog creating an intensity that (dare it be said) William Shatner just could never achieve.
Star Trek Into Darkness has its problems though. Alice Eve delivers a lacklustre performance as Dr Carol Marcus, who provides the sex factor in the film by randomly stripping off at one point, and despite her acting prowess Zoe Saldana as Uhura feels somewhat bland. This is however not the fault of the actresses it seems but a problem with the script. It is a real shame the writers did not give the girls more of a chance to stand up and show us what they’ve got. Also the emotional heart of the film is not as strong as it could be. With all of the fast pace action, the character’s stories get a bit lost and certain dramatic moments just fall a bit flat.
But does this matter? No! Star Trek Into Darkness is a brilliant blast of a film with some dazzling performances and a new iconic baddie. Here’s hoping Abrams is here to stay on the franchise as with him at the helm, Star Trek is set to stay on warp speed.