The first of JJ Abrams' Star Trek reboots came out in 2009, and we were told that because of the time change, everything that their lives could have become would be different or something to that effect. That gave the Abrams team a clean slate to do whatever they wanted to do with it. Some Trek fans are angry because Mr. Spock is very un Spock-like. Well, I think if I watched my planet get destroyed, I would be a very different person as well, especially since Spock is half human. Something traumatic happens, the emotional human side takes over. Same thing with Kirk, and having to grow up without a father. Its understandable.
I'm bringing this up because in 'Into Darkness,' the Spock character evolves even more toward the human side. Zachary Quinto owns the role in this movie. He was very believable, even without having to suspend dis belief.
Karl Urban stole the show as McCoy in the first one. perfected it in this one. Chris Pine's portrayal of Kirk was about the same as in the first film, as were Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, and Jon Cho as Sulu. Pretty good, but nothing spectacular, unlike Urban.
However, there was one character who shined in his role, and in my opinion is now right up there with Karl Urban. Simon Pegg hit the ball out of the park as Scotty in this movie.
Now, we come to the controversial character. Benedict Cumberbatch as villain, John Harrison, AKA You Know Who...I'll be discussing the plot later because I don't want to spoil this for anyone. For now, we'll just stick to the review. Cumberbatch played Khan VERY well. He was a MUCH better villain than the Romulan, Nero in the first film. He was brutal, and extremely intelligent. I guess casting a man who played Sherlock Holmes to play Khan was a great idea.
Peter Weller also plays a significant role in this movie. He plays Admiral Alexander Marcus, who also happens to be the father of Carol Marcus, played by Alice Eve. Speaking of Carol Marcus, the quick shot in the Into Darkness trailer of her in her undies is not what you think, and I will leave it at that.
The action is riveting, and the story is solid. Through the majority of the film, you don't know what is going to happen next, so it is not just a remake or even a re-imagining of Star Trek 2. However at the end, it gets a little predictable, and there are a couple scenes where you just want to smack Abrams upside the head, and ask "WHY?" But, even with the couple scenes that they could have/ should have done differently, it is still a good movie. Better than the first one, and better than ANY of the Next Generation films, although Star Trek 2 and Star Trek 6 are still the reigning champions as the best Star Trek movies.
If you're worried that this movie will spoil Star Trek 2 and TOS Space Seed episode, don't be. It is Star Trek, in its alternate universe, like was explained in the first film, as well as in this blog. The movie even explains how the clash with Khan is happening now as opposed to later as in ST2. Not literally, but it is explained, and when I watched it, I thought to myself "Oh okay, that makes sense."
There were a couple scenes that made me wonder what they were thinking when they made it. Nothing major, just a minor writing flaw. I'm specifically talking about the hand held communicators. I was always under the impression that they were for short range communications. Not in this movie, I guess.
The plot centers around the theory that power corrupts, and also deals with terrorism. Go see it. If you're an old school Trekkie, you'll enjoy it. If you are new to Trek, you might want to watch the Space Seed episode and Star Trek 2 before seeing it. The only reason I say that is because if you don't know the original story, you won't understand just how much of a bad guy Khan is, and you won't understand what is actually being said when a certain someone tells Spock about Khan.
I give it 3.5 of 5 stars. The only reason it isn't 4 out of 5 is because of those scenes toward the end that I mentioned. Still, I may go see it again.
Basically, Khan and his crew were found by Admiral Marcus. It doesn't say it in the movie, but I'm assuming that Marcus found the Botany Bay. Marcus is a leader in the underground Section 31 organization who wants Starfleet to be militarized, and wants to start a war with the Klingons. Using Khan's superior intellect, he and Khan construct a massive ship called the USS Vengeance, that is faster and more powerful than anything else known to the fleet. Khan is given the identity of John Harrison, and a Starfleet rank, but he quickly becomes a threat to Marcus. Marcus wants him dead.
Harrison then begins terrorist bombings, and Marcus decides after an attempt on his life that kills several officers, including Captain Pike to send Kirk and the Enterprise on a mission to eliminate Harrison. He equips the Enterprise with 72 long range photon torpedoes, and orders Kirk to find Harrison, and obliterate him, using the torpedoes. Scotty wants nothing to do with the torpedoes, and resigns.
The Enterprise warps off to the Klingon home world, Kronos where Harrison is. Harrison figures no one would follow him there. Shortly before they get to Kronos, the Enterprise's warp drive malfunctions, and they drop out of warp in Klingon space, exposed. We later find out that the engines were sabotaged. Kirk detects Harrison, and they go by shuttlecraft to capture him, rather than just opening fire...disobeying Marcus's order. After a showdown with Klingons, and aided by Harrison himself, Harrison is captured, and reveals his true identity. He tells Kirk that Marcus is trying to start a war, which firing on Kronos would have done. He also tells Kirk to examine the torpedoes. Kirk contacts Scotty, and gives him coordinates to check out. Coordinates that Khan gave to Kirk.
Inside each torpedo tube is a member of Khan's crew. If they had fired them, every one of the crew would have been killed, and no one would have known anything about them, which was what Marcus wanted.
Kirk contacts Marcus, and tells him that they captured Harrison.
Scotty goes to the coordinates, near Jupiter and finds the spacedock for the mega warship, Vengeance.
Marcus shows up with the Vengeance, and demands that Khan be handed over. Kirk refuses, and warps away. But, the Vengeance catches up easily, and opens fire on the Enterprise. They both come out of warp near Earth's moon. The Enterprise is severely damaged, and Marcus is about to destroy the Enterprise, but they suffer a power outage, and we learn that Scotty had sneaked aboard and sabotaged the Vengeance.
Kirk goes with Khan to the Vengeance to arrest Marcus, leaving Spock in control of the Enterprise. Spock contacts Spock Prime, and asks about Khan. Spock Prime tells Spock that he cannot tell him anything other than the fact that Khan was a very dangerous, intelligent, and evil man.
Kirk, Scotty and Khan get to the bridge to arrest Marcus, but Khan kills Marcus, and betrays Kirk. He beats up Kirk and Scotty, and contacts Spock to negotiate the photon torpedoes carrying his crew. Spock agrees, and they are beamed over. Khan then beams Scotty and Kirk back to the Enterprise, and opens fire on the ship. What he doesn't know is that Spock had the crew removed from the torpedoes, and armed one of them. It explodes, and both crippled ships start drifting toward Earth.
The Enterprise is dead, yet Kirk goes into a radiation flooded section to realign the warp core. Sound familiar? Its because it is. This scene is pretty much the exact same as ST2, except for who is on which side of the glass. Kirk gets the warp coil realigned, and the Enterprise flies back up into space just in the nick of time. Kirk dies, and as he dies, an emotional Spock tears up, gets angry, and yells...You guessed it. "KHAAAAANNNN!!!"
The Vengeance crashes into San Francisco, and Spock goes down to kill Khan. Earlier in the movie, McCoy had injected Khan's blood into a dead tribble, and it suddenly comes back to life. McCoy sends Uhura down to Earth to tell Spock that Khan must be taken alive. The fight is a stand off, until Uhura gets there and shoots him with a phaser. Spock then knocks him out. His blood is put into Kirk, and it brings him back to life. Khan and his crew are put into cold storage.
A year later, the Enterprise is repaired and ready to embark on the longest space mission to date. A 5 year mission to explore strange new worlds....
The Enterprise is rechristened, and Kirk gives the captain's creed speech, which talks about Starfleet's mission, and concludes with Space...The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise......