Star Trek Into Darkness (****3/4)
Starfleet is at war
You go, Benedict Cumbo
More than meets the eye
DEFINITE SPOILERS AHEAD. You might not know this about me, but I'm a huge Star Trek fan.* I am also a huge fan of the 2009 Star Trek quasi-reboot. I went into Star Trek Into Darkness hoping for a similar experience ... and I didn't quite find what I was hoping for. I really, really liked it ... but upon first viewing, I'm not totally in love with it. (And that makes me sad.)
The movie centers on the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the same crew we met in Star Trek. When an explosion takes out a Starfleet building in London, the crew is thrust into a manhunt for John Harrison, a Starfleet intelligence officer responsible for the destruction. The manhunt takes the crew to Qo'noS (Kronos), the Klingon homeworld, where they capture Harrison, but quickly learn that appearances are not exactly what they seem.
For the first half or so of the film, I was totally on board. I love the cast—Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Karl Urban as Bones, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Checkov continue to excel in their roles. Benedict Cumberbatch plays an amazing villain; if you weren't a Cumberbatch fan prior to this movie, you will be. The sets and effects and action are all top notch. And yet ...
The second half was marred by the fact that we've spent months being told that John Harrison is a new character. SPOILER ALERT: He's not. He plays Khan Noonien Singh. His character is quite different from the Ricardo Montalban role, but he's Khan nonetheless. I suppose it's silly to allow this to effect my viewing, but it bothers me that time and time again we were told that he wasn't. Even though I assumed he was, when it was revealed, I was a little let down. There's keeping secrets (don't click that link if you haven't seen Iron Man 3 and don't want to be spoiled), and then there's taking the denial too far. The ending, which I won't reveal, was also a little too predictable, although I did enjoy the bit of Kirk/Spock canon reversal.
ALL OF THAT SAID—I really did enjoy the movie on the whole. (The revamp of the Klingons' look was especially badass.) I'd love to go see it again, to try and push through my annoyance over the whole Khan business so that I can just enjoy.
*You should know this about me.
P.S.—The Mister and I both wore Star Trek "uniform" shirts to the movie, and took a few photos in front of our Star Trek posters when we got home. They turned out sort of hazy, but cute, so I made a faux photo strip out of them: