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Star Trek: Into Darkness Review
By Darrin Jones / May 18

Ingredients: If you liked the characters from Star Trek (2009), the action and mystery of Mission: Impossible III, and the directing style of J.J. Abrams, then you will like this movie.

I’m returning to a written review for this one as a horrible space illness has robbed me of my voice for now. But a bad cold isn’t going to make me miss out on reviewing the long awaited sequel to the series reboot that J.J. Abrams started by in 2009. I’m happy to say that all the actors from the pervious installment reprise their roles again to continue going were they’ve already gone before. 

We open with Captain Kirk (as played by Chris Pine) being stripped of his command for violating the Federation’s Prime Directive while attempting to save Spock (as played by Zachary Quinto) on an alien planet. Kirk’s reprimand gets cut short when Federation installments are suddenly attacked by a renegade Federation agent, John Harrison (as played by Benedict Cumberbatch.) When Harrison’s attacks push Kirk too far, he takes back his starship in an attempt to exact revenge. But things turn out to be not so black and white; Kirk must unravel what’s really going on before the Federation is drawn into a war with their greatest foes, the Klingons.

Now as much as I liked the previous Star Trek film, I have to say this one embodies even more of what the Star Trek series meant to me. Political intrigue, misdirection, smart people acting smart, and good people putting their conscious first. Chris Pine gets more opportunity to show a wider array of emotions with the Kirk character. He’s not always confident that he’s doing the right thing, he does have to fight his own emotions when they’re leading him down the wrong path, and he does rely a lot on his own crew to keep him in check. And what a fantastic crew it was. Even though these characters have been developed for over a decade, it’s great how the cast make them their own. John Cho as Sulu and Zoe Saldana as Uhura are really taking the characters in a direction that I’m looking forward too. Simon Pegg as Scotty and Karl Urban as Bones steal their scenes and are quickly becoming fan favorites. Really, the only performance that stood out to me as not so good is Zachary Quinto. It felt like the Spock character took a step backward in some regards, playing up the controlled emotions angle too much and the expense of the quiet snark that he had in the previous film.

But who best to act opposite of all these personalities then Benedict Cumberbatch. His character was a superb mash-up of intense emotion and menacing intellect. And this also leads up to one fantastic surprise. A surprise that I am about to give away here. Right here. Right now. Robocop’s in the movie! Well, more accurately, Peter Weller as Admiral Marcus. I’ve always had a soft-spot in my heart for Peter Weller so it was fun to see him here too.

As a sequel, the movie holds up very well. It flows nicely from one film to the next picking up the story only a few years after the first. It still has plenty of action and the ever classic, “I’m running down the hallway because I have something important to say!” Seriously, make a drinking game out of it, see what happens. However, the movie is light on ship-on-ship firefights. Coming from the high-flying, epic photon-torpedo-explosion fest of the previous film, it feels like a step down. But that is only a minor complaint and easily over looked.

I wholeheartedly recommend seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness. It’s fun, fast, with a great story and classic characters. While I was not entirely sure about the reboot before, this film cemented it for me. I like the direction it's going and I hope it will continue even after Abrams moves on to other projects. Although, I would recommend against seeing it in 3D. Most scenes look nice but there are a few annoying elements. (Psst, it’s the lens-flares.)

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