Ror Reviews: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (IMAX 3D)

I think it's fair to say J.J. Abrams' first Star Trek surprised us all with just how great it turned out to be, so there was definitely pressure on him to deliver with this highly anticipated sequel. Does he pull it off? Click for my take..

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By Mark "RorMachine" Cassidy - 5/8/2013
I always try my best to avoid spoilers but I do reveal something about the film towards the end of the review. I'll give you plenty of notice beforehand though so feel free to keep reading till you hit the SPOILER WARNING!

Star Trek Into Darkness is a bit of a misnomer. Although J.J Abrams' follow up to his excellent 2009 reboot does have its grim moments, for the most part it's actually a pretty light, fun affair. The difference between this and other recent movies that rely too heavily on humor though is that Abrams balances things out very well -- when things get serious there is real tension, and as a result the comedic elements act as levity instead of taking over the tone of the film completely.



Right from the get-go all of this is evident in an incredibly exciting chase sequence involving Kirk and McCoy attempting to escape from a hostile planet, and rescue Spock from a volcano while they're at it. It's one of the better pre-credit scenes we've had in quite some time, and sets up the rest of the movie brilliantly. The story is pretty straight forward: Bad guy kills a bunch of people, Kirk and his crew set out to bring him to justice. Now there are a few twists and turns along the way (more on that later) but basically that's yer lot. Trek fans hoping for more of a cerebral tale this time around might be disappointed, but there is so much spectacularly executed action and visual mastery (yes, lens flares and all) on display here that it's hard to feel too hard done by -- although even I must admit that it might be a good idea to slow things down and give us a bit more to think about if we get a third film.

The returning cast are all on top of their game, with -- thankfully -- Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto once again the standouts as Kirk and Spock. When we first rejoin them, these two haven't actually progressed that much as characters since the last movie. There is a new-found respect, but the events of Into Darkness are what really cements their friendship. Zoe Saldana is solid as Uhura, this time getting to flex her action chops and Karl Urban again threatens to steal the show as Dr. "Bones" McCoy. It's a shame he doesn't get a bit more to do, but unfortunately with such a large cast that was always going to be an issue (the real casualties are Jon Cho and Anton Yelchin as Sulu and Chekov) and we even have some -- arguably unnecessary -- additions this time.

Alice Eve is a more than capable actress and does her best with the role, but her character Carol Marcus is pretty pointless beyond some eye candy for Kirk (and Bones) to flirt with. She's involved in a couple of great scenes to be fair, but one can't help but feel leaving her out and focusing more time on some of the crew members we already know and like would have been a better idea. One new addition who is most definitely not superfluous though is Benedict Cumberbatch's John Harrison. There is a slight bit of scenery chewing going on it must be said, but he's too good an actor to ever allow it to go too far, and he emerges as a complex and pretty damn terrifying villain.

So, any problems? Yep..

SPOILERS AHEAD


I'm not going to go too deep into spoiler territory as far as what actually happens with the characters etc, but basically Abrams and his writers take a page (or 10) out of the Wrath Of Khan playbook for their final act. I don't have a problem with this in theory, but the issues arise from the fact that we had not only a full movie to explain the story behind Khan and his people with Star Trek 2, but the Original Series episode "Space Seed" to set things up too. Here everything is crammed into one scene between Kirk and "Harrison" as the latter hisses the big reveal in a very forced seeming moment. A last-minute plot point involving Harrison's blood brings us very close to deus ex machina territory too. I guess I just think that if you're going to borrow from the best, you better make sure that you at least match up to it, and Abrams' attempt to replicate (imo) one of the greatest endings in not only Star Trek, but film history just doesn't quite cut it.

SPOILERS END


All that being said though, the film does pack an emotional wallop -- although some may think the very end is a bit of a cop-out, overall it works well enough. Not without some flaws, but pretty great sequel all-in-all, boasting terrific performances and the stunning visuals we've come to expect from this team. Hardcore Trekkies may find themselves screaming ABRAAAAAAAAMS!, but everyone else will have tribble (sorry!) finding a more purely entertaining movie out there this Summer.











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charlie2094 - 5/8/2013, 6:12 AM
Yes! Can't wait, should be seeing it tomorrow! Skipped the 'spoilers' section, but sounds good! Never been a Trekkie but loved the first film.
beane2099 - 5/8/2013, 6:17 AM
Still want to know what's up with the Next Gen looking ship Harrison has.
RorMachine - 5/8/2013, 6:18 AM
Tea, not only that, he has a three way with a couple of alien chicks with tails!
InFamouslyCool - 5/8/2013, 6:26 AM
Thank god, after Iron Man I could use something more serious.
DoubleD - 5/8/2013, 6:27 AM
Never been a big Star Trek fan. Never in a hurry to see any Star Trek movie so it will be the same for this one. I will see it but no rush for me. I am a big movie goer an can sit through any movie no matter how good or bad. Movies are a way for me to escape from the real world for two to three hours. I go to movies by meself a lot, just to escape.
ParisSun - 5/8/2013, 6:31 AM
^^^ Then you may need to see Gatsby instead of this movie. Ror may have been more generous with his review than others. This movie basically rapes Wrath of Khan. Wish JJ would have went in a different direction.
ParisSun - 5/8/2013, 6:31 AM
Will still see it in IMAX though, that should be worth the price of admission alone.
BboiBlack - 5/8/2013, 6:35 AM
This a review for fans, the average GA definitely won't see the exposition as redundant. Who the hell saw Space Seed for [frick]s sake.
Amazing512 - 5/8/2013, 6:35 AM
Ironman 3 was amazing and now Star Trek Is great to? This is a great start to the summer so far.
Hexagram - 5/8/2013, 6:37 AM
^^
Thanks Tea! :-P
MisterNiceGuy - 5/8/2013, 6:39 AM
This is definitely one is the weakest years we have had in a while when it comes to movies.
Maximus101 - 5/8/2013, 6:49 AM
I'm seeing this ASAP! I'm sure it's going to be better than iron man 3 for sure.
Sagart - 5/8/2013, 6:50 AM
I saw this last night. I've been a Trek fan for almost 40 years and I absolutely loved it!! Such a pity we'll likely lose Abrams to Episode VII.
RorMachine - 5/8/2013, 6:55 AM
monkeyballs, why Pain And Gain of course!
Newbus - 5/8/2013, 7:00 AM
I wish the villain was Gary Mitchell.
Newbus - 5/8/2013, 7:03 AM
"Star Trek the Final Frontier:

To Boldly let Shatner direct (a double dumbass on them)"

This and the first Trek Films are the only ones liked. At least Kirk faced planet destroying aliens and beats them.
MediaMan - 5/8/2013, 7:33 AM
Once again it's clear that that the Abrams team has no creativity whatsoever. They have a whole new timeline to play with, and all they can come up with is to un-boldly imitate what's been done so much better before.

Compared to what I've read elsewhere, this is a fairly generous review. Sounds like more of the same- popcorn action, pretty pictures, maybe brain-dead plot points, and so on.

No way will I pay to see this.

MediaMan - 5/8/2013, 7:35 AM
@McGee - LOL. Except your dialogue is probably better than what's in th emovie.
Slider13 - 5/8/2013, 7:55 AM
I love hearing all the Trekkies, Trekkers, whatever you're calling yourselves these days, get all their Starfleet underoo's in a bunch over this franchise. The 1st reboot was an entertaining action adventure film that made me forget about most of those terrible earlier attempts. Just when Abram's has set his directorial sights on your precious "Wrath of Khan" Fan boys begin to scream and convulse like they have one of those damn mind control bugs form Ceti Alpha 5 implanted in them. Anyone on this site who says they won't be seeing this movie is telling the second biggest lie since "just the tip, I swear" See you on the 16th!
pintoman - 5/8/2013, 8:02 AM
Flawed but great? WTF?
Facade - 5/8/2013, 8:08 AM
Glad to read you gave it a good review. This is my #1 most anticipate movie for this Summer.
Chewtoy - 5/8/2013, 8:17 AM
The last film already was a remake of Wrath of Khan, only with a villain obsessed with Spock for neglecting to save his people from a calamity that befell their world, who steals a scientific discovery with the intent to use it as a world-destroying weapon.

They're going to run out of elements from that film to repackage for the third Abrams Star Trek, and then what will they do?
Gregcooper11 - 5/8/2013, 8:23 AM
sounds good
MrYurMomm - 5/8/2013, 8:24 AM
the ending ruined the series as a whole. the khan blood thing was just pitiful, and downright atrocious. wish i could've gotten my money back.
MediaMan - 5/8/2013, 8:33 AM
@Slider - if you work real hard, you might be more wrong.

Even many supporters of the first movie finally came around to realize it had ENORMOUS plot holes and "coincidences." You can call it "entertaining action," but others call that kind of sloppy writing "embarrassing."

And no, I will not be seeing this in the theater. Ain't no way, no how.
SUPERSHADOWBAT - 5/8/2013, 8:58 AM
I'm a big Trekker, but this is a different take on the original Star Trek timeline. People have to recognize and accept this if they want to be able to enjoy these films. I'll see ST Into Darkness when it opens. Nice review without giving too much away.
AustinFan4Life - 5/8/2013, 9:00 AM
BboiBlack posted- 5/8/2013, 6:35 AM
This a review for fans, the average GA definitely won't see the exposition as redundant. Who the hell saw Space Seed for [frick]s sake.
---------------------------------

I have, definitely one of the better episodes from TOS, easily top 10 from all the TOS episodes.
AustinFan4Life - 5/8/2013, 9:17 AM
Intruder posted- 5/8/2013, 8:24 AM
The 3rd film is going to be Romulan and Klingon war heavy.
----------------
You may be right about Klingons, but I doubt we'll see any Romulans. In the 23rd century, The Romulan Empire as pretty much isolated itself into Romulan Space, presumably still recovering from the Earth-Romulan War of the 2150s, as the Empire itself respected the treaty agreement. That's a big reason why the Romulans weren't seen very much in TOS, at least that's what the producers of the show say anyways. And being that the Earth-Romulan War still happened, even if this alternate universe, I believe you'd see much of the same from the Romulans, until at least the late 23rd Century.

Klingons on the other hand, I think we'll see a heavy dose of them, being that in the 23rd century, they were currently at war with the Federation. It wouldn't be until the distruction of the Enterprise C protecting a Klingon outpost from an attack by the Romulans(20 years before TNG series), that the war would cease & the Federation & Klingon Empire would form an alliance.

Now granted this is an alternate timeline, but considering that much of the origina timeline is still in tact in this alternate timeline, much of the same events still occur, such as the Federation being at war with the Klingons. How the war ends in this alternate timeline, we don't know, since it could very well play out different than what happened in the original timeline.
TheBaroness89 - 5/8/2013, 9:58 AM
on point review. 4/5
I liked it didn't love it. Not going to go into spoilerish detail...a tear did come to me at the end but the middle of the movie is where I had some small issues.
Going to give it a second viewing.
diagnostic - 5/8/2013, 10:21 AM
To sum up Ror's review...

Ror is all for fun, but it has to be the right kind of fun. And in at the right time and place for it too.
Slider13 - 5/8/2013, 11:59 AM
@MediaMan

You my friend, like the German dude in The Last Crusade have chosen poorly. And you speaketh with forked tongue. You'll be all over this movie next week like a bum on a ham sandwich.
Brainiac13 - 5/8/2013, 12:33 PM
I love Spoilers!!! Thanks ROR!
MediaMan - 5/8/2013, 12:43 PM
@Slider13,

You, my friend, could not be more wrong. I didn't see the first JJ Trek in the theater- didn't see it til it hit FX. In short, didn't pay a dime to see it. And trust me, that was a WISE choice.

It's pretty easy for me to pass up tripe in theaters. I do it all the time.
SymbioteSpidey1 - 5/8/2013, 2:21 PM
I cannot wait to see this!! Already got my Fan Sneak ticket ordered and ready to go! @Ror I love how your avatar is of Mudd XD
dellamorte1872 - 5/8/2013, 3:36 PM
no spoilers for me i know this is the equivalent of wrath of kahn which is fine but i wish it was more "creative"
dellamorte1872 - 5/8/2013, 3:38 PM
hopefully its decent after having to wait so long to see it
AustinFan4Life - 5/8/2013, 4:50 PM
@ Intruder

JorL5150 - 5/8/2013, 6:36 PM
I love star trek. I love ....87% percent (roughly) of everything star trek ever offered up.
Pretty much hated "voyager" which was (very) litttle more than a feminist remake of TNG.

Abrams trek was an entertaining romp. Barely less spoofish than "galaxy quest". (Though galaxy quest is brilliant at what it does).

I look forward to this for cumberbautch scene stealing more than anything else.
I agree that abrams excells at building tension but blows the payoff.

Ittll be fun to watch.
Intruder is just annoyed that capt kirk is interrupting tony stark.
JorL5150 - 5/8/2013, 6:46 PM
I still wish paramount would have given us tv mini-series about captains sulu and riker- as well as a tv movie "countdown" the bridged "nemesis" with "abrams trek".
So much potential. So much wasted time with "voyager".I liked "enterprise" but it ended badly.

I can only imagine they'll do one more then put trek on ice a while.
JorL5150 - 5/8/2013, 6:50 PM
@ gusto-

I don't know who that hawt couple is ...but damn. Id hit 'em both.

As for classic trek- most of season one is really good. Season 2 is mostly great. 3 gets a bad rap but it does have some gold in it.
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