Star Trek Into Darkness has received a mixed response from some hardcore Trekkies, but after the jump, you can find my spoiler-free take on J.J. Abrams' last film before he heads to a galaxy far, far away for Star Wars Episode VII.

J.J. Abrams' reboot of Star Trek in 2009 introduced moviegoers to a reinvigorated and complex-continuity free crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise to great success. For that reason, it's not hard to understand why Star Trek Into Darkness is easily one of THE most highly anticipated sequels of the last few years. So, does it live up to what's come before? Well, it's about the same in the respect that it's neither better or worse than its predecessor. Instead, Star Trek Into Darkness is another solid instalment in the franchise and just a damn good sci-fi action flick.

This is a beautifully shot film, and at this point in his career, there can be no doubt that J.J. Abrams has a fantastic handle on action. Regardless of whether it's a fight sequence, a chase sequence or just a down and dirty fire fight, these are all brought to the life superbly by the director. The same can also be said for the screenplay. In lesser hands, Star Trek Into Darkness probably wouldn't have been anywhere near as good. It's not that there's anything wrong with the story or dialogue - they find a great blend of character moments and humour - but it neither brings anything hugely original or groundbreaking to the genre which will stick with you once the credits roll. The characters (well, most of them) and visuals certainly will, but the story won't. John Harrison is an integral part of the sequel and when his backstory is revealed, it really needed more than just a few sentences for us to be able to really relate to him. Thankfully, Benedict Cumberbatch is incredible and he steals every scene he's in. The actor is amazing as "John Harrison" and one can only hope that he one day gets to show his stuff in a comic book movie for a studio like Marvel.

When it comes to the rest of the cast, this movie once again belongs to Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock). Abrams gets some great emotion out of these two (don't be surprised if you find yourself quickly wiping away a tear every now and again) and their chemistry is great. The same can also be said for Zoe Saldana (Uhura), while Karl Urban (Bones), Simon Pegg (Scotty) and John Cho (Sulu) all deliver memorable supporting turns. In terms of the new additions to the cast, the beautiful Alice Eve (Carol) impresses and Peter Weller (Admiral Marcus) is also excellent.

Visually, you'll struggle to find a better looking film than Star Trek Into Darkness at the theatre this year. The special effects are top notch and accentuated by the IMAX format; it's without a doubt worth shelling out a few extra bucks to see the movie on one of the larger screens. The same can't be said for 3D however as this is yet another unimpressive and completely unnecessary conversion. There are perhaps only two very brief scenes which justify the format, but they most certainly do not justify the higher ticket price and uncomfortable glasses. Even J.J. Abrams didn't want to do the sequel in 3D and that says it all really. It's a quick job done in post in order for Paramount to make some extra cash. Regardless, it is otherwise flawless in terms of special effects and is topped off perfectly with Michael Giacchino's fantastic score.

Star Trek Into Darkness is a good film elevated to greatness by its director, cast and the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch. If you weren't already looking forward to Star Wars Episode VII, you will be after seeing this...

2013 Reviews So Far...

The Last Stand (3/5)
Bullet To The Head (1/5)
Wreck-It Ralph (4/5)
A Good Day To Die Hard (2/5)
Warm Bodies (4/5)
Mama (3/5)
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D (3/5)
Oz: The Great and Powerful 3D (4/5)
Evil Dead (4/5)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation 3D (3/5)
Oblivion (IMAX) (4/5)
Iron Man 3 3D (5/5)

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.


Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Spock
Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison
Alice Eve as Dr. Carol Marcus
Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura
Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov
John Cho as Hikaru Sulu
Simon Pegg as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott
Bruce Greenwood as Admiral Christopher Pike

RELEASE DATE: May 9th, 2013 (UK). May 16th, 2013 (US).

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