The Grade Book: “Star Trek Into Darkness”

Star Trek Into Darkness

Plot: The Enterprise crew must hunt down and capture a mysterious and dangerous man named John Harrison. 

Director: J.J. Abrams. 

Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof (based on the TV series by Gene Roddenberry). 

Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Alice Eve, and Peter Weller. 

Genres: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction.

Running Time: 2 hours and 12 minutes.

U.S. Release Date: May 16th, 2013.

MPAA Rating: PG-13.




(Lowest Grade Given to the Film: C+, Highest Grade Given to the Film: A+)

SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek sequel is about on par with its predecessor. The film features spectacular visuals, confident direction, smart writing, and an excellent cast — including the scene-stealing Benedict Cumberbatch, who makes for a memorable villain.



  • Gabriel Alcantara (Big Gabe):

Grade: A

Star Trek Into Darkness seriously gave me everything I could have wanted from a Star Trek film and a summer blockbuster. With its spectacular action and extraordinary special effects, it was like an endless buffet of sci-fi goodness. I was so immersed with everything about this grand sequel. It may slightly lack complex sci-fi storytelling, but J.J. Abrams directs every element in such a genius fashion. The chemistry with the cast was perfect, there was plenty of sarcastic humor I enjoyed, and Benedict Cumberbatch can play one hell of a villain. This Star Trek series is on course for greatness.

  • Joe Cauwel:

Grade: A-

Star Trek Into Darkness is a great sequel in a franchise that I hope lives long and prospers. At its core are two of the best rebooted characters ever. The friendship between Kirk and Spock is completely believable. Old and new fans of Star Trek will find exactly what they want here!

  • Ryan Fecskovics:

Grade: A

I am so glad that I did not give up on this franchise. After being disappointed with the first one, I totally wrote off the second one before seeing it. Of course, I was proven wrong. J.J. Abrams improved on everything that the first film lacked. The visuals and makeup were of course on par with the first film. But this movie had a better villain (the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch), screenplay, acting, and a more consistent tone. Sequels can tend to under-perform (for audiences sometimes, but usually just me). However, the second one takes the cake. And I really want a third film (as soon as possible).

  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):


Grade: A


Even though I think the 2009 film was better, this is still an amazing film with great character development, awesome special effects, and a lot of cool action to move the story along! It’s just a really fun experience overall. J.J. Abrams has proven once again why he is the best choice to direct the new Star Wars film!

  • Joey Hollywood:

Grade: C+
This film learns from the faults of the previous film and improves upon it. However, new issues come up which sadly brings my rating down. I did like that this one was more dialogue-heavy, which gave the action more reason. It’s a fun movie but does not have the elements that gave Star Trek its fan base.

  • Mike Holtz (WeWatchedAMovie):

Grade: A- 

Every single character is still written well and the action is epic as it ever was. Nothing gets rehashed, yet Into Darkness still carries the charm of the first film. Things can get muddled up midway through, but Into Darkness is still jaw-on-the-floor fun.

  • Steven Hunt:

Grade: A

A slight improvement on the 2009 movie. All the acting is still great, but the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison really brought the movie up. He is menacing, smart, and, most importantly, has actual reasons for what he’s doing. There is also a great variety of action in this movie. You get some ship vs. ship fights, a man flying through a debris field in space, a chase scene through a city, and much more. Highly recommended.

  • John Maffeo:

Grade: A-

It’s arduous to top what was accomplished with the 2009 film, Star Trek, but wonders are administered nonetheless! All the characters we know and love return in glorious fashion. The action is just stellar as it is complimented by incredible music and engaging emotion. Not a perfect movie when a discussion of the plot commences, but if you enjoyed the predecessor then this is a must-see! And Cumberbatch commands the screen with his villainous presence!

  • Zachary S. Marsh:

Grade: A

Just as great as the original! Superb acting, awesome twists, outstanding IMAX scenes, and overall one hell of a fun sci-fi ride! J.J. Abrams has proven that he is THE perfect choice to tackle the Star Wars franchise. I pray that there’s a Star Wars/Star Trek crossover. Imagine that…

  • Scott Menzel:

Grade: A

The sequel is shockingly even better than the original. The film has an excellent villain, brilliant direction, and solid performances from everyone involved. While this movie plays more towards fans of the original series and films, the movie also plays well with those who have no idea about the Star Trek universe. The film also has several moments that are emotional, and the story builds not only suspense but also develops its characters even better than the first go-round. It will probably remain one of my favorite big-budget films of 2013.

  • Steven Merced (Geeked Out):

Grade: B+

Star Trek Into Darkness is one of those rare films that rivals its predecessor on being the better of the two. I’ve never really been a Star Trek “nerd,” but have always admired the universe from afar. J.J. Abrams shows off his amazing directing chops with spectacular visuals and a fast paced yet satisfying story. Now there are some minor hiccups in the film, such as the underdeveloped villains and underused secondary actors. The film tries to overtake the 2009 prequel many times but is just never able to surpass the brilliance that was the first film. All of that being said, the movie is a definite blockbuster event and will make fan boys and moviegoers alike very happy with the end result. Here’s looking forward to Star Trek 3 and Star Wars Episode VII.

  • Kevin Morrison:

Grade: A

This is exactly what I knew these writers and director were capable of. An excellent story that uses the best of Star Trek to convey a great movie and bring wonderfully smart ideas, characters, and a warm heart to the screen. On top of that, the film is excellently cast (Cumberbatch and Eve are very welcome additions!) and makes me proud to be a Star Trek fan.

  • William Bond Nunn:

Grade: A+

I loved this film even more than the first one. Truly fantastic characters and visuals. Gene Roddenberry would be proud. And Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing!

  • Alex Perez:

Grade: A

The crew of the Enterprise is back and better than ever! All of the returning cast definitely bring their A-game here – especially Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. J.J. Abrams directs this movie beautifully, the script is clever, witty, and even ballsy, there are a ton of surprises throughout, and this film gives us one of the most menacing and terrifying on-screen performances in quite some time from the great Benedict Cumberbatch! Star Trek Into Darkness is definitely my favorite film of the year so far!

  • Austin Putnam:

Grade: A

J.J. Abrams has delivered on this much-anticipated sequel. I loved everything about Star Trek Into Darkness. Not only has Abrams made me a fan, but he has my full support on Star Wars Episode VII. One of my favorite films of the year.

  • Daniel Rester:

Grade: A-

While this sequel doesn’t have the sense of discovery that marked its predecessor, it still makes for one heck of a ride (and I liked it even better than the first one)! The screenplay is smart and funny, and continues to develop the great relationship between Kirk and Spock. J.J. Abrams’ direction is confident and top-notch, with the director paying great attention to both content and form. The cast also does a fine job, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Karl Urban standing out (at least for me). This is the first great summer movie of 2013.

  • Christian Ruvalcaba:

Grade: A

An amazing sequel that has great dialogue, great comedic timing, mind-blowing action, and many twists and turns that come as major shockers. For someone who is not a Trekkie, and more of a Star Wars guy, I love this universe J.J. has brought forth. Benedict Cumberbatch is a fantastic villain and the returning cast members nail every scene they are in. J.J. Abrams does Star Trek justice once again.

  • Dean Searle:

Grade: A

In short, this is The Avengers of Star Trek movies. There is a badass, scene-stealing villain (one area where it beats The Avengers), excellent dialogue, the right amount of humor, amazing action, a deeper-than-expected story, and, overall, a tremendously entertaining time with moments of fist-pumping glee.

  • Delon Villanueva:

Grade: B+

Abrams retains everything that worked in the original, while putting in the fantastic addition of Benedict Cumberbatch. The original seemed very hard to follow up, but Abrams and his writers still manage to create a worthy continuation of the story. My only problem with the movie is that I don’t think that much is done to differentiate from the original. Abrams still pays a lot of respect to the franchise, but I do think it could have had more edge to set it apart from the first movie. My opinion could easily change after a second viewing or a revisiting of the original movie, though. Nonetheless, a solid sequel.

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