Star Trek Into Darkness Review
by Christian Ruvalcaba, Cobbster Reviews
I was never a fan of Star Trek. I naturally grew up watching the Star Wars trilogies (yes the prequels included). However, in 2009, a man by the name of J.J. Abrams directed the reboot of the beloved franchise with the same name. The year of 2009 was a great year considering I never put a thought through my tiny brain to think I would love and adore a Star Trek film. Warp speed 4 years later and we have Star Trek Into Darkness.
I had been downright excited to see the new Trek film. One because I love science fiction in general, two because I loved the first film back in 2009, and three well, J.J. Abrams is the man! This movie exceeded so many of my expectations from being a great sequel with intense action and pure popcorn fun. Of course, the movie also brings tremendous qualities in the story as well as the character interactions.
Star Trek Into Darkness shows the return of familiar faces such as Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Karl Urban (Bones), John Cho (Sulu), and Anton Yelchin (Chekov). However, the movie also brings in a welcoming batch of newcomers such as the villainous John Harrison played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Dr. Carol Marcus played by Alice Eve, as well as Peter Weller, who plays Admiral Alexander Marcus. This cast alone should want you to sprint to the movie theaters.
The movie picks up shortly after the first film where we find our beloved characters in the midst of saving an ancient civilization on an unknown planet where this population faces extinction. I love this opening because it is what I expect from a Star Trek film. Though I have only seen very few episodes of the series, the opening truly reminded me of a mini episode and it showcases how the crew works on a daily basis. As a non-Star Trek fan, this had Star Trek written all over for me. After saving the planet, through desperate measures, the movie immediately picks up.
The story flourishes into a great sci-fi tale about a team of explorers contemplating the confliction of being an exploration crew or a war vessel. As they deal with John Harrison (Cumberbatch), a terrorist who has killed thousands of innocent lives, the Enterprise faces new challenges that would send them off into their boiling points. J.J. Abrams does a great job of capturing the feeling of a space adventure. Of course, many can compare the story to a simple cat and mouse game. Yet, Abrams expands on the simple idea of “good guy chases bad guy,” and really nails the storytelling by throwing in a few surprises. This film brings entertainment to an extreme level with great substance as well as beautiful effects that captures this universe to a T. And who cannot forget about the beautiful return of Michael Giacchino’s magnificent score that grasps the essence of not just a Star Trek film but a great space adventure as well. The score truly helps the story advance and allows the film to stand out more.
Newcomer Benedict Cumberbatch is the new villain this time around and this man is menacing. Every time he enters a scene he steals the show. His presence defines what a villain should be in most movies. With the typical, “I’m supposed to sound like a villain because that is the trend these days,” the voice and posture of his character fits his personality perfectly. He is scary, highly intelligent, and can pack a mean punch. Something great I love about his character is that he is not just a behind-the-scenes villain who commands people to do his dirty deeds for him. This man truly does it all. He plans, he pilots ships, he manipulates, and he fights. In a sense, he is a one man army who wants to wreak havoc against anyone who stands in his way. We are definitely going to be seeing more of Cumberbatch in big-time blockbuster films for sure (Star Wars cough cough).
Aside from the greatness of Cumberbatch’s performance, the returning cast once again does a phenomenal job. Pine continues his journey as the arrogant Captain Kirk who is challenged throughout the film about his place in Starfleet. Quinto as Spock brings more emotion into this then he did in the first film along with some killer action scenes involving his fist. The rest of the cast, though not in the film as much as I hoped, did an amazing job with much emphasis in Karl Urban’s performance as Bones because… well simply he is amazing and hilarious!
Though many fans of the original universe of Star Trek might not like the twists and turns this film takes, a simple moviegoer will have an absolute blast. My only concern with the film is the ending. I felt it wrapped a little too quickly and it felt as if the things that had happened in the movie did not have a huge impact on the characters. Not a horrible ending of course, but one I wish where the characters could actually discuss the aftermath of the events that took place and perhaps build on something for a following sequel. Of course, these are very minor nitpicky flaws.
In the end, Star Trek Into Darkness is the exact sequel I expected to come from director J.J. Abrams and his crew. It’s fun, entertaining, and it looks amazing. If you are a Star Trek fan, what are you waiting for? Check this film out! This also goes to anyone else who is purely a fan of film and adventure stories. I look forward to seeing J.J. Abrams return to space in a different galaxy far far away…
Final Grade: A