There will be a spoiler, so consider yourself warned.
Let me just start out by saying this:
OK, OK, I’ve probably got a thing or three more to say about Star Trek: Into Darkness, but I want to make it perfectly clear that I heart this movie with an unrepentant passion and will probably be the nerd at the video store at midnight buying it as soon as it’s released on Blu-Ray. And then I’ll stay up all night watching it on my big-ass TV because this.
When JJ Abrams & Co. released the first movie of the new Star Trek franchise in 2009, they presented their viewers with a parallel universe. The characters Trekkies have come to know and love take a slightly different tack as they zip about in space dodging time-traveling, revenge-hungry Romulans. In Into Darkness, there’s still a revenge-hungry antagonist, though they pulled out the big guns for antagonist two. In this movie, the crew of the Enterprise is up against (OK, here’s my spoiler) none other than the genetically engineered, hate-fueled killing machine, Khan Noonien Singh.
Yes, this clip is from 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the progenitor of Into Darkness. If you’re unfamiliar with the 1982 movie, please enjoy this clip–and by all means, watch the entire thing–for its incredibly tasty cheese. You don’t get William Shatner howling like that for just anything.
Khan, one of Star Trek‘s legendary, hate-that-you-love-him villains, was originally immortalized by the leather-and-mullet-sporting Ricardo Montalban (seen in the above YouTube clip), so casting the proper villain for movie #2 was, I am sure, not for the weak. Happily, Khan v.2013 was played with gleeful, finger-licking, ruthless abandon by latest British It-boy, Benedict Cumberbatch, who rocks the small screen as a modern version of Sherlock Holmes on BBC. (He’s such an It-Boy he’s even managed to edge out David Beckham as Britain’s hunkiest dude in a Sun UK newspaper poll.) (Yes, way.)
…even if he does at times bear a striking resemblance to an otter.
But I digress.
So, listen. I’m not going to get crazy with a plot synopsis. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are in space, cause volcano-stopping mayhem and get into a galaxy-sized heap o’ trouble. They’re double-crossed and then double-crossed again. Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) comes off as a latter-day love child of General Patton and The Great Santini to wonderful effect, though I couldn’t help wondering if Peter Weller just has a crappy dentist in real life or if the costume department designed a dental bridge that made him look like a bulldog. Uhura (Zoe Saldana) proves herself to be a total badass linguistics officer (take that, Noam Chomsky!) by standing up to an entire squadron of Klingons. Scotty (Simon Pegg) pontificates about the trouble brewing when you don’t know the fuel source for your photon torpedoes while storming off in a huff with his bizarre, oyster-faced sidekick whose backstory I hope gets explained in a future movie installment. As for McCoy (Karl Urban)…ummmmm…errrrrrr…
They really need to develop Dr. McCoy a little more successfully, don’t they? He’s currently holding court as the hackneyed comic relief, but oh, Karl Urban. You could do so much more.
There’s lots of shoot-em-up and disabled ships and the Enterprise succumbing to the effects of gravity as the crew frantically tries to restart the engines. Don’t piffle with me about the science of whether-or-not: whether or not Kirk could kick that thing back into position, whether or not the crew could have run along the walls while the ship’s gravity stabilizers were failing. Blah blah wonks, I don’t care. The truth is, I don’t ask a whole lot of the plot in a movie like this. Things were blowing up in space, I got to see a planet that looked like it was the primary galactic source for red vines candy, and by the end of the movie Kirk was walking on to the deck with that characteristic swagger that preserves his status as the universe’s top pimp. It was all grand fun. I’ll be less willing to suspend my disbelief when the Enterprise is in front of me and I can finally go work for the Federation.
I saw it in 2D, not 3D, because 2D was the next showing the night I went and I didn’t want to hang around the movie theater for an hour. I thought the 2D was fantastic; one friend said 3D was worth the extra price of admission, another said the light flares were distracting. Do with that what you will. But go see it! Kick off your summer blockbuster movie season the right way.