HOLY SHIT THIS IS AMAZING.
Boldly going into my top films collection!
The Enterprise and her crew are still having a few teething problems it seems when it comes to StarFleet’s codes and regulations, something that has to be quickly sorted out as terror bombings in London, and subsequent murder of more innocents in another, the crew are tasked by Admiral Marcus (RoboCop’s Peter Weller) to go deep into Klingon territory and hunt down John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) for his war crimes. But all is not what it seems, with a few twists and turns along the way things go from bad to worse for the crew and StarFleet becomes a very questionable federation!
Much like the first time round its the bromance between Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) that the film focuses in on. Having had their destinies changed by Nero in the first film their characters are conflicted, both within themselves and with each other. You can see Spock struggling with his emotional human side vs his logical vulcan side, especially when it comes to his relationship with Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Whilst Kirk covers his self-doubt to do the job with his smug attitude.
Right, I was going to do this almost spoiler free, with spoilers at the end for those that want it, but I want to geek out here! so apologies for that people but yeah…
(Skip to after spoilers/ final verdict)
‘Into Darkness’ is an alternate timeline ‘Wrath of Khan’ BUT only slightly. You can pat yourself on the back now for guessing that from the first teaser trailer Trekkers 😉 Given the 2009’s huge success for impressing even the non Star Trek fans and rebooting a failing franchise, maybe the bar was set too high for this second movie? A BIG risk was taken by Abrams and co. when rebooting and giving the Trek verse an alternate timeline, I can’t help but feel they played it safe with the story this time around. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant take, but given they could go anywhere, do anything almost, they didn’t? I can’t work out if its lazy or playing it safe. I guess it’s hard to keep hardcore fans happy but still making it light enough for newcomers to the Trek verse to keep up?
Yes John Harrison is Khan Noonien Singh – BUT no back story was given apart from he and his crew were frozen, so no SS Botany Bay etc. With having recently re-watched the Wrath of Khan (thanks Film4!) It was useful to see how Ricardo Montalban’s Khan was portrayed compared to Benedict’s. To be honest they’re both as good as each other, but I will have to give it to Cumberbatch simply for the sheer brutality of his Khan. The most original Khan done that was brutal was put creepy critters in people’s ears and quote Moby Dick at a screen (though rather epic to be fair!). This Khan, wipes out a whole patrol of klingons and their ships single-handedly. This Khan brutally crushes the admirals head in front of his daughters very eyes (cue THE scream from the trailers) It’s implied gore not seen on-screen for obvious reasons, but he’s terrifying! I finally see why everyone was raving about Cumberbatch now. Not being a fan of that Doctor Whoish written Sherlock series I didn’t get his interpretation of Holmes AT ALL. Having not seen him in anything else I was simply left wondering why so many people (mainly girls on tumblr) were going mental for him. But now I get it, the mans voice just screams evil power, he was born to play villains and is wonderfully cast as this films!
Next on the spoils – Indeed we were all right, they do the death scene from Wrath of Khan, but this time its Kirk not Spock that dies from radiation. I know I’m gonna be cast out by Trekkers (if I haven’t already) here but… I preferred it this way round! As moving as it was to see much beloved Spock die in Wrath of Khan, Kirk dying hit me harder.
Over the two movies we’ve seen this young Kirk lose his father, lose his replacement father in Pike, and now with his only surviving family left, his crew, in danger hell yes he’ll make the sacrifice play. Once the danger is over, things play out almost identically to Wrath of Khan. Scottie calls Spock to come down, he races through to engineering to see a broken Scottie look towards the core. There pressed upon the glass is Kirk. And so started the sniffs and out came the tissues to nearly all the female Trekkers in the audience. Their exchange is so moving, it all ending with the pair finally realising that they have become the closet of friends too late. “I’m scared Spock”. Hands to the glass. Spock sheds a tear(!) then screams “KHAAAANNNNNN!!!” (and I had to hold back all the emotions!)
Seriously SO much better than the original – maybe because Shatner’s hammy acting always ruins the scene for me in WOK – but this role reversal works for the reboot so well. All the way through the film Spock has been a vulcan through and through, and in this moment his love for his friend and hatred for Khan break into his human side and boy does he go on a rampage after Khan in the films closing moments! My Jaw hit the floor and at one point I even blurted out in glee a ‘holy shit!’
Now no film is without sin and a few plot holes did occur during the film. But by the time you had them in your head they were blasted away at warp speed and never lingered on too long, which for me was fine. For example, near the end the Enterprise gets shot out of warp by the Admiral’s dreadnought ship above the Earth yet no other Star Fleet vessel comes to investigate this or anyone try to hail either ship. Do Star Fleet make a habit of ignoring whats happening in orbit of Earth until the ships are falling towards them?
Apart from Kirk, Spock, & Scottie the rest of the crew members seem to be just there. McCoy serves as a simple metaphor machine which is all well and good, especially when even Kirk says “would you stop with all these metaphors?!” but I feel they’ve missed out on showing the entire crew as a family. Uhura is only used when she and Spock have to argue about his emotionless behaviour or to speak Klingon that one time (though she made it sound almost sexy haha). They feel under-used and its a shame as that was and still is one of the reboots best parts – its casting is perfect!
Another part that stood out to me as annoying was where Spock calls future Spock on New Vulcan to ask about this mysterious Khan and if he had come into contact with him. It just seems like an excuse to bring Nimoy back into the film, it just seemed a bit pointless to the plot given where it was used. It doesn’t add anything to newcomers, it only reminds Trekkers again that this is an alternate timeline version of Wrath of Khan.
Now one gripe a lot of Trekkies have with the reboot films is that it’s too action orientated, which I can see their point, but hold the fuck up, apart from ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’, they have all been action/adventure films. So don’t act like the original films were grand space dramas like the TV show, they weren’t! I can however see this film potentially polarising a lot of Trek fans, some will love it and some will hate it for retreading a popular storyline/character. Its focus on the action and not the exploration is actually addressed within the film itself if you pay attention!
Spoilers over with!
If you’re not a fan of Star Trek go and see this movie, you’ll soon become one! If you are a fan of Star Trek go and see it and be highly entertained by one of this summers awesome films. Take pride in seeing something we’ve loved for a long time be viewed by millions more in a positive light rather than being simply passed over. I look forward to hearing about a third in the series of films!
Overall I’m putting this up there as my favourite Star Trek film. Regardless of its plot holes it’s wonderfully paced, exciting, funny, smart and well acted throughout with standout performances again by Pine & Quinto. I am already making plans to see this movie again over the weekend!
(Oh and Noel Clark’s “I can’t say what I do because it spoils” on his TV rounds: Na, it don’t, he blows up what is presumed to be a Star Fleet records bank for John Harrison after he saves his daughter’s life. That’s it. It’s like 2 lines and some stares for no more than 3/4mins max! The woman who takes over the helm has more lines/ screen time than him LOL)
So have you seen the film yet? what are your views on JJ’s modern take on Star Trek? Let me know in the comments section!