Star Trek Into Darkness Review

Well…we’re back.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to listen in to Blaine and I talking Trek (the 2009 variety) here. See how well (or how poorly) we predicted things.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Cast & Crew

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Written by Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof

Chris Pine as James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Spock
Zoe Saldana as Uhura

Full Cast and Crew on IMDB (Warning Spoilers in the cast list!)


After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.


Gonna be hard to stay spoiler-free, but here goes.

Short review: It’s awesome and fun, go see it.

Long review: While it has some dumb moments, the film is a lot of fun and has a great heart. The crew are back at it and it’s awesome ride along the way. There have been a lot of spoilers along the way, but nothing that’s too groundbreaking, since we’re starting from a different baseline than before.

The final thirty minutes of the film are pretty blatant fan service, but hey don’t we deserve a little? My daughter saw it with us and while she didn’t have the necessary background, she still enjoyed the film for what it was.

All in all, it’s a fun film that captures the heart of what the ship and crew mean in Star Trek.

High Points

  • Abrams and company have made space battles a horrifying thing from the crew’s perspective. Space is scary and lethal.
  • Loads of in-jokes. You may have to watch this film a dozen times (like I’m wont to do) to pick them all out.
  • “No more metaphors! That’s an order.”
  • Klingons!

Low Points

  •  And the Klingons get one whole scene.
  • Though the Enterprise takes a devastating amount of damage, most of it seems to be generic explosions. I kind of miss the old close-up method of describing the damage to the ship.
  • Scotty even calls it out: The ship sitting on the bottom of the ocean is just silly. And most of the atmospheric shots of the Enterprise are just jarring. I know there’s canon for it in the series, but it just doesn’t look right.
  • There are a few scenes towards the end of the film that are meant to be heart-felt and moving, but since they were retelling an older plot (and a very tired Internet meme), I found myself fighting down laughs. I don’t think that’s what they were going for.


Clearly, the originality is going to suffer from what’s essentially a retelling of an older Star Trek storyline, but kudos have to go to the writers for making it something different than what we’ve seen before. 3/6

The effects are, once again, top notch, even when things get silly. 6/6

The story is a good one, if a touch predictable in places. 4/6

The acting is great. The main cast is settled into their roles and they shine. Cumberbatch, while pure evil, is still sympathetic. 5/6

So, I’m going to ding them on the lens flares. They aren’t as bad this go around, but it’s just unnecessary. The last time out, my eyes were actually tired by the end of the film, but not here. Otherwise, the sets look great. 5/6

There are some truly emotional moments. You get that these characters care for each other, but are a dysfunctional family. Someone less cynical than myself may find certain dramatic scenes more moving. 4/6

Overall, this is a great sci-fi flick. It’s not the old Trek, but we’ve established that four years ago. We’ve got the exposition out of the way and now Kirk and company get to do their thing. 6/6

Total: 33/42

14 replies on “Star Trek Into Darkness Review”

  1. Originality: 0 – every cliche in the book, particularly overuse of the “grab with one hand to save someone from falling” that just can’t happen (and even worse when it’s *two* people!). Nearly every plot point comes from somewhere else, often other treks (but not in a way that ties them together, just reusing the idea in a less plausible way, such as space diving to a small airlock opening). The key dramatic scene could have been an interesting reversal, however it was ridiculously silly (even worse than the scene it’s based on), and you knew exactly how what silly deus ex machina resolution was going to occur the second it started.

    Effects: agree, 6, but far too much silliness

    Story: 2 – they started with a good premise that could have been developed into something with some real meat and turned it into a cheesy, unbelievable, action flick. Star Trek Fast and Furious. The only thing Star Trek about it is the name and the characters. The Enterprise as a submarine? Give me a break. I should have realized how bad they were going to treat the franchise when I saw that in the trailer. I will give it that as a cheesy unbelievable action flick, it was good. That’s not a Star Trek movie though, at least not a good one.

    Acting: agree, 5 is a good score – everyone does a great job

    • Repeating a lot here but, yeah, I liked the acting (and the fact that they’re not just imitating the originals), I liked the visuals, and I’d like them to have an IDEA. This really is just a blend of generic action movie tropes (including the Popeye Doylesque chase– please) with bits stolen from precious Treks, making the plot a bit of a con.

      *cough*Also, why do pop culture re-envisionings have to amplify every popular character? It’s not enough that Khan is a worthy opponent to Kirk, he has to be the GREATEST MOST DANGEROUS THREAT THE ENTERPRISE EVER FACED! Really? More so than, say, the Doomsday Machine or the Talosians or (as noted by another) Gary Mitchell or any number of other more serious threats?

      • IDW’s Star Trek: Ongoing series is in movie continuity and made in conjunction with the films. Gary Mitchell has already been met and dealt with there.

        • Perhaps, but the issue (for me) isn’t whether they’ve dealt with him in this continuity, or with any other old-continuity adversary. The issue is the naming of Khan– whose strength, story-wise, was that he was a very human, albeit powerful, menace– should somehow be elevated to MOST DANGEROUS ADVERSARY EVER (Old Spock has a line to that effect in this movie) simply because he was a popular adversary. Mitchell, among others, posed greater danger.

  2. I was worried when they started playing coy about who the villain was. Seriously, that’s seldom a good sign. The speculation about it being Gary Mitchell, though, gave me hope – there was a story I always felt ripe for a better exploration. After all, we got to see Kirk actually *betray* one of his own crew members – something that would not happen again. Khan, though, has become the single iconic villain for ST:TOS, and Ricardo Montalban’s portrayal is incredibly huge shoes to fill. But, the filmmakers showed that if you put in enough explosions, and enough high-speed CGI chases through whatever environment, people will buy into it.

    And I *DID* have my hopes that the chase scenes, and the destroyed London and other parts of Earth were simply induced hallucinations created by Mitchell… *sighs*

    • And lens flare…. Yeah, okay, that’s getting tired.

      Tara Li! Great to see you! How were things in the alternate universe you’ve been visiting?

  3. I didn’t notice lens flare this time, maybe it didn’t work in imax 3d or something?

    • There were fewer of them, and they were better placed. It seemed to me that they’d heard the audience response the first time around. This time, flares were not in front of the primary action, smaller and less frequent, but they were there, and they did appear in 3D within the planes of the image.

  4. Hey, given the discussion elicited by Doctor Who’s use the other week of contemporary-sounding music, I’m surprised no one mentioned we had three different occasions in this film when characters listened to contemporary-sounding music in the film.

    And then there’s Alice Eve’s ridiculously gratuitous underwear shot. Yeah, I know that Hollywood Blockbusters do this sort of thing, but this was entirely out of place. Chris Pine might as well have held up a sign saying, GRATUITOUS UNDERWEAR SHOT THAT ONLY EXISTS SO WE COULD SLIP IT IN THE TRAILER!!!!

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