Back in 2009, über-nerd director and producer J.J. Abrams breathed new life into the Star Trek TOS franchise with his sleek and stylish alternate-universe reboot 'Star Trek,' which is no mean feat considering how demanding and picky the passionate and outspoken Star Trek (Trekkies) fanbase can be. Four years later, the eagerly awaited follow-up is finally upon us. 'Star Trek Into Darkness' had large shoes to fill, but with Abrams at the helm (or in the 'Captain's Chair') again, the return of the dynamic writing duo of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, plus the addition of talented 'Lost' scribe Damon Lindelof, 'Prometheus' notwithstanding, I had absolutely no doubt that we have yet another winner in our hands.
Despite the movie's overwhelming positive reviews (87% on Rotten Tomatoes), some diehard Trek fans criticized the movie for being overly action-packed at the expense of character development and interaction. While I do understand to a certain degree, since 'Into Darkness' is more furiously and frenetically paced than 'Star Trek,' the movie does not suffer at all for it. Like its predecessor, this movie upheld the Star Trek tradition and mythology with the utmost respect. For instance, if you pay attention you'll find numerous references to the source material in the characters' speech and exchanges, such as the popular Freudian concept of id, ego and super-ego reflected in McCoy, Kirk and Spock. Once again Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and Simon Pegg captured the essences of their respective roles with aplomb, as did Zoe Saldana, John Cho and and Anton Yelchin, while British 'Sherlock Holmes' thespian Benedict Cumberbatch shined as the movie's believable villain (despite the fact that his true identity was never a secret, I will not divulge it). Although the many fight and chase scenes are undoubtedly exciting, the movie is at its absolute best during those invigorating, tension-filled moments when Kirk and crew are staring down the barrel of a gun (or Federation Dreadnought) in a high stakes game of brinkmanship, bluffing for their lives and buying time to escape by the skin of their teeth.
Action packed with a good dose of humor and heart (such as the 'bromance' between Kirk and Spock), 'Star Trek Into Darkness' is another solid contribution to the Star Trek canon that fans should be proud of. This is an end as well as a beginning. As Abrams has taken on the challenge of continuing another beloved sci-fi franchise for Disney, something called 'Star Wars' I believe, the future of Star Trek may well lie in the hands of others yet unknown. But he couldn't have left it any better, as the USS Enterprise begins its five-year mission ”to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no man has gone before." Cue music please.Grade: A
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