Review: Star Trek Into Darkness


Spoilers!!!!!

Before we get going here, you should know that I grew up on The Wrath of Kahn. My parents can attest that, as a little girl, I was so haunted by a fear of the mind control critters Kahn stuck in peoples’ ears that I wandered the house with my hands covering my ears for days… so they took me to the doctor believing I might have an ear infection.

Nope. Kahn is just a terrifying dude with a beach-perfect chest.

Going into my viewing of Into Darkness, I hadn’t heard much of anything about it other than it was awesome. Thus, I was completely surprised by Kahn and the allusions to his wrath.

Some positives:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the casting choice they made for Kahn; I was blown away by how well Benedict Cumberbatch (what a name, right?) captured the Kahn voice quality. He had it down better than I could have imagined it. He also had a facial structure that I accepted as Kahn, and he was admirably intelligent and ruthless as only Kahn can be.
  2. Bringing Doc. Marcus in was pretty fun, although I’m pretty sure I was the only person in the theater who got what they were doing there. It’s also nice to hope that her appearance means we’ll still get a Kirk baby… a guy at Comicon may have ruined the alternate time line thing for me by pointing out that Piccard may never be born, so I’m hoping Doc. Marcus and Kirk will ease that tension by making a baby together, reassuring us that our fave Next Gen characters will maybe/probably still exist.
  3. The comedy was thoroughly satisfying.
  4. I liked the Leonard Nemoy moment when he told Spock that defeating Kahn had been incredibly costly the first time around (well, sort of the first time). The weight of that statement was perfect and beautiful. Also, it was really cool to see Kirk and Spock switch roles. Hearing them each say that they’d done what the other one would do was incredibly touching and an elegant tribute to Spock’s death.
  5. There were some delightful Red Shirt jokes (that, again, the uninitiated didn’t understand, so I may have embarrassingly laughed out loud while crickets chirped throughout the rest of the theater).

Here are my complaints, and take into account that I loved it in spite of these negative critiques:

  1. I’m a little annoyed that they didn’t maroon Kahn on Ceti Alpha 5 at the end of the film. I get that they like to have the option of using him a few more times before sticking him in the middle of nowhere. I also get that they’re playing with the whole alternate reality thing, but it would have been a really nice thing for those of us who grew up with a deep fear of Ceti Eels to feel assured that The Wrath of Kahn wasn’t just deleted from the time line. I’d like to believe that it still happens.
  2. It bothered me a lot (Spoiler!!!!!) that Kirk died and was immediately brought back to life. I even wrote a post about that yesterday. Darn them! The writers did a nice job of dropping the bread crumbs along the way so that the resurrection didn’t come out of nowhere, but it felt a little too much like they were jerking me around. If you’re going to boldly kill Kirk, then kill him! Permanently.
  3. I didn’t like how young they were. I know that’s a silly complaint, but the characters and the actorswere so much more seasoned and wise in The Wrath of Kahnand the writers of Into Darkness maybe shouldn’t have spent so much time reminding us of the epic moments in that film. For example: while it’s nice that they attempted to honor the Spock death scene, I don’t think the actors or writers were really up to the task. That scene is one of the most touching I’ve seen in ANY SciFi film.

“Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh…”

“the needs of the few…”

“or the one. I never took the Kobayashi Maru test. What do you think of my solution?”

“Spock?”

“I have been and always shall be your friend. Live long and prosper.”

And, because simply reading it isn’t enough:

Really, they did a relatively nice job with the revamp, but I can’t help but think it was too elegant of a scene to rewrite.

4. I’m not a fan of how they took away Kirk’s ship and then gave it back to him right away. I actually thought it was really cool to see Pike tell Kirk that he was too arrogant and didn’t respect the chair. It was perfect, and it set up a nice, subtle story arc where Kirk had to learn to trust his crew rather than barreling ahead like a pissed rhino. However, every time they do something like that (i.e. killing him and bringing him back) they lower the stakes for the next time. It’s like the little boy who cried wolf. And, at some point very soon, they’re going to have to either leave somebody dead or we aren’t going to feel invested anymore.

All in all, it’s an incredibly fun film that you should definitely see. I wouldn’t even wait for it to get to the cheap seats… it’s worth paying full-price whether you’re a trekkie or not.

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