Note: See the film in IMAX 3D. The IMAX screen adds a wonderful layer to the story and although the 3D was converted, it looks better than many films actually shot in 3D. This is a spoiler-free review.
Oh, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto…how I love these two on screen together. In possibly one of the best bromances of the last decade, Pine and Quinto were practically born to play James Kirk and Spock, respectively. I was never a “Trek” fan growing up, but when I first saw director J.J. Abrams’s 2009 film Star Trek, I was speechless. Star Trek is an excellent film because it speaks to both hardcore Trekkies and new fans that don’t know a thing about the story.
Abrams continues the story in an appropriately action packed sequel that fans will love. With that being said, Star Trek Into Darkness was one of my most anticipated films of the year and I have to say that my expectations were matched.
The opening sequence of Into Darkness doesn’t match up with the opening sequence of its predecessor led by George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) and Michael Giacchino’s lovely lyrical score, but its still damn good. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his first officer Spock (Zachary Quinto) lead a mission to rescue a planet that is danger of being destroyed by a massive volcano rupture. Kirk saves Spock’s life, which triggers their hilarious and touching relationship that grounds the film.
The crew of the Enterprise is called back home, but when a rogue officer John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) detonates a bomb in one of the fleet buildings it leaves their world in a state of panic. Kirk, who has a personal vengeance to fry with Harrison, asks Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) if he and his crew can single handedly go after the officer and bring him back to serve justice.
Every actor in this Star Trek franchise portrays the famous characters beautifully. It’s clear this is Pine and Quinto’s film, but the new villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch is beyond amazing. It’s hard to be the newbie and compete with other actors on screen, but Cumberbatch is incredible in this role. His voice and presence will exceed fans’ expectations. The British actor gives multiple layers to the villain, which is the brilliance of his performance. He makes the audience care for his character and understand why he is doing this to the star fleet.
As much as Into Darkness is a fantastic film, it doesn’t quite top Star Trek. The reason the 2009 film is better than the sequel is because the screenplay allows for more character development and it is less action-heavy. Some of the best scenes in both films involve just a simple conversation between two characters. My favorite scenes in Into Darkness were of Kirk and Spock just talking and joking around. The pair’s chemistry is what grounds the sequel and as an audience, we love coming back to them and seeing what they are going to get into next.
The visuals are striking, Giacchino’s score dazzles, Abrams goes lens-flare crazy, and the actors exceed expectations in continuing their characters. Cumberbatch proves he is a force to be reckoned with in this sequel, no pun intended.
- Rated: PG-13
- Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Release Date: 5/16/2013
- Directed by: J.J. Abrams
- Starring: Alice Eve, Anton Yelchin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine, John Cho, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana
- Written by: Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci
- Studio: Paramount Pictures