Lowdown: Wrath of Khan reincarnated.
Back in 2009, Star Trek provided a rather feeble excuse to reboot the original Star Trek story, with Kirk, Spock et al. And now it’s time for the reboot's sequel.
You know what the formula for a sequel is, right? Don’t bother thinking too much, just press the pedal harder. And that’s exactly what Star Trek Into Darkness brings, from the silly opening action sequence that is so full of things that don’t make sense till the credits come up more than two hours filled with things that make no sense later. It also happens to be a collection of exciting action scenes delivered in a very exciting package filled with cutting edge special effects.
The story doesn’t try to tell us anything new. Essentially, Into Darkness is a reboot of The Wrath of Khan: a super human, now denounced by the rest of humanity on account of his disregard for his inferiors, comes back to take revenge. As things pun out, the crew best positioned to stop this Khan is “ours”: a newly demoted, now promoted Captain Kirk (Chris Pine); the Spock with whom our captain is always in disagreement (Zachary Quinto); the beautiful Uhura (Zoe Saldana) doing the token female role whose most interesting contribution is its romance with Spock; Bones, the doctor in charge of reviving dying characters (Karl Urban); Scotty, the engineer who always complains but then delivers (Simon Pegg); and the Starship Enterprise, the one spaceship that's always there.
Together our heroes will uncover deceptions and traitors in our midst. They will even sort things out after a very September 11 like attack. But while this all things happens, the viewer that bothers to think will not be able to avoid reflecting on the massive lack of sense throughout.
There are positives to Into Darkness other than it being exciting. If you recall your Wrath of Khan, a major character dies at the end of proceedings in order to save the Enterprise entire. That character is later revived, through rather feeble excuses, in the sequel The Search for Spock. Into Darkness twists things around when it comes to that major character dying (I will leave you to determine how original its approach really is), but spares us when it comes to that character inevitable revival. As in, we do not have to wait for the sequel; revival is immediate, even if it is done in a manner as contrived as organised religion. Indeed, finding a cure for death was never less appreciated than in the world of Star Trek.
Overall: For better and for worse, Star Trek Into Darkness is the perfect manifestation of what passes for a popcorn movie during 2013. In other words, highly entertaining bullshit. I give it, rather reluctantly, 3 out of 5 stars.