It’s been four years since we were introduced to the newest crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and fans have been clamoring for more “Star Trek” since its release.
Director J.J. Abrams made us wait, that’s for certain, but this sequel is an incredibly strong follow-up to the 2009 release that grossed more than $250 million domestically. “Star Trek: Into Darkness” is, in fact, an improvement on its predecessor in nearly every conceivable way.
The first film gave us an origin story for our heroes, not to mention a pretty evil Eric Bana, and the world was happy for it. “Into Darkness” is driven by strong performances from its leads, with the greatest coming not from the captain of the Enterprise, but his first officer.
Zachary Quinto as Spock is the standout performance in this film. He’s taken a character that has historically been unable to show emotion and given it personality. Whereas Leonard Nimoy’s Spock always felt completely serious, with his “jokes” having an absolute deadpan feel to them, Quinto’s Spock speaks with an even keel that often hides a certain sarcasm.
When asked early on if he’s giving attitude, Quinto responds, “I am expressing multiple attitudes simultaneously. To which are you referring?” It’s classic Vulcan, but even simple lines like that are deftly delivered by Quinto. You won’t forget him when this one’s over, that’s for certain.
Chris Pine is good as Captain James T. Kirk as well, and he and Quinto continue to play off each other brilliantly. The animosity they had for one another in the first film has given way to a friendship, but it’s tested several times throughout “Into Darkness.” It’s incredibly fun to watch these two men, bound by a common mission, struggle with each other to complete it in the best way possible.
Of course, a film is often only as good as its villain and Benedict Cumberbatch delivers an incredible performance as Kirk’s nemesis. He plays John Harrison, a former agent of Starfleet who commits an act of terrorism against it that is the impetus for Kirk’s mission.
Cumberbatch is most famous for his role in the BBC series “Sherlock Holmes,” but when he puts on his bad guy face it is something special. His sneer is something out of a horror movie, but he’s even more intimidating when he’s speaking with an even voice. There’s lots to enjoy about Cumberbatch, but you’ll have to see it yourself to really get the gist of his performance.
The supplemental performances from the rest of the crew are on point as well. Bones (Karl Urban) is back with his trademark sarcasm and banter. Simon Pegg as Scotty continues his hilarious dialogue as well. Uhura, played by Zoe Saldana, is there to add some beauty to the screen, this time with the help of newcomer Alice Eve, who plays Carol. You’ll find out she has a couple of last names, but giving one of them out would spoil a key plot point.
Speaking of the plot, it’s incredibly interesting. There are some plot holes that diehard Trekkies won’t like, but for the vast majority, they’re easily glossed over at warp speed. Some stuff gets changed around and some people aren’t who they say they are, but it’s hard not to enjoy this film.
These new “Star Trek” movies don’t slow down. That’s one of the best parts about them. And for those that will become upset when certain things don’t happen like they should, remember that they actually did happen. The previous “Star Trek” film acknowledged that these characters are operating in a different timeline than the films from the 1980s. Everything that happened in those films happened, and now we’re getting a new set of stories in an entirely new timeline. What’s so wrong with that?
It’s not a perfect movie, but “Star Trek Into Darkness” feels like it’s almost there. With some movies, you worry that you’re going to get all sizzle and no steak, but this movie has tons of meat to sink your teeth into. Truthfully, this film is probably going to outshine its predecessor. You don’t have to go to space (you know, the final frontier), but you should definitely go to your nearest movie theater and see this film … twice.