Running Time: 132 minutes
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller
Who to see it with: Someone who likes sci-fi action and adventure
In Star Trek Into Darkness, the crew of the Enterprise pursue a mysterious Starfleet agent after he executes a devastating terrorist attack. I have little experience with Star Trek outside of the 2009 reboot, but what most appeals to me about the franchise is its characters and their clashing moral codes and behavior. The moments that explore and challenge their differences give the story a heart lacking in many big budget movies.
Unfortunately, this is still a mainstream blockbuster, and the story is often weighed down with uninteresting action scenes. There are a few impressive sequences but, aside from decent special effects, the numerous phaser and fist fights aren't much different than what you've seen in most summer blockbusters. Much of the first act is wasted on a seemingly important plot development that is quickly resolved with no consequence. Although the last film's twists surprised me and cleverly used sci-fi tropes to reboot the franchise without disregarding the original story, here they either seemed easily predictable or made me wonder exactly how far ahead the antagonist could have possibly planned (which makes one of his later actions seem unusually shortsighted). If nothing else, Into Darkness has a more engaging villain then Star Trek's Nero.
Into Darkness is a fun adventure with great character interaction and production values, but its heavier focus on action takes away from what makes the Star Trek franchise special. Star Trek (2009) made a much greater impression upon me, but this is still better than the average blockbuster movie.
I agree with everything that Lee said about the plot but I thought the action sequences were pretty fun and imaginative. There was definitely more emphasis on action and effects here but I'm alright with that for a big summer movie. I do wish the characters had some more screen time outside of shooting and I also wish that the first act was more consequential--there was a definite moment for a lot of character development and growth that was wasted to move the plot along. Something that stood out for me was that the movie is 2 hours and 10 minutes and I didn't even notice it. It flew by at warp speed.