Friday, May 17, 2013
Star Trek Into Darkness Review
I have never been a big Trek guy. Do not get me wrong. Like any self respecting lover of sci-fi/fantasy I grew up with a healthy appreciation for the franchise. That can mostly be accredited to my Dad, who could almost never clean his fish tank or do anything productive around the house on Sunday afternoons without an episode of 'Next Generation' going on the t.v. This was my very first exposure to the world of Star Trek. I had never been that familiar with the original 1960's series, and have yet to really sit down and watch one of the feature length films starring the original cast all the way through. Shameful, I know. What can I say, I just always thought light sabers were way cooler than phasers and that the breathtaking aerial maneuvers of a squadron of X-Wings facing off against a fleet of Ti Fighters was a lot more fun to watch than the sluggish, submarine type warfare of The Enterprise going up against a Klingon warship.
Prior to the summer of 2009 my ambivalence toward Star Trek was pretty much a direct reflection of the current social malaise the franchise had seemed to run itself afoul of after a handful of disappointing feature films and a general lack of excitment having to do with any new material they were putting out on t.v. Then J.J. Abram's 'Star Trek' came out and changed everything. Fresh, exciting, and infinately entertaining, Star Trek 2009 achieved the nearly impossible task of satisfying longtime devotees of the classic television series while at the same time birthing a new generation of Trek enthusiasts.
Now in the newly released sequel to the popular 2009 reboot, titled 'Star Trek: Into Darkness,' we are thrown back into the action with Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock, Dr. Leonard "Bones" Mccoy and the rest of the crew of The Enterprise as they continue their ongoing mission of exploring new worlds, sometimes, as in the film's rapid paced, Indiana Jones-like opening, with unintended, ideology altering consequences.
After some initial re-introduction to the characters we grew attached to in the first film, the story really gets going when a Starfleet archive center is destroyed in a suspected terrorist attack perpetrated by a mysterious figure only known by the alias of "John Harrison" who, lo and behold, happens to be a former member of the organization itself. When escalation of Harrison's vendetta against Starfleet exacts a personal toll on Kirk, the impaulsive and hotheaded young Captain volunteers to lead a revenge mission to the planet Harrison is taking refuge on to either execute or retrieve the rogue officer. But of course, things are not what they seem...
As with the 2009 film, the entire cast of The Enterprise shines in their respective roles. Chris Pine once again perfectly embodies the trademark swagger and charm of James T. Kirk while adding a fresh and uncharacterisic dimension of uncertainty and vulnerability to the character who, in a dramatic departure from the punk kid who gets everything he wants at the end of the last movie, actually has to earn the vaunted position of Captain this time around after meeting his match in the formiddable John Harrison. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a downright frightening and venemous performance as the imposable and enigmatic "John Harrison." As far as I am concerned, this guy can write his own ticket for any role he wants to play in an eventual Batman reboot or 'Man of Steel' sequel. Zachary Quinto again perfectly portrays Spock, a being of pure logic who in spite of coming across as nearly robotic at times allows his decisions to be based increasingly out of the most primal of emotions as the stakes are raised, the body count gets higher, and the people he cares about most are threatened.
As with its 2009 predecessor, 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' is certain to thrill both new and returning fans of the mythology alike. All of the great effects, action, drama, and humor that were so prevalent in the initial outing have returned tenfold in the highly anticipated and overdue follow up. But most of all, it is the further exploration of the relationships and family dynamic of the crew that really makes 'Into Darkness' shine as we learn just how much the characters need each other to achieve the kind of greatness they would never be able to reach on their own.