Review from a Movie Novice: Star Trek: Into Darkness

Warning: This article has spoilers. If you haven’t seen Star Trek, go see it, and then come read this immediately after, if you have a smartphone, load this up on it and then read it while the credits are rolling. Go. See it now.

I’ve said it many times throughout my blogs and on the podcast: I’m a huge Star Trek fan. I grew up watching Captain Picard and the Enterprise D’s adventures. I grew up learning about the Star Trek Universe, and how everything was connected from the original Enterprise all the way through to Voyager. When JJ Abram’s version of Star Trek came out in 2009, I remember walking out of that theater upset. I was mad that they had gone so blatantly against the canon of the original universe. It wasn’t until after a talk with dear old dad, who loved the move, and is a bigger Star Trek fan than I’ll ever be, that I realized the purpose: It was a reboot, and now they can do whatever they want with the Star Trek universe without having to stick to a rigid history. After that eye opening realization, I saw it again, realized how good it was, and became excited for the possibilities in upcoming movies.


Into Darkness kept the action and fun coming at all times, and had so many minute details that only the hardcore trekkie would catch. Things like Kirk telling Chekov to “go put on a red shirt,” and Chekov recoiling in horror at the thought cracked me up (even if I was one of the only ones laughing in the theater), the delightful switching of characters from Star Trek II, having Kirk die in the radiation-filled warp core instead of Spock, and the infamous “KAHHHHNNNN!” line being spoken by Spock instead of Kirk really made it feel like a brand new movie that I’d seen before…if that makes sense.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s representation of Khan stole the show for me, as we finally get to see what it meant when Khan referred to himself as a “genetically superior” being, instead of just being Ricardo Montalbon in a vest. Anytime you see a human being able to crush another man’s skull with his bare hands, we know that we have someone to reckon with. We were able to see the superhuman take down an entire group of Klingons practically by himself, and then show his loyalty to his companions by surrendering at the mention of a possible threat. It made you feel that this wasn’t just an evil person, just one who was conditioned to think a certain way and he would do anything he could to achieve his goals. By the way, I’m not sorry if I just spoiled the fact that Khan and Klingons are in this movie, I warned you there were spoilers, and if you didn’t listen, that’s your fault.

On that note, one of the best aspects of Into Darkness, for those of us who did not seek out spoilers, was the fact that you didn’t know what the main conflict would be until nearly halfway into the movie. Spock nearly dies in the first 10 minutes of the film, and Kirk goes from thinking he’ll get promoted and then smacked down to commander again after filing a false report. Of course, everything works out for Kirk in one way or another, as he is back to captain again in a matter of about 10 minutes (even though the method of his promotion might have caused a few tears to be shed). Then the Enterprise is sent off to Klingon space to retrieve a terrorist (Khan), and the audience is left thinking that the Klingons would be the main antagonist. Of course, they are not, The federation itself is the main antagonist. Rather, one admiral hell bent on War.

We're goin down fast!
We’re goin down fast!

Abrams is doing a masterful job at using his new universe he created in the first Star Trek film to recreate aspects of the original series in a completely different way. The fact that Vulcan was destroyed has now lead to the federation being more concerned with defense and warships, leading to Admiral Marcus (the aforementioned admiral) finding and using the superhumans to fight the Klingons. This means that Khan is introduced to the Enterprise much faster than in the original series, the federation is no longer the Utopian society that we are used to, and the words Botany Bay no longer have relevance in this universe. Also, apparently it was totally fine to have half of San Francisco destroyed and countless lives lost. What a universe that we live in.

Overall, this is one of the better Star Trek movies I’ve seen. (For those interested, I’d rate the top ones as such: First Contact, II, Into Darkness, IV, Nemesis, III and the new Star Trek. At the bottom of this list is Generations…what an awful movie). As my dad said, “I give this 4 phaser blasts out of 5.” I’ll do a little better, and say 4.5 stars out of 5. Definitely go see this, even if you aren’t a trekkie.


8 thoughts on “Review from a Movie Novice: Star Trek: Into Darkness

  1. I like how your dad intentionally or unintentionally adopted my review scoring method. Nice review! I loved it. I would give it five, but I can see where there were a couple of small holes and missteps.

  2. Nice review. I totally agree that Abrams is doing an awesome job with the franchise.

    I’ve heard that people have walked out of this film over the Wrath of Khan stuff, but I just took it as an overdone homage. I would’ve preferred a subtler homage… yet even so, I loved how the reversal scene fit with Kirk’s character arc so well! It would have been even better if they hadn’t brought him back to life 10 minutes later; that kind of cheapened it for me.

    Still, I loved the film, and I agree that Cumberbatch’s performance was amazing here. And even though I prefer the 2009 film to this one, I liked Kirk better this time around. It was stressful watching everybody question him; I felt for him in this one!

    1. Agreed, although i was okay with the revival only because it added another layer to the action scene, something this series does better than almost everything else out there. Whether it’s the drill scene in the first one, or the “space hatch” scene in this one, there are always multiple things happening at once, and everyone’s success is tied to one another’s. Kirk’s revival is another example. So, Spock, not only do you have to chase down Khan, you have to defeat him without killing him, while Bones works frantically to preserve Kirk’s brain function. They fit so much in, which is why these are so fun.

  3. I was thinking the same thing, about putting in the subtle nods to the fans of the original series; with the role reversal of Kirk’s death, the infamous “KHAN!” being yelled, and even having the tribble make an appearance. I thought the movie was excellent, but if I had to critique on something, it would have to be the over played moments of defeat, or doubt in the beginning of the movie. I couldn’t explain in detail, but it seemed like they played the ‘all hope is lost’ card frequently, and for me, I knew that it was going to be resolved due to the trailers and fact it was the beginning of the film. Other then that, I think Abrams has a good grasp on what direction he wants to take the Star Trek franchise. It’s almost like a major motion picture fan fiction film series.

  4. Here’s a question I wanted to fetter (fetter?) to everyone here – was the Khan payoff worth the misdirection, or would they have been better off (from a marketing and/or critical standpoint just being up front with it, especially when a lot of fans suspected this anyways?

    1. For me personally…it didn’t matter. I never watch trailers of movies I’m excited about merely because I don’t want to know what happens and I want to be surprised. However, I feel that they did this the right way. So many fans know about Khan that it was a good moment of shock when we found out it was him, but the casual fans out there who aren’t as familiar with Khan wouldn’t have cared or known about Khan’s legacy enough. I think they did it a great way, and should keep the mystery up going forward.

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