Cinema Review – Star Trek Into Darkness

WARNING: Contains one spoiler!

The crew of the Enterprise take on John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) after he attacks Star Fleet and goes on the run.

It is no exaggeration to say that Star Trek Into Darkness is one of the mostly highly anticipated films of the year. We lucky critics have been given a couple of sneak peeks at the footage over the last 6 months and it looked as though everything was gearing up for a massively exciting sequel to J.J. Abrams’s 2009 film.

Benedict Cumberbatch has created one of the most deliciously evil villains of recent years – fans of his work would expect nothing less – but while he has some of the best lines in the film, there are definitely some moments of scenery chewing, and not always in a good way.

Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana all reprise their roles from the first film and do so with aplomb – although some have more to do than others – and Simon Pegg’s Scotty gets a nice little side story that is a little bit Star Wars-y, but gives the character some action and some great lines.

Director J.J. Abrams has obviously felt the pressure of following on from his incredibly well received first film and, without the hassle of having to introduce a whole cast of characters, had a lot of time in which to do it. The director’s trademarks are all there – watch out for buckets of lens flare – and it is obvious that everyone had a great time during the making of the film. The set pieces are extraordinary; grandiose and darn loud, as well as being a lot of fun.

The story is actually rather simple; after terrorist attacks on Star Fleet the crew of the Enterprise set out to bring the fugitive John Harrison to justice. Of course it twists and turns along the way, and part of the problem with the film is how much information and action is crammed into the two hour running time. I often complain that films are badly paced and the lag in the middle, but Star Trek Into Darkness is the exact opposite; the issues with the film come from the manic pacing that ultimately has little pay off.

Where the problems lie – other than in the frantic pacing – is with the script; Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman had a wealth of villains to choose from, and the one they chose is a classic and beloved among fans of the franchise. However, plot holes abound, particularly in the final act, and the spectacular action and double crossing ends with a frankly disappointing whimper. That said, there are tons of references in there for the hard core fan, and enough for audiences who are less familiar with Gene Roddenberry’s original series to be entertained.

In all, Star Trek Into Darkness is a visually stunning film that is carried by a strong cast having a great time and a villain that is as cold as the far reaches of outer space. The film is let down by manic pacing and some glaring plot holes that will lead to some interesting arguments on the way out of the cinema.

Rating: 4/5

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