I am a long-time Star Trek fan. I watched The Original Series in re-runs in the 70s/80s. I've seen every Original Series movie scores of times. I watched The Next Generation in college like it was a religion. I saw all of The Next Generation films. Deep Space 9 was another can't miss series which I'm re-watching currently (and is my favorite series after TOS). Voyager, for me, is where the franchise started to go south. I watched the first four seasons and then stopped. Enterprise, with its pre-Kirk time setting never appealed to me, so I never watched it.
With that background established, I am a huge fan of the original cast. HUGE fan. When JJ Abrams started down the path of making more movies about these characters, I was resistant.
I didn't like the first film. The entire idea of alternate timelines and multiple Spocks… blah. And when word crept out that they were going to deal with the Khan storyline, the best of all the Star Trek films to date, I admit I was fairly angry.
I think that Zachary Quinto does an excellent job with Spock. It's his own interpretation combined with a lot of deference to Nimoy's portrayal. I feel the same way about Karl Urban's Bones - I see him honoring Kelley's Bones with his interpretation. Simon Pegg is a brilliant Scotty. Zoe Saldana is excellent as Uhura, though she isn't given a lot to do in either film.
It's Chris Pine. Ugh. He comes across as ungainly in the role of Kirk. He's missing the charm and hero-to-the-rescue bravado of Shatner's Kirk. It's very hard to like any film where he's the central character.
And yet… I found myself enjoying Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who I'm fairly sure at this point can do no wrong, was an excellent Khan. I thought he was underdeveloped and underused in the film, but in a big budget action film like this you can only expect so much character development. I liked that Bones had his moments, Uhura had a solid couple of scenes, and Spock was central as much as Kirk was. And all the extra story they gave to Scotty was delightful.
There were touches of humor in the film that were reminiscent of the original series, and I appreciate moments of levity amongst all of the explosions and combat. The opening scene, where Bones and Kirk are running from natives was amusing. Sulu's enjoyment of the captain's chair was a nice touch.
Things I didn't like:
- I think the scenes of Chekov running engineering weren't humorous.
- The Carol-Marcus-in-underwear scene could have been left out entirely.
- The reversal death scene between Kirk and Spock wasn't moving at all.
- Spock's "Khaaaaaan" was… ugh.
- Khan's blood can cure death? Really? And they just put him back on ice? Wouldn't the blood of all of his fellow supermen do the same thing? Then why go get Khan?
- Kirk was resurrected in the same film. At least Star Trek II had the guts to keep Spock dead until Star Trek III.
I wish there had been a Botany Bay. Or some references to Moby Dick.
But overall, this was a good effort. I am looking forward to the next film in the franchise. Something I could not have said after 2009's Star Trek.