REVIEW SYNOPSIS: Though it starts strongly, the sophomore journey of the fresh-faced crew of the starship Enterprise covers too little new ground.
SYNOPSIS: When a rogue Starfleet agent attacks a secret archive, Captain James T. Kirk is tasked with hunting him down and terminating him.
PROS: Good opening sequence; strong interaction between Kirk and Spock; good turns by Karl Urban and John Cho.
CONS: Anemic, especially in its revelations; far too derivative of the previous movie; laughable emotional sequences; action scenes that drag on far too long.
Star Trek Into Darkness, director J. J. Abrams’s follow-up to 2009’s Star Trek, is everything its predecessor was, only too much more so. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, though several good things work in its favor. Abrams’s gamble with making over Gene Roddenberry’s classic space opera with a new perspective on a much-beloved universe and fresh faces on seasoned characters reaped a handsome payoff, though astute audience members wondered if he could sustain what often seemed a one-picture trick. They had a right to question how a crop of young actors possibly could play roles so identified with elder thespians that they wove their dramatic tics into the fabric of their characters. Loyal fans, by contrast, knowing the full future history of the United Federation of Planets and the floor plans of the NCC-1701 U.S.S. Enterprise down to the last rivet, expressed honest trepidation at possible revisions to Roddenberry’s timeline, to say nothing of its philosophical underpinnings. The resulting Star Trek was an entertaining if occasionally brainless affair, balancing well the expectations of both a summer movie crowd and faithful Trekkers despite dangling plot lines and scientific rationales bent into configurations that would snap the most pliable rubber.
But it worked even after the novelty wore off, and proffered challenges for a sequel. Could Abrams and company make a follow-up that was less cluttered with the need to make the new timeline work and more focused on the things that made Roddenberry’s utopian vision compelling—namely, character and story?
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