REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Into Darkness'

As a life long Trek fan, I was initially nervous of a new reboot/retcon Star Trek movie back in 2009. Having to recast all the parts, it seemed to be doomed for failure, with the exception of a couple of roles (that being Zachary Quinto as Spock and Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard McCoy). But this was not the case, and when the film was released, it made me fall in love with Trek all over again. While not as dramatic and action oriented as the original films and TV series, they took some of the best parts of the franchise and made them "cool" to the modern audiences going to the theater today. So how did its sequel fair?

Into Darkness is a worthy sequel to J.J. Abrams first attempt at the 'Star Trek' franchise. Overall the story arc was a little lacking, with the plot being slightly predictable, but individual performances are what made this movie work. Chris Pine has definitely learned from his first go around with the legendary Kirk character that you need more emotion, more vigor, more rage. He has epitomized the "space cowboy" aspect that is James T. Kirk; Shoot first, ask questions later. Zachary Quinto also ups his game with another fantastic portrayal of Commander Spock, putting all those notions of Vulcans being heartless robots to rest. His later scenes with Kirk and his chasing of Benedict Cumberbatch's "John Harrison" are some of the defining pieces of his role in this film. That level of excruciating emotion from a character that typically doesn't show it definitely hits you where it hurts.

But in the end, it's Benedict Cumberbatch that shines brightest and steals the show. While many had predicted it but no one confirmed, Cumberbatch's character name of "John Harrison" was actually just a false name to hide his true identity of Khan Noonien Singh, the iconic superhuman protagonist from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. While Ricardo Montalban was a great and unforgettable Khan, I believe Cumberbatch completely out does him in every way. From the voice, the posture, and the ferocity, he completely outshines every one of his castmates. His scene on Kronos, the Klingon homeworld, where he dispatches a Klingon patrol single-handedly is awe-inspiring. His cold stare at Kirk while being repeatedly beaten on and not flinching at the end of that scene gives you chills beyond compare. He shows an unmatched fury in his scenes, prevalent from his Sherlock days, that makes it easy to see why they chose him for this part.

Recomendation: Both fans of Trek and even non-fans should enjoy this film, and I highly encourage them to go see it. I will be more than happy to plop down another $7.50 to see this movie again in theaters.

Is it Theater-Worthy?: There are only three films I have ever paid to see in the theater more than once ever. The Avengers, Star Trek (2009), and The Hobbit. That will probably change with Into Darkness & Iron Man 3. (Frank's Translation: Yes indeed!)

Final Thoughts: Overall, Star Trek Into Darkness is great film in my opinion. While the plot itself is not that deep and several characters are relegated to background duties (I'm looking at you Uhura and Bones), the individual performances are what sells it. We even see a little fan boy service here, from the introduction of Dr. Carol Marcus (Kirk's future wife and mother of his child), to hints of the eventual promotion of Hikaru Sulu as a Starfleet Captain, and even talk of Gorn! While Into Darkness is not a complete reboot of Wrath, it takes the key elements of it and makes it its own film.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

Until Next Time, Peace!