Into Darkness: A Fanboy’s Review of a Star Trek Movie

Star Trek Into Darkness Poster

Star Trek Into Darkness: The newest Star Trek movie from J.J. Abrams

2013 is shaping up to be a great year for fans of science fiction. With Iron Man 3 being as cool as it is, Oblivion out in theaters and several other exciting titles coming up such as Elysium, Gravity, and several other titles in the works, fans of the genre are going to be spoiled.

The highlight of the year, so far, is Star Trek: Into Darkness. This latest movie of the franchise is again directed by J.J Abrams and in short, it delivered.

Star Trek Into Darkness is a must see for Trekkies as well as science fiction and movie lovers everywhere. It was a great experience watching this movie; one of the most entertaining experience I’ve had from science fiction lately.

Let me begin this review by a disclaimer: I’m a Star Wars fanboy. Always have been, always will be. I was never much into Star Trek, although I did enjoy certain series and the movies. While friction had always existed between trekkies and fanboys – understandable due to trekkies’ innate insecurity stemming from the absolute badassery of the Star Wars Expanded Universe – we are above all else science fiction fans. And Into Darkness delivered that in spades.

While I would not call it hard science fiction, Into Darkness delivered what the audience would expect from a Star Trek movie and more. The space scenes were wonderfully done. Definitely worth going to see it at an IMAX theater. The battle scenes were thrilling. The fight scenes were brutal and sharp; something I did not expect from a Star Trek film. There is one scene that, without resorting to spoilers, made me gape in awe and grinned widely. You’ll know what it is when you see it. As an action-scifi movie, it was very well made. Very nicely done.

The story itself was satisfying. Sure, hardcore trekkies will pretty much know what’s what from the beginning, but it still retains its mysteries to the very end. The twists and turns of the plot were nicely carried by well acted, well developed characters. Of course the first movie did wonders in pre-developing these characters for you. The main protagonists are pretty much the same: Capt. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura. And that little alien dude that is always with Scotty although he really didn’t do much of anything. Aside from Spock’s dive into (a little more) emotions, there were really nothing new in them.

Where the movie shined, however, was its villain. As is always in Space Operas in particular, and action-thrillers in general, the villains make the movie. The often one dimensional protagonists (really, unless you want to bring in an anti-hero – which does not fit the Star Trek universe) needs to be offset by a multidimensional, passionate villain. Someone you can root for if you’re like me and have always rooted for the bad guys (because they’re so cool! I mean Empire vs. Rebels? Come on!). Someone you can respect. And in this respect, Benedict Cumberbatch takes the whole damn cake.

I cannot say much about his character. You’ll have to find out yourself. BUT what I can say is that he played it perfectly. He’s at once touching and ruthless. Inspiring and terrifying. The only thing I wish J.J. Abrams did better was to introduce a deeper back story to his character. A motivation to his actions. However, that is no reason to fret. Cumberbatch pulled it off with gusto. Definitely one of the best villains of the year. Actually the best villain of the year so far.

One thing you’ll notice from this movie is that while it manages to satisfy the trekkies with its nods to the Star Trek saga, it will also engage those in the audience who are non-fans. If you like action sci-fi, you’ll definitely like this one.

Star Trek Into Darkness is definitely a nice sequel. Its big, its loud, the effects are impeccable and the story is engaging enough. The characters are believable, well developed and likable – even the villain. Yes, it does have that ‘yet-another-big-budget-scifi-movie’ feel, especially with all the action going on, but hell, it entertained me. A Star Wars fanboy. If you’re a fan of science fiction, you don’t want to miss this one.

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