I have barely ever heard of Star Trek before. Weird, I know, but I don’t watch science fiction films that often. The reason I decided to watch this movie is Benedict Cumberbatch, one of my favourite actors, the star of BBC’s Sherlock TV series. No regrets there; I enjoyed most of the film.
Into the Darkness is a sequel to the 2009 Star Trek, but thankfully I was able to understand the plot easily. The first few minutes of the film Captain Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) and First Officer Spock (Zachary Quinto) are running through a brightly coloured alien jungle, trying to save a planet from a volcano eruption. This violates the laws of the Star Fleet and gets Jim into trouble, but he’s the main character so, of course, it turns out OK. The plot doesn’t quite slow down until the very end. There’s lots of action throughout the film and I would normally be disappointed by such a fast pace, were it not for the complex, mysterious, menacing antagonist Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). He was perfectly written and perfectly portrayed. I expected a lot from Benedict and he not only met my expectations – he surpassed them.
I recall David Letterman’s interview with Benedict Cumberbatch, where the former commented on a scene from the movie: ‘No offense to the rest of the cast, but you really don’t need much more than you.’ I agree.
Jim Kirk didn’t quite strike me as a hero. Just the usual protagonist who always saves the day. I loved Spock and his overly serious demeanour, but the best and most prominent character, in my opinion, was Khan. He is a superhuman terrorist, bent on getting revenge on Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) and with good reason. The Admiral was the real bad guy, but I found him quite shallow, and most of his actions didn’t make sense. For me, Khan much easier to sympathise with than the protagonists, and I rarely feel that way about a villain. The other characters were amusing, mainly Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) and Scotty (Simon Pegg), but I felt the film only revolved around Jim and Khan. Personally, I would have loved to see more of Uhara (Zoe Saldana), Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) and Hikaru Sulu (John Cho).
Another disappointment is the resurrection of Jim at the end. After getting a large dose of radiation, he is considered dead. Ironically, Khan’s special, inhuman blood saves him, but this possibility was revealed too early in the film, so I didn’t believe for one second that Jim was really going to stay dead.
Other than that I was satisfied. There’s action, tension, a good villain and a sense of foreboding all throughout the film. J.J. Abrams did a good job. I think most people will enjoy it.
My rating: 9/10