Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Directed by J.J Abrams. With Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Alice Eve, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Peter Weller and Bruce Greenwood.
Surprisingly, it has been four years since we first met J.J Abrams’ sexy, rebooted crew of the U.S.S Enterprise. In that time, you might be forgiven for not fully being able to recall exactly what happened first time around. The good news is, that doesn’t really matter…much.
Without wasting a second or pausing for breath, Into Darkness hurls us head-first into the chaos in a scene that owes a huge debt to Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. From then on, we get reacquainted with our old/new friends as the plot centres on a terrorist attack in future London – spot the Gherkin.
What’s pleasing about Into Darkness is that it is fun…lots of fun. Abrams continues where he left off by keeping his film accessible and quick-witted. For the die-hard Trekkie, the tone might still be too much brawn and not enough brain, but given the track record of the odd/even numbered cinematic Treks, it’s a relief to finally get some consistency into the universe. In terms of character development, Chris Pine’s Captian Kirk is ‘as you were’. Arrogant and still with an eye for the ladies, Pine lacks the out-and-out charisma of William Shatner’s iconic turn, but leads the line firmly in a physically demanding role.
The truth is, Into Darkness (whatever that means) isn’t trying to be The Empire Strikes Back; it’s intention is to engage warp-speed and visually thrill your pants off, and for the most part, it succeeds. If there’s a show stealer here though, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s good old fashioned bad guy, John Harrison. The Brit actor revels in the role and brings a gravity to outer space that takes the film to a higher level whenever he’s on screen. From the delivery of the lines, to the presence and physicality of the performance, Cumberbatch is a great addition. Also, and once again Zachary Quinto’s Spock is the pick of the Enterprise bunch. It’s been said before, but if ever an actor was born to play a role…
Getting full value out of Into Darkness, beneath the surface of its light hearted, lens flared and colourful exterior might require a Star Trek history lesson. There are important things that happened in older movies that many younger viewers will never have seen, but for them, there’s the fun of the discovery later down the line and for those of us who need no introduction, there’s a sense of satisfaction that this alternate universe Trek is working out a lot better than anyone dared dream. 3.5/5