It's lame and sort of geeky to compare franchise apples to oranges. Oh, well. "
Yes, the film culminates in a vicious fistfight that goes on slightly longer than forever. Yes, it's brazenly dependent on our collective (and justified) fond memories of the best of the first-round
Director J.J. Abrams' film arrives four years after his successful 2009 "Star Trek" reboot. The opening is straight out of
Life on Earth in the 23rd century involves much of the same peril as life outside the multiplex or Imax auditorium in the early 21st. A massively destructive act of terrorism sets into motion a tale that leads, early on, to an attack on Starfleet, apparently from within; a test of leadership for Kirk; the introduction of a formidable adversary (
Abrams has a real knack for the cliffhanger; most action movies offer a series of insane life-and-death scrapes, and in that regard "Star Trek Into Darkness" resembles most action movies. Yet Abrams varies the game. The various "10 seconds to destruction!" scenarios generate real suspense. An ultrafast space flight, with Kirk zipping through the nothingness trying to avoid getting clocked by orbiting space debris, clearly was designed with the gamer in mind — but the scene is tasty on its own, as is the sequence in which our heroes must crash-land with split-millisecond timing onto a runway without writing themselves out of the next "Star Trek" movie.
Zachary Quinto, as Spock, turns into the rock-'em-sock-'em Vulcan in Abrams' latest. I think it's a mistake; or rather, I think the final 20 minutes or so grind on past their usefulness. But it's not enough to kill the fun, which is often exhilarating.
Abrams favors the extreme eyebrow-to-chin close-up in simple two-person dialogue scenes, yet his camera has an unfashionable mobility in its favor, which makes the entire thing breathe more easily. I liked the 2009 outing; I liked this one a tick more.
Postscript: Cumberbatch's way with ... a precise ... yet unexpected ... pause rivals that of Alan Rickman in the "