First things first, it’s going to be pretty hard to put my thoughts of Star Trek Into Darkness into writing without mentioning certain plot points.

So if you want to see the film without knowing anything, I’d advise you to look away now.

Star Trek Into Darkness poster

Star Trek Into Darkness poster

What J.J. Abrams, Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman achieved with the previous Star Trek flick was remarkable.

A solid sci-fi actioner that not only paid its due respect to what had gone before, but also set our favourite cast of space explorers on a new timeline where anything could happen.

In other words, all bets are off.

It’s a shame then that this opportunity to explore strange new worlds is somewhat sidelined in an effort to pay even further respect to what has gone before.

In this case, the plot line that Into Darkness owes an element of debt to is the classic Star Trek episode Space Seed and then later on, The Wrath of Khan.

While imitation is the best form of flattery, the simple fact of the matter is that Star Trek Into Darkness lacks the emotional punch of Nicholas Meyer’s Wrath of Khan.

Having said that, Star Trek Into Darkness is not a bad film by any means.

It picks up in spectacular style with the Enterprise crew on a mission to save the indigenous inhabitants of the class M planet, Nibiru, from an exploding volcano.

The well paced script handles the ensemble of characters very deftly, with each individual having their moment in the light (and yes, the obligatory J.J. Abrams lens flare here and there)

And the cast of regular characters are as solid as they were in the first film, echoing their predecessors excellently.

With Chris Pine’s Kirk and Zachary Quinto’s Spock once again logging heads over logic, loyalty and common sense, their characters are very much the heart of the story and it’s nice to see the writers continue to develop this relationship and unlikely friendship.

Throw in Zoe Saldana’s Uhura, the concerned love interest of Mr Spock and there is some nice chemistry going on between the three characters.

In terms of comic relief, Karl Urban is once again spot on as the cynically blunt Bones, while Simon Pegg is ever reliable as Scotty, who even has a dramatic moment of moral conflict.

As for the newcomers, Alice Eve’s Carol Marcus is somewhat swept to the side and never really given much to do. But having said that, with everything going on in the story it makes one wonder if certain plot lines regarding her character where left on the cutting room floor for pacing reasons.

Benedict Cumberbatch while a bit on the hammy side at times, lends his screen presence and dulcet tones as the mysterious villain of the piece, John Harrison.

While overemphasising every syllable, you’re never too sure of his intensions, and with that uncertainty his presence brings an enigmatic menace to the proceedings.

While the story doesn’t lend itself to show much of the unknown elements of the Star Trek universe, we do get glimpses of other races and potential villains, particularly the Klingons, who finally get their debut in the rebooted universe in a move that will most likely set them up as the big baddie for the next instalment.

The action sequences are evenly spread throughout the film, meaning it’s not a non-stop headache and while the third act may drag in places, the film does wrap everything up rather nicely.

Boldly going over familiar territory.

Ultimately though Star Trek Into Darkness is at times a bit too self referential and for the average fan, it can be a jarring experience – on several occasions it had me thinking about how good The Wrath of Khan is in comparison, while in all honesty I was trying my best to enjoy Star Trek Into Darkness for what it was.

But now the introductions are out of the way, it’ll be nice if the series can get back to doing what it did before, essentially what it did best and boldly go where no Star Trek film has gone before.

[rating=3]

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.