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Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Of all the box office releases in 2013, this “blockbuster” was the most hyped, most anticipated and if I had to guess, the best “by the numbers.” Having now seen it, I can understand why and 100% approve.

It happened again. On a scouting mission, James “Jim” Kirk (Chris Pine) has taken the rules and ripped them to shreds – he’s called the Federation’s bluff by breaking rules directly from its playbook and though he saved a life; that of his first officer, Spock (Zachary Quinto), he revealed the existence of the Enterprise at great risk. The result of that action has stripped him of his rank. And he has lost the command of the U.S.S Enterprise. This inspires reorganization among ranks and a reinstatement of Pike (Bruce Greenwood) as Enterprise’s captain. Before everyone can report to their new assignments, disaster is in the cards. A known terrorist inside the Federation, a man calling himself John Harrison has attacked the HQ, leaving many dead and Kirk’s anger over the loss of a mentor and direct attack on his comrades enraged.

Granted permission to go after the man, Scotty (Simon Pegg) discovers Intel that he has landed on the one territory that the Enterprise and Federation cannot go. Kirk isn’t about to be stopped by inconvenient rules and in spite of what he is ordered to do, he captures Harrison – who reveals himself as Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), a dangerous assassin – and in so doing, unleashes a dangerous game in which the lives of his crew and the Enterprise walk perilous ground.

When I watched Star Trek this past winter, I thought it was good. When I saw the trailer for this follow-up sequel, my mind was blown – it looked like it was poised to far surpass its first re-booted flick and golly, did it ever! After seeing a movie that seems unbeatable, it’s sometimes impossible for writer’s to match that same feat, fortunately this movie suffers no such fate; seriously, it’s “epic.” It’s a legendary saga that I may not totally understand (referring to the mythology or various planet life and cultures) but this re-booted series is not only fun, it’s grown – in everything. First off the principal photography is gorgeous. Somehow, the mood is more exciting and each frame is reflective of that. Right from the opening sequence to the scenes inside the space ship, this is one production that is memorable – the colors and inventive imagery are brilliant without detracting from what’s always meant to be in the foreground, the characters.  

FILM REVIEW | Star Trek (2009)

Speaking of the characters, let’s chat about them, shall we? I know many fans of the “original” franchise don’t like Kirk. I do. This is for more than one reasons but primary of those is that while he may be a flirt and all-around jerk with women, he is also a man who cares deeply – he doesn’t leave behind friends, he doesn’t take lightly the honor of that friendship and he has proven he’s dependable. Is he a respecter of the rules? No, usually not. Does this make him a bad person? No. Rules are there for a reason and they do have a place in life just the same, had Kirk followed the orders he’d been given, there wouldn’t have been an Enterprise left to defend. Kirk’s primary is protecting those under his command and ‘Into Darkness’ shows that quality off well – he’s grown a lot and by being given a command, he is learning how to be a leader; he’s a hero-in-the-making whom his crew does respect despite his “gut feelings” and one-in-a-million chances. Perhaps he’s not the greatest hero ever written but he is worthy of being called such. In addition to Spock (whom I absolutely love – he’s one of those dudes you want to shake for being so logical all the time while at the same time being that annoying yet important voice of reason), Karl Urban’s Bones and Zoë Saldana’s Uhura are back along with newbies Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) and Cumberbatch. I am not sure if I could manage it or not, but in all likelihood, an entire paragraph or even review could be devoted to the acting and characterization that man gave to said Khan character but really all that seems necessary is this: he was awesome

Heading up the movie is J.J. Abrams who seems to have an excellent comprehension in the telling of these stories – while the 2009 prequel may not have this leaves a lot for us to think about. There are many possible scenarios to be pulled from the script and its conversations. In particular Kirk and Spock have many introspective scenes – Kirk recognizes his weaknesses as strengths in Spock and in spite of hearing the Vulcan’s incessant speeches about doing the “right” thing (which may mean letting one die to save hundreds), Kirk is the man who refuses to justify a death if there is even the smallest chance to save it. In short, as Khan observes, he does have a conscious. It’s that which is remaking Kirk into a leader and not the play boy he was when we met him. Kirk knows how to be a responsible adult, a leader who people can count on, he just doesn’t apply it.

It’s safe to surmise that this movie is near the top of 2013’s favorites list. Working together, this cast is not only a fabulous group of talent, they also have a memorable repertoire of witty on-liners and some poignant moments that work with the humor, not against. Too many films suffer when comingling these two components, this doesn’t. Aptly titled and scripted, ‘Into Darkness’ is many things. There is political reasoning and heroes to cheer for, yet through it all, somehow a sci-fi franchise manages to touch its viewers. Though we aren’t likely to find ourselves on a space ship fighting for humanity, many of the arcs in the story are things we’ll be faced with – in the journey it’s the choice that will determine fate. The Enterprise and her crew learned this at a great cost. Whether or not these are things moviegoers will glean from here, that I cannot answer – as with any sci-fi flick, much of its raw honesty is buried beneath sleek special effects. Cool as they may be, they aren’t Star Trek; it’s the superior writing and moments of significances that is.  

CONTENT: Multiple structures blow up and/or are disintegrated – the climax in particular involves skyscrapers falling to the ground and people running for their lives. Many crew members perish which fighting off attack on the Enterprise [we hear screams and bodies flying through the air]; a women’s leg is broken, various characters are beaten up and shot [men have their necks snapped]. One man takes out multiple teams with high-caliber weapons. There is some minor flirting [Jim is shown – briefly – in bed with two women, another woman strips to her underwear to change]. There is some profanity – sh*t, h*ll and abuse of deity. The film rates PG13.
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  1. Told ya. ;)

    Love this movie. It rectifies the flaws in the first one. Kirk grows up. Spock has his chance to shine. Khan is incredible. Brilliant film.

    1. Yes, yes you did - and now, all that is left to be said is: THANK YOU! :)

      Me, too! It far surpassed my opinion of the first movie, although part of that could be I was more familiar with the characters and the "mythology" - considering I went into movie number one blind. I got the sequel from Amazon a couple weeks ago (had it preordered in a bundle "deal" with some other superhero movies) and finally got around to watching it - it was worth the wait!

      Yes! Everything you said goes for me times two. Didn't talk about Spock much but I LOVE that dude. He's not only brilliant, he's also not the "cold" half-human his character would have us believe. All in all, brilliant movie - one I'll rewatch. :)

    2. I've only gone to see like... two movies this year? This was one of them and I went twice! Loved it. My dad loved it. Even he has seen it more than once. The first movie was great in setting up its universe; this is great in terms of character development and interaction. I've lost interest in a lot of the comic book / sci-fi franchises, but not this one.

      Spock reminds me so much of my brother, it's not even funny anymore. He cracks me up. "YOU VIOLATED THE PRIME DIRECTIVE!" "... he's fine."

      Khan. I've never found Benedict remotely attractive until now. It's a really, really good thing super brilliant men like him don't usually exist, because I'd be in trouble if they did.

    3. I remember you talking about seeing this twice. I can understand why you did. :)

      Now I've seen the sequel before I watch it again, I'm going to have to see the first movie again. Honestly I don't remember everything about it other than that this one was much better! :) Great your dad liked it - mine is much the same with movies, he is willing to watch nearly anything ONCE, after that, he doesn't care to watch it over and over again.

      Still love watching all the superhero flicks. They're sappy. But fun.

      That scene. Oh. My. Word. It was hilarious!

      Nah, we'd keep you grounded from those super brilliant men. Never fear. ;)

    4. After walking out of this movie, I told Carissa that Khan was like catnip for me. She laughed. It's kind of true, though -- I have a really big problem with tall, dark, handsome, diabolical men. ;)

      Kirk can be a bit of a prat in the original -- he's too temperamental and too much of a jerk for my taste, but in this one he matures out and comes into his own. Plus, the villain in this film is much better than the earlier Romulan villain.

    5. LOL, to confess, I had the same reaction as she did; that statement made me giggle! We won't let that become a "bad" thing girl - we'll keep ya' grounded. ;)

      If you are going to make a hero be a jerk (in the beginning), this franchise knows how to mature Kirk; like you say, his change and "growing up" was really quite brilliant in this movie. He kind of evolved into the hero that the Enterprise and the crew needed and yet, it never felt as if he did anything selfishly.

      I cannot speak for the "old" villain but Khan in this is... fantastic. He's not "creepy" in the usual villain cookie-cutter writing... he's brilliant, and chooses to use that for evil.

  2. I loved this movie, even more then the original Khan movie. I'm waiting for the money to buy it so I can watch it again. I'm an original series fan, but even so, I thought this one was well done and loved the new take on the story and characters. It was a lot of fun and Benedict Cumberbach, I loved him as Khan

    1. Oh, yay! It's nice to hear that a fan of the "original" likes this re-boot. I'm so glad, Jack; I've not seen any of those but these new flicks are very entertaining. :)

      Benedict was spot-on brilliance. He may not have been the same as the "old" Khan, but then it doesn't really matter since he was great! :)

      Hope you can see this one again soon - it's one I'll for sure watch again.

  3. :D YAY! I'm so glad you liked it! This has to be one my favorite movies from this year. I loved the writing and the plot. I'm a huge fan of Kirk and practically the whole crew. I liked seeing how they all worked together in this one. As I said when I first saw it, J.J. Abrams can take another three years to write a script for ST3 if he wants. I'm willing to wait. ;D

    1. As am I, Rosie; I cannot believe how awesome this one turned out to be. I excepted more awesomeness than the first film (thanks in part to the trailer and all the awesome people - including you - who chatted about it!) but when the credits rolled, I was probably grinning like a crazy person. ;) It was just that entertaining - plus I LOVED the character's changing and as you said, working together.

      Three years!? But... Rosie, how can we wait that long!? ;)

  4. Oh gosh....I love, love, LOVE this movie! And yeah, while Khan is supposed to be a baddie....come on, it's Benedict we are talking about ;-)

    Need to own this movie

    1. LOL, yes indeed it IS Benedict! I laughed a time or two while watching this movie - just trying to rectify him as Khan and then the brilliant Sherlock. Guess they are similar in that both characters are clever. ;)

      Yay! Hope you get it soon, Ella; it's one I'll for sure rewatch.

    2. Guess what.....saw it on sale at Barnes and Noble today. So what do you think I did? ;)

    3. *High Five*

      Brilliant buy, girl. :)

  5. Benedict. Cumberbatch. I can never get enough and he was most definitely superb in this film. I hope he comes back as Khan since the ending of this film left the possibility open. :)

    1. This movie did leave that possibility open and while he was certainly an excellent villain, all I'd ask is that if there are more than 3 movies, he not continue to crop up! Too many repeat battles can get old. :)

  6. The thing about Kirk is that both versions are dependable and caring and value their friends. It's all that other stuff and the violent nature of the new Kirk that really makes him a hard sell for me. Maybe I'm just too picky or it's been too long since I've seen the movie. I just brought it home from the library so maybe my adoration will be re-stimulated. ;)

    The best thing in this movie, by far, was Benedict Cumberbatch! I mean, seriously, he is so fantastic as a baddie! He makes evil power look soooooo appealing!

    Glad you finally had a chance to see it, Rissi!

    1. See, I guess I haven't "seen" Kirk as violent. Do you mean his tendency to engage in fist fights and the like? I cannot honestly remember everything about the first movie, but in this second one, he actually steps back from violence - refusing to kill Khan though he'd be justified.

      Benedict was brilliant as the baddie! But then, I expected nothing less. ;)

      Thanks - me, too, Carissa; really LOVED this sequel. Certainly more than the first.

      Hope you enjoy the re-watch - let us know what you think! :)

    2. Kirk tries to beat the living hell out of Khan (... and almost hurts himself in the process, lol), which is probably what she means. He was a bit of a jerk in the first movie; I like him a LOT better in this film than the original.

      Of course, the Kirk of the original television show was always in fistfights, too...

    3. Ah, yes. Indeed he does; that's what I assumed Carissa meant also - that he was continuously fighting (fist fights). The guy does get into a LOT of those. ;)

      Yes, Kirk was WAY more of a jerk in movie one. He's matured in 'Darkness' and I like that - it shows a positive side to character development.

  7. I really liked this movie. I liked how you saw more of future earth and how ordinary people lived their lives. I have watched the original Khan movie too and I like the Khan in this one as well as the other one.

    1. Awesome! Great to hear you liked both this and the original, Carlyn. :)

      That futuristic world was neat - it takes a lot of creativity to put all of that together!

  8. Oh I so agree with you about Cumberbatch. Awesome is the perfect word. He's actually the reason I went to see Star Trek...never really been into Star Trek, but I super-love Benedict Cumberbatch so I couldn't pass it up. Now I think I'm a Trekkie and Cumberbatch fan!

    1. Right there with you, Melissa. I never watched any Star Trek either. Then friends kept recommending the first re-booted movie when I began to get into sci-fi so FINALLY I decided to try it. While the first movie was good, I thought this one was much better (have you seen the first one?).

      Benedict *is* a fabulous actor. He's brilliant as Sherlock. He's awesome as Khan. And I suspect, we'll see many more stellar performances in his acting credits. :)

  9. Glad to see you liked this one! I've heard so much about it, but having never seen the original movie, wasn't too desperate to see it. However. Knowing you liked's going on my list. Looks like one I'd enjoy! :)

    1. Yay! Hope you end up liking this franchise, Charity. Having seen the first movie, I can say that it seemed a bit confusing to me likely because I didn't grow up on the "original" >Star Trek, however I did like it and suspect now I've seen the second (and superior) movie, I'll enjoy that first movie even more.

      Let me know what you think if/when you see it. :)

  10. Great review Rissi! I nitpicked the technical details quite a bit in my review of the movie (and while watching the movie *blushes*) but overall I did enjoy it, it was action packed and almost every character had his or her moment to shine. And of course the humour was still there, something that I really enjoyed from the first movie :)

    1. That's okay, Lianne! You called the movie as you saw it and that's just what you should do. I wasn't able to make specific comparisons to the originals because, well, I've not seen them. However for those that have, I know there are some things to quibble over. :)

      I'm glad you enjoyed this one despite some technical issues that disappointed. The humor is really what keeps me enthralled and of course, the acting follows suit. 'Darkness' is my favorite so far - hope a third continues that upwards trend.

  11. First, thank you for giving us such a great review of a truly awesome movie.

    Second, though it took me a little bit longer than it probably should have, I finally got around to watching both this film and the first one recently, and let me tell you, they were definitely worth the wait! While I completely loved the premiere film, I would have to agree with you that Into Darkness is better in every way. Not only is the villain ten times scarier, stronger and more savage than Eric Bana's, due in no small part to Benedict Cumberbatch's brilliant performance, but the quality of the script and characterizations were also off the charts.

    Going in already knowing the basic plot twists, I was looking forward to the scene where Kirk sacrifices himself the most, as I love a bit of angst. However, what I was not at all prepared for was how emotional it made me; I was actually medium hard-core crying, and I pretty much never cry while watching movies! I think I have to put it down to not only fabulous acting, but the fantastic overall development of Kirk and Spock's friendship throughout both films. Coming from a very organic and real place, seeing Spock realise how much Kirk actually means to him, and not being able to shut his emotions off, hit me hard, and was so beautiful and satisfying.

    That being said, Bones and Scotty were definitely my favorite characters in the first film (largely because of who the actors are that play them, I'll admit), and they proved why yet again in Into Darkness, adding some wonderful levity. I am very much looking forward to seeing where the crew of the Enterprise get taken in the third film!

    God Bless
    Eleanor Rose

    1. Hi, Eleanor! (My apologies for taking so long to publish/reply to this comment.)

      Thank you for being a reader and for commenting.

      As I remembering it, this film was crazy good. Of course, as you say, Benedict may have something to do with that. Also, I think being a newbie to the franchise made me all the more curios about this world. I loved every second of it though I think I'll stick with this new re-book series rather than get pulled into the classic. ;)

      I NEVER cry why watching films either. Though of late, I have gotten teary-eyed more often than I did as a teen. Must be getting "old." ;)

      Kirk's and Spock's friendship is the highlight of this series (for me). I haven't warmed to Spock's romantic relationship (why I do not know) although I did like Alice's character well enough (she didn't return for the newest film in theaters as far as I know).

      Overall, I love all of the characters. Bones, Scotty and even Anton's (who sadly passed away recently) character (his character name escapes me) all make this a character-based series that is five-star quality.

      I'm glad you stopped in with your thoughts - and must say: your comment is making my aware how badly I need a re-watch of this (and the first film). :) :) :)

      Happy weekend!


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