Every film franchise needs an installment where the stakes get higher and the outlook gets a lot bleaker, dropping lower into the darkness. Star Wars has Empire Strikes Back, The Hunger Games has Catching Fire and the new Star Trek series has this film. The opening gambit exhibits all the problems that normally arise with the enterprise crew. Kirk acts rashly not following protocol, Spock is far too logical for his own good and the native population sees far more than they should. All in a day’s work except their exploits get Kirk relieved of his command and Spock transferred. It’s not a good situation by any means.
Then out of the woodwork comes John Harrison a former Star Fleet weapons expert who has gone rogue and induced a man to blow up a seemingly insignificance archives building, but its all a ploy to get at the command. The aftermath leaves Kirk’s mentor dead and Kirk himself reinstated bent on revenge. The Enterprise heads after Harrison who fled to Kronos, part of the airspace of the dreaded Klingon. In a heated confrontation the unstoppable fugitive mows down the Klingons and allows himself to be taken in, but obviously something is not right.
Now Admiral Marcus is on their tale bent on finishing off Harrison and doing it by any means necessary even going so far as shooting down the Enterprise. The balance of right and wrong is completely off kilter by now. Once again Kirk chooses to ally with Harrison to take down Marcus, a risky proposition to be sure. Little does he know who Harrison actually is and what his mission entails. Ultimately Kirk is left with a few options with a ship without little power and a crew that are sitting ducks. In a fitting role reversal, he does the only logical thing he can and Spock takes over the bridge using Kirkian-like tactics. But the mission is far from over with danger still afoot. It takes a little ingenuity from all hands on deck including Spock, Uhura and Dr. McCoy. They cannot be expected to stop there however because their true mission is to go where no man has gone before. Gear up for another 5 years in space or possibly 5 years until the next movie.
I must admit I am not a true Trekkie but I did appreciate a few of the nods in this film including the appearance of Leonard Nimoy and the resurfacing of Khan. Now I really want to go back and see the classic Wrath of Khan too. However, I found this film to have nice pacing some good about-faces and a generally good story line. There are times when I get sick of the drama and picture perfect special effects but Star Trek Into Darkness is undoubtedly good blockbuster fodder. For Trekkies, it certainly is worth it and the cast is endearing. I must say I miss Deforrest Kelly especially, though. Bones is just too overdramatic in this film for his own good. But what do I know? Since villains are always so important Benedict Cumberbatch did a wonderful job raising the stakes by playing the audience beautifully. Well done.