Friday, June 21, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness Review

This is a super-late review, but I need to write it so I can review Man of Steel (spoiler warning: I hated it). 

My first inclination after seeing Star Trek Into Darkness was to not like it. The reasons for this are as followed;

Yeah, but I already saw The Dark Knight...
1. The movie is dark. Obviously pointed out by the title but the movie goes out of its way to show how dark it is. I'm worried this is the fallout out of The Dark Knight.
Now, it seems like every movie/franchise has to be a dark take on the character, be it for the better or ill. This movie rides the line and not very well. I don't think anyone walked out of the 2009 reboot thinking, "That was awesome, I just wish it was darker!" If that person was you, you won't agree with anything I say here.

2. The relationship between Spock and Kirk is forced. We know that the characters are friends, but that's because we know the previous version of these characters were friends. The movie relies on knowledge of the character's original incarnations to inform these characters. In some ways, it works. But in this movie, on it's own, it just seems rushed and unjustified. Especially with the big moment between Kirk and Spock near the end. I don't know how much time has passed since Kirk insulted Spock's mother and Spock tried to strangle Kirk, but they seem to have gotten over it fast enough.

3. Benedict CumberKhan. I understand the universe if following a new time stream, with certain things not going the way the originally happened, but how did the awesome Ricardo Montalban become the whiny Brit? I'm all for character's paths changing, but their races? I guess I don't understand timelines...

But this character is the biggest issue I had. I don't understand why you would reboot a huge and long-lasting franchise, make it new and exciting, and then basically remake a new movie. The 2009 movie was a reboot of the whole series, but Into Darkness is a reboot of a sequel. For new fans that the 2009 movie brought in, all the allusions to Wrath of Khan will be lost. For fans of the old movies, all the allusions will be weaker (Carol Marcus, Benedict CumberKhan) or insulting (the through the glass scene, Spock yelling Khan's name). It seems like this series should be finding new villains and challenges to face, not the old ones we've scene before.

Also, to the producers I have this to say; We knew it was going to be Khan back in 2009 when you said it might be Khan. We knew it was Khan when you said it wasn't going to be Khan. We knew it was Khan through the whole movie. If we knew, it's not a surprise reveal. If someone in the audiance didn't know who Khan was in the first place, then it's not a surprise reveal. All this to say, it wasn't a surprise reveal, you wasted an hour of setup, and kept the camera on CumberKhan way to long after the failed reveal. Take a magic class or something, your showmanship is lacking.

Everything about this movie seems paint-by-numbers. Foreshadowing loses all subtlety and certain deaths mean nothing when you know the reverse is around the corner. The actions scenes (especially the final chase between CumberKhan and Spock) are engaging and the whole movies seems like an excuse to do what's already been done (better) before.

But, the only saving grace that makes me likely to watch this movie again is the cast. They, despite the main plot, are still entirely likable and fun to watch interact. It's great to see all these characters further their friendship and team-building from the first movie. Everyone seems to be pulling their weight, even when the script has nothing for them to do (Chekov). And, while Kirk and Spock's friendship seemed to have taken a huge leap forward, their still great together. I hope the next movie has more to offer in terms of these characters, and it would be nice to see the trio-bond of Kirk, Spock and McCoy start to form. 

I'd give the movie a C+ on a bad day, a B- on a good. 


MicBla said...

As someone who was never a fan of the original Star Trek (any of them), I have to disagree with your assessment. While I understand that this may have failed for the true "fans," I had a great time with the movie. I was aware enough of the original movies to recognize Khan's name without seeing it coming, and in truth, the only reason I watched was because I'm a fan of "CumberKahn" in the BBC Sherlock series.

The movie serves a set audience, the question is: Did they focus on the right audience? (Your answer is obviously no.). This film seems to me to be a transitional episode: One intended to translate casual viewers into a new generation of fans. I expect you will see a similar (albeit less dark) approach to the new Star Wars franchise.

Eric Mikols said...

Gah, I keep trying to trick myself into thinking he won't make Star Wars dull.

I actually know a lot of people who like this movie, though not too many are "real" fans. Also, how can you not like the original movies? Their great! (The first six at least).

MicBla said...

The fact is that I never made it through the original Khan flick. (Sorry.) I certainly do not qualify as a "real" fan. The closest I've been to a Trekkie is a passive fan of the (please forgive me) Star Trek Enterprise series in 2001.