Movie: Star Trek Into Darkness

"Star Trek Into Darkness"

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

A little underwhelming, if you ask me. Then again, so was the first movie from the rebooted universe. Fortunately for the latter, it had enough charm to propel it into a blockbuster. The second one falters in this aspect, relying mostly on Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), and Kirk (Chris Pine) for the emotional hook. Well, on Scotty and Kirk. Sulu was just an awesome badass.

Admittedly, I did have higher expectations this time ’round. I’m not a Trekkie. I don’t have an extensive background on the universe Gene Roddenberry created with Star Trek. And I was very much intrigued with the trailer and synopsis released.

The intrigue died after the first fight between Kirk and Spock, leading to the demotion of the former and the reassignment of the latter. That’s not a spoiler, so much as it’s the first act of the film.

Remember what I said about Iron Man 2? I didn’t like it because the problems felt superficial. The main protagonist was superficially weakened, just so we can root for him.

I wish that’s this film’s only problem.

See, the writers of Star Trek Into Darkness tries to rehash the previous film by having Kirk down and out again. Except, as you go deeper into the story, there really was no need.

John Harrison, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is not an ordinary adversary. He’s an evolved human, which makes him a strong enough antagonist that you don’t need to cripple your protagonist beforehand. But because the writers do, we lose time on bridging the trust gap between our core characters, instead of using said time on developing the relationship between the characters.

As a result, we get shortened screen time for most everyone. Sure, each one gets enough of a hero moment to make a mark, but it’s only well and good for everyone individually. Collectively, the Enterprise crew is no better than they were at the end of the first film. Which made one of what was supposed to be the film’s emotional highlights feel empty and fake.

And then there’s Zachary Quinto.

I liked him as Sylar back in Heroes, and he’s done a bunch of unmemorable but pretty okay roles since then. I liked him enough in the first Star Trek film from the rebooted universe. But for some reason, I really couldn’t connect to him in this film. Is it because of the fact that he is Vulcan, and that he is repressing his emotions? Well, it was the same deal in the first film and I didn’t have a problem then.

Maybe it’s because this was supposed to have already been addressed in the film. Maybe it’s because we were cheated off actual relationship development between Spock and Kirk.

Zachary Quinto’s supposed crowning moment, during his fight with John Harrison, falls flat because there’s a disconnect between what the audience is feeling at the time, and what the film is telling the audience to feel.

And then, everything that happened after was very paint-by-numbers. Nothing original happens.

I left the theater feeling less than impressed.

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