J.J Abrams gives Star Trek a kick start.
The opinion was that 2009’s origin-story-driven affair tried too hard to be better than it had to be.
Yet, this time around the belated sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, settles for a slight, but noticeable, downscale of impact.
Does Star Trek: into Darkness deliver the goods?
An exciting opening act sees Star Trek Into Darkness hit the ground running at a cracking pace. A mission to a primitive planet almost ends in disaster when Spock (Zachary Quinto) gets too close to an erupting volcano.
When Kirk (Chris Pine) goes against Starfleet Command protocol to save his friend, he is summarily relieved of his posting to the Enterprise.
However, when Starfleet HQ comes under terrorist attack from one of its own, the mysteriously sinister John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), Kirk is soon back in the Captain’s chair to bring the enemy rogue to justice.
The familiar likes of Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Bones (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Scotty (Simon Pegg, still fighting a hilariously losing battle with that half-cocked Highlands accent) all have limited, yet crucial roles to play in the tumult to follow.
As for recent recruits to the fold, only the Enterprise’s new science officer Dr Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) registers positively on this front.
Once the storyline is clearly laid out and the many characters are strung along it, Abrams spends the mid-section of the picture propelling the audience from one-top-notch action set-piece to the next.
On a cinematic thrill-ride basis – the production design and special-effects are first-class, as expected – it is this aspect of Into Darkness that functions best. However, the jury may be out for some time to come on the prominence and worth of John Harrison as the villain of the piece. What he is up to and who he might be cannot be discussed here because of potential spoilers.
Nevertheless, his prime motivation to wreak havoc is never clear enough to be fully understood. Which is a shame, as Cumberbatch’s intense portrayal of this shadowy figure warranted better, more coherent material.
What the film continues to get right is the bro-mantic chemistry shared by Kirk and Spock. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto butt heads and bounce off each other in fine style here, enough so to have you hoping Abrams will commit to a third outing at the helm.