Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Michael Moccio ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Comic Books Editor
J.J. Abrams is no stranger to the spotlight: Lost, Fringe, Armageddon, Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek, and Super 8 are all recognizable, mainstream names thanks to his work. Most recently, Star Trek Into Darkness hit theaters with so much momentum, so much life, and so many expectations, I can’t help but feel overall satisfaction with a twinge of disappointment. I can’t tell if the disappointment comes from the movie’s high level of hype, or Into Darkness falling short on its own.
There are many aspects to Into Darkness that are simply brilliant.
The beginning of the movie stood the strongest, opening on a planet with unevolved life forms that “have barely invented the wheel.” We see almost the entire crew—at least, the important ones—in the first five minutes, and with a volcano about to erupt, the audience can’t help but become engrossed in the action.
Unlike other movies that rely heavily on visual effects, Into Darkness makes everything seem so real that I never questioned the reality we’ve been put into. From the star ships, to exceptionally choreographed fight scenes, to the simple ambiance of outer space—visually, Into Darkness is a profound and utter masterpiece.
The same excellence can be found in the sounds of the movie. Hearing the Star Trek theme evoked a sense of magnificence, and the movie’s score continued to enhance the viewing experience with its subtleties.
The best part of the movie, for me, had to be the acting. Benedict Cumberbatch and Zachary Quinto gave absolutely stunning performances. Cumberbatch held an enigmatic quality to his portrayal that kept everyone in the audience on their toes throughout the entire film, guessing what he would do or what would happen next. He allowed the audience to significantly invest in his character in a way that drew us in and made us care deeply about what was going on in the movie.
Quinto, in that same respect, played the duality of Spock, perfectly balancing between his Vulcan and human sides. He, as well, drew the audience into his character by allowing us to better understand Spock’s emotional process and how it relates to his logical mind.
Besides them, however, I felt that the other cast members performed average. Although, Leonard Nimoy only had one scene, he made it memorable. Kirk (Chris Pine), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Bones (Karl Urban), and Sulu (John Cho)—while performing to expectations—had only one or two scenes that went above expectations. Chekov, due to the limited amount of screen time, didn’t even get that much.
Alice Eve and Peter Weller, playing Carol and Alexander Marcus respectively, both failed to breathe life into their characters. At key moments of their characters’ story lines, I couldn’t help but sit back and wonder when Cumberbatch or Quinto would come on screen again. This might have had something to do with the admittedly poor writing of the movie.
Again, the beginning is the strongest part of the movie. From there, the plot only weakens and, by the end of the film, leaves me wanting answers. Several significant plot points were left unexplained—concerning Admiral Marcus’ decision on the torpedoes, the galactic repercussions of Kirk’s actions in pursuit of Cumberbatch’s character—and several choices were only made to be gimmicky, concerning the location of Cumberbatch’s character and how it had nothing to do with movie besides showing the audience something they’ve been waiting for. Moreover, the ending essentially undermined everything Abrams created from the first Star Trek and everything the crew of the Enterprise did throughout the movie.
The Acting receives a 7.7/10, the Effects a 10/10, the Sound a 9/10, and the Story a 5/10. Overall, Into Darkness gets a 7.9/10 in my book.
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