Star Trek: Into Darkness – First Impressions (Spoilers)

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I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness the Saturday after its release, at the biggest & best theater in my city, and I am happy to say that I LOVED it. Thank you, J.J. Abrams, for giving me exactly what I wanted! For those of us whose love of Star Trek is based primarily in the Kirk/Spock friendship and Enterprise crew relationships, there was so much to hang our hats on in this film. But beyond the iconic characters, the film was simply an exciting and vibrant space action movie, with plenty of humor and a kick-ass villain. Here are some comments on my favorite/least favorite aspects of the film:

What I loved:

  • The density. I’m amazed at how much content was crammed into two hours. Not a second was wasted, but the pace didn’t feel too rushed, either. For me, this was pure escapist entertainment.
  • Star Trek references, character traits, & inside jokes. Bones’ metaphors! A tribble! Mudd’s ship! Gorn babies! Spock has emotions! I know that some reviewers find these things annoying or unoriginal, but I don’t want to see completely original reboot – I’m happy to see the writers borrow from the great stuff of the past.
  • Chris Pine’s acting. Christ Pine’s lips. Chris Pine’s blue eyes. Chris Pine. Although I am eternally Hot 4 Spock, Chris Pine really impressed me this time around. He got to display just about every human emotion throughout the film, and he did it all convincingly. He seemed to embrace every aspect of his role wholeheartedly. And he is so very pretty to look at.
  • Spock’s pursuit of Khan. I loved the sequence where a distraught Spock chases down Khan through the streets of London and unleashes all of his rage on the villain. Even though this is a distressing moment in the film, I always love seeing Spock’s physical power.
  • All things Scotty. Simon Pegg has incredible comedic timing and brings such heart to the role. I laughed out loud whenever he spoke to his little alien assistant.
  • Who’s the real villain? I enjoyed that back-and-forth ride of uncertainty as Kirk and Spock had to determine which side was in the right – Khan? Admiral Marcus? …Or neither?

What I didn’t love:

  • John Cho as Sulu. I’m not sure that I like Sulu’s character in the reboot films. George Takei’s Sulu seems to be lighthearted and a little bit dorky, with a serious/intense/swashbuckling side. John Cho’s Sulu seems quite steely and too-cool-for-school – almost bored. Hopefully I’ll change my mind with further viewings.
  • Plot holes. I don’t need a seamless plot by any means, but the film did leave me with a fair number of questions: Does Starfleet seriously think it’s a good idea to have all captains and first officers gather in a single, windowed room in times of emergency? How did Carol evade the ship’s security so easily, and why is her accent different from her father’s? Why couldn’t McCoy just use the blood of one of Khan’s friends to save Kirk? How did Khan’s ship survive the torpedo explosions to stay mostly intact and crash into London?
  • The gratuitous shot of Carol Marcus in her underwear. Seriously, she needed to get changed right then and there? I was as baffled as Kirk was.

No, the movie wasn’t perfect in every respect – but what movie is?? Part of what I love about Star Trek: TOS is the cheesy/bad/poorly-written moments, so I might as well embrace those moments in the reboot films as well. I would not change one thing about the new film with respect to the Kirk/Spock relationship. I experienced plenty of that excited, stomach-flipping feeling that I love. Bring on Star Trek #3!!

P.S. I don’t think this exact frame made the film cut, but the image is floating around the internet. I love seeing my heroes in peril – and Spock’s hands on Kirk!

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