WRITTEN BY: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof
DIRECTED BY: JJ Abrams
Star Trek Into Darkness follows in the grand tradition of sequels that are actually better than the first film, even though the first film was pretty spectacular. A lot of that has to do with JJ Abrams at the helm, and his writing team, adding a fresh take to a story we have already seen before.
We open the film on a different planet, where Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) are fleeing after stealing some scroll from the aliens that inhabit the planet. Their main mission, however, is to stop a volcano from exploding and wiping out a species. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is heading that mission. Stuff happens, and it looks like Spock might die, until Kirk breaks protocol to save Spock’s life. It is this protocol that later causes Kirk to lose command of the Enterprise, and Spock to be transferred to another ship. At the same time, a terrorist (Benedict Cumberbatch) causes an explosion at Starfleet in London, killing a lot of people. Soon, he makes another attack, and Kirk is charged with going after him, and he regains control (through unfortunate circumstances) of the Enterprise.
Kirk and Spock banter during the film, Spock and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) work out their differences, and the terrorists plot is fleshed out in full detail. I don’t want to ruin the film for you, but the villain is definitely well crafted, and expertly acted by Benedict Cumberbatch. I haven’t seen his work on Sherlock, but he’s a tremendous actor. There’s an intelligence planted in his character that is brought perfectly to light by Cumberbatch. Pine continues to offer his own spin on Kirk, far different from William Shatner’s version. The rest of the cast is all pretty solid in their roles, bringing exactly what they did to the first film. Zoe Saldana’s Uhura is more fleshed out here, and her screen time has been upped.
Masterfully crafted and directed by JJ Abrams, the film crafts an excellent story about a man who is smarter, faster, and stronger than anything we know, and the ultimate adversary to Captain Kirk. The relationships, between Kirk and Spock, and Spock and Uhura, are key as one of the reasons the sequel is better than the original. I only hope they can return with a third Star Trek that is even stronger.
FINAL GRADE: A