Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Greg Grunberg, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Directed By: Justin Lin
Well, Justin Lin did what Justin Lin does best. I can honestly say this is the most fun I’ve had at a Star Trek movie… ever. It’s fast paced, pretty straightforward, and a generally good adventure. It lacks the emotional heft of the first two films, as well as the JJ Abrams sheen in the directing, but it’s way more fun, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Even though characters are in danger throughout the film, you never feel the emotional weight of it, because the movie is more interested in keeping the pace going.
So that’s either a good or a bad thing depending on where you’re coming from. Instead of lengthy exposition and backstory, we just get glimpses. So we’re less invested in the new villain, because he doesn’t spend 30 minutes giving us his manifesto. Instead, we’re treated to epic space battles, and some amazing technology that someone deserves a pat on the back for thinking up. First, the way Krall’s forces attack the Enterprise is amazing. Jaylah’s teleportation/hologram device is amazing. The war device Krall is after is amazing. Hell, even the city of Yorktown looks fucking amazing. This film is visually stunning.
On top of that, I really feel like this film balanced the story between the whole crew, instead of making this all about Kirk/Spock. I thought Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov all got their screentime upped, and they did a solid job of introducing Jaylah, who I hope returns for the fourth Star Trek film.
This might be a divisive Star Trek film as it lacks the same gravitas as the first two, but I think the second might have had too much gravitas. I think this film does a great job of bringing back the fun, and would be an excellent starter film for someone who had never seen Star Trek. Accessibility can sometimes be seen as a bad thing, but here I think the film does justice for the fans, as well as make an attempt to bridge the gap for a franchise that would possibly have gone darker if Abrams was at the helm for a third time.
Star Trek Beyond may not be the perfect Star Trek film, or even the Star Trek film you wanted, but it is the Star Trek film we needed, and the Star Trek film we deserve.
FINAL GRADE: A-