Star Trek Into Darkness is not a perfect film, it is far from it. It is a fun film, but is not as good of a film as the first film in this rebooted universe. I still like the film and have seen it a few times, but there are some issues with the film.
Into Darkness follows the crew of the Enterprise. It opens with a spectacular set piece that includes a civilization, a volcano and a star ship parked in a strange place – the place where the Enterprise is hidden was silly and made no sense other than to achieve a very cool shot of it revealing itself. A terrorist (Benedict Cumberbatch) has caused great destruction on Earth and Star Fleet has tasked Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the Enterprise to hunt him down.
Before I get to the spoilers, I will say that I do recommend this film if you are a fan of the new rebooted Star Trek universe. It is fun and moves along at a good pace. The characters are great to watch and have a genuine chemistry together – even though I still think the whole Spock/Uhura relationship is icky.
My main problem with the film is Cumberbatch’s character, Khan. He is supposed to be the same Khan as the one we see in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but because of how the timeline in this universe has been reset, Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise have never dealt with Khan before. The character Khan in this film could have been named anything generic and still have been OK, it seems that the use of Khan in this film was a complete waste. And while Cumberbatch is a great actor, he is no Ricardo Montalban. I would love to see a cut of this film where any reference to Khan is replaced with a different name or removed altogether. That would prove that the chracter that Cumberbatch plays really could have been any man.
The reversal of the ending of The Wrath of Khan where Spock dies to save the Enterprise works, but really did not need to be in the film. When compared to The Wrath of Khan, the scene in Into Darkness feels a bit hallow.
Also, the line “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” is used in Into Darkness. It is kind of just thrown out at the beginning of the film as a wink to the ones in the audience who might recognize it from The Wrath of Khan. But, unlike The Wrath of Khan, there is no payoff for the line at the end of the film. That is unfortunate.
While the opening of the film is exciting and fun to watch, it is full of “uh, why?” moments. Why are they breaking the Star Fleet rules saving that civilization from the volcano? Why did they park the Enterprise under the ocean right next to where the civilization lives? The water pressure would surely crush the Enterprise. How did the Enterprise get out of the water and into the atmosphere? Isn’t that why they build the starships in orbit around Earth? Because of the weight? Why did Spock have to go into the volcano with the bomb to stop the eruption? If they could beam him out, couldn’t they have just beamed the bomb into the volcano with the timer already set?